Yet lawyers still do a lot of manual work: copying and pasting and find and replace remain crucial tools of the trade. Advances in technology are leading to a growing expectation that lawyers will use document automation to work faster and for lower fees. But at a time when most practices still charge by the unit, isn’t using automation leaving money on the table?
Although it means doing business a little differently, document automation is about growing your practice – not just keeping up with the competition. Let’s look at some of the main ways that document automation can help your firm earn more.
Meet Clients’ Fee Expectations
It’s an increasingly tough market out there for law firms. Whether you’re a small firm acting for private clients or a corporate and commercial behemoth, clients are increasingly pushing for lower hourly rates and novel fixed fee structures. Clients are more likely to switch firms than a decade ago, so law firms often feel the pressure to compete on fees as much as service.
Document automation makes it easier to do just that; by automating a lot of the legwork involved in a matter, lawyers can deliver great advice at a price clients are willing to pay. If you want to grow your practice, automation can help attract new business. Equally, using automation to work more efficiently can help you retain your current business – remember, other lawyers are using automation and they’re looking to grow.
Market Your Firm
Offering automated documents through your firm’s website using a simple, no advice model is not only about attracting high volume, low value business. Document automation is a marketing tool; if clients buy and value your automated documents, they’re more likely to come to your firm for advice on a more complex matter.
Make It Easy for Clients to Engage
Document automation can make it easier for clients to engage your firm’s lawyers. Lawyers can publish automated forms on their website – these forms can give clients a quick steer in the right direction based on their answers and, if the matter is simple, offer to sell them an automated document. Equally, if the matter needs a little more work to understand, an automated form makes it easy to book some time to talk to a lawyer in person or by phone. For most lawyers, this means clients engage sooner and more often.
Focus Your Efforts Where Clients See Value
Clients don’t see value in lawyers drafting documents, they see value in a well-drafted document that does what they expect. Most clients are happy to pay their lawyer for advice, but paying for ‘simple’ drafting stings. Equally, few clients see value in AML/CFT and FATCA compliance – but it’s important that your firm does it anyway. If your firm uses document automation to produce documents (or even drafts) and to manage compliance processes, there’s more time to focus on adding value for your client.
Lawyers often fear increasing automation – after all, it poaches work and cuts rates, right? Although automation means that lawyers have to charge less for simple documents like wills and employment agreements, the reality is that lawyers who use document automation actually enjoy better margins. In contrast to staff solicitors’ salaries, a document automation system costs very little to set up and operate.
If you want to find out how document automation can help you earn more and grow your practice, consider booking a free online demo of Automio. Automio is document automation software that empowers lawyers to automate rote tasks and focus on adding value.