Legal Technology and Automation Trends
Advancements in technology have drastically changed the way businesses perform their day-to-day operations. Everything now is just a few clicks away and is executed in the most automated way possible. Even law firms that remained loyal to the legacy system are now turning a new leaf by employing the latest legal technology.
The Annual Law Firms’ Survey 2020 by PWC revealed that every top law firm considers technology as the key to beat its operational challenges.
So, it is not surprising to see that law organizations are now giving all their attention to legal technology. Automation in the legal industry is among the most promising legal technology trends and will keep on growing in the future as well.
Legal organizations cannot compete with new-age legal service providers if they ignore legal technologies – ABA Journal
Automation can save your valuable time and simplify business-related processes. Knowledge automation is one of the best examples of how automation can help legal organizations.
Automation in the legal industry is not limited to knowledge automation. Several processes conducted within law firms can be optimized using automation. This includes automation of marketing operations, communications, and much more.
This article takes you through some of the most promising technological trends, such as legal automation. We will also look at how automation in legal industry can help firms optimize their processes.
What is Legal Automation?
As the name suggests, legal automation is the process of automating manual or repetitive tasks. These tasks are generally carried out by a lawyer or a legal firm. This is further accomplished through a sophisticated software that makes managing complex legal processes easy.
Apart from the routine tasks, a lawyer’s job also includes providing legal advice to their clients. You can only provide legal advice to your client that has the best chance of getting the desired result. And to do this effectively, the legal service provider must have extensive knowledge and experience.
On the other hand, tasks like paperwork do not need the lawyer’s direct involvement. Lawyers and law firms spend a lot of their time on various routine tasks like paperwork. Many of the legal paperwork often involves some basic copy-pasting.
Legal automation can make this possible for your firm. It allows you to fulfill legal processes in a fast and robust way. With an automated process, you can even take a print of it and have them delivered to your clients.
This way, you or even your employees can remove themselves from low-value processes. Moreover, such processes do not require the attention of skilled personnel. In other words, legal automation enables you to put the skills of lawyers to full use in the desired manner.
That being said, automation in legal industry can be different based on your unique needs. For example, legal automation could be a document review process.
Similarly, automating the print and mail of legal documents can also be considered legal automation. Such automation can be easily implemented using an advanced tool like direct mail automation system like PostGrid.
Another exciting application of automation in legal industry is creating contracts. You can do this by using contract templates along with workflow automation. As far as automation goes, this may not sound new or complicated. However, this is still a big deal for lawyers and legal organizations. It is because legal automation is still in its infancy, and its capabilities are limited.
15 Legal Technology Trends You Should Keep an Eye on
Lawyers and legal organizations should always lookout for new legal technological trends. Doing this will help you serve your clients better. Below are some of the most popular legal technology trends that are now in use.
1. Digital-First Approach
More and more customers are looking online for legal services. Therefore, it is imperative that you adopt a digital-first approach. In addition, law firms need to serve their clients in the most convenient way possible.
So, if your client wants to access legal services online, then make sure to meet their demands. To do this, legal service providers must ensure that they are discoverable online.
Your online presence should benefit your clients by serving as an effective communication channel. A legal client is likely to contact you via an online medium, And when the customer makes contact, you must be ready to serve them.
Law firms should employ chatbots to enhance their online communications. You can even have a dedicated team for answering more complex questions. However, you’d still need to ensure that all your information is updated and accurate. This is true for every case, regardless of which mode of communication you use.
2. Make Client Experience a Priority
The new-age legal clients are looking for a convenient and transparent experience. Providing a seamless experience will boost your firm’s quality and quantity of cases.
Enable your clients to access your legal services through online channels like your website, mobile app, and more. Online legal services are easier to optimize for providing your client with a memorable and convenient experience.
You can even automate your various interactions with the client to provide them with a better user experience. Advanced address verification tools like PostGrid come with features like Address Autocomplete. The platform allows your clients to fill forms on your website or landing page with ease and convenience.
All your clients have to do is type their addresses, and the system will automatically help them by filling in the rest. Furthermore, the addresses you get from PostGrid are verified. This verification is done based on the available and official address database of the USPS.
3. Streamline And Diversify Your Communication
Enabling easy access to legal services through online channels is not always sustainable. The past couple of years has changed how we communicate with each other. Automation in the legal industry plays a pivotal role in streamlining and diversifying your communications.
For starters, you can set up a chatbot that can answer the general queries of your clients. This way, you can ensure that your clients can communicate with you regardless of the place or time. Interestingly, automation is now applicable to offline communication channels like direct mail.
An advanced direct mail automation system like PostGrid to fully automate your direct mails. You can even use automated direct mail in combination with your online channels. This will ensure that your clients get an omnichannel communication experience.
Regularly sending direct mail will ensure that your firm is the one that pops into their mind if or when they need legal help. Such omnichannel communication also enables you to implement advanced marketing campaigns. Omnichannel and automation capabilities make these campaigns easy and convenient to manage.
4. Automate Your Basic Administrative Processes
The administrative process of a law firm can be significantly enhanced through automation in the legal industry. Such processes in the legal business are often repetitive. Such processes do not need the personal attention of a legal service provider.
The legal industry is yet to adopt super-advanced technologies. Some of these advanced technologies are AI, Blockchain, and Machine Learning. However, the legal industry uses experts who are well-versed with such technologies to get the optimal result.
Adapting legal automation will help you avoid a one-to-one model of interaction between the lawyers and their clients. As a result, the lawyer is free to serve multiple clients simultaneously.
5. Courts And Governmental Agencies Adopting Digital Interface
After the rise of the pandemic, courts and other governmental agencies around the globe are opting for a digital interface. Lawyers come in regular contact with courts, other governmental agencies, and the general public.
The contacts or interactions mentioned above used to be entirely physical but that has changed now. Digital interactions made communication a whole lot faster and safer for everyone. The lawyers no longer have to go from one person to another as they can communicate from the comfort of your home.
Implementing legal tech for your firm for the first time can be challenging. But, legal technology is worth all the time, effort, and money that you put into it. There are still a lot of improvements yet to be made on the digital interface for the legal industry. But, we are definitely headed in the right direction.
6. Adopt a Remote Work Culture
Everything from new communication to online hearings has changed the traditional work culture. It is now inevitable for lawyers and legal firms to adopt a remote work culture. As a result, almost all leading law firms are using technology to their advantage. Most firms accomplish it by implementing a distributed workforce.
Lawyers and legal organizations are now adopting a new approach. It combines greater mobility, virtual meetings, along with remote work culture. If done correctly, this approach can boost the overall productivity of your firm. In addition, you can also optimize your various legal operations.
You can analyze the different legal technology or tools employed by other legal firms. Once you have analyzed them, you can then proceed to find the scope of a specific legal tech or tool for your firm. Effectively implementing technology will make legal interactions as good as personal ones. More importantly, legal technology and automation can significantly boost your ROI and deliver sustainable growth.
7. Empathy Based Tech
Digitizing interactions is an effective way of optimizing communication between law firms and their clients. It saves you time and effort. But, it is not perfect. Human connections are essential for the success of every business and it’s no different for law firms.
You should not make the mistake of sounding robotic or monotonous in your legal communication. A law firm or lawyer must consider the position of the client and be empathetic in their communications. You can make your customers feel more connected to your legal firm by always being available when they need you.
Lawyers must try to address the client’s concerns. They should reassure them about the situation, and capture new leads. Furthermore, the lawyers need to do this without interrupting their daily lives. However, no one can work 24/7, even lawyers.
So, the only solution is websites and phone numbers that can work for you around the clock. But, your solutions need to have a human touch to them. Using an empathetic tone in your communication can help your clients feel reassured. Similarly, you can even optimize your chatbot script to sound less robotic and more human for better communication.
8. Improve Your Automated Documentation
Document automation remains one of the most important legal technology trends. However, documentation is where legal organizations often stumble. It is because they deal with a lot of paperwork.
At this point, lawyers or legal organizations have already moved on from the age-old wet-ink and wet-ink documents. Documentation has already been digitized in many aspects (just as we discussed in the section above). But, the truth is that there is still scope for improvements.
Legal service providers must ensure that their documentation capabilities are up to date. They must then equip it with advanced features. It is best if you check for new updates in automation in the legal industry periodically. Such capabilities can effectively make your legal business easier to manage and can help drive better outcomes.
9. Adopt Industry-Wide Technology
Digitization in the legal industry boomed tremendously in the last few years. The world is finally returning to normalcy after a year of being locked down. Normalcy being restored would mean significantly lesser digital legal interactions, particularly in court.
That being said, the legal industry has gone through some major transformations. The advanced digital solutions have streamlined numerous legal procedures. Thus, there is little chance that this industry will return to legacy solutions.
Today, courts and legal organizations have successfully implemented distributed legal procedures. And when the proceedings are streamlined with modern solutions, it can positively impact the entire justice delivery system.
10. Deliver Easy And Convenient Experiences
We know that legal technology is still in its infancy and it is not yet equipped to handle complicated legal operations. However, smart legal service providers integrate advanced technology into human-centric processes.
Such human-centric and tech-driven processes deliver the best user experience. This makes legal procedures easy and fast, not just for the client but also for the legal service provider. As a result, you are able to speed up legal procedures at a rate you’ve never seen before using manual processes.
11. Try Out Non-Legal Technology
Legal service providers must go beyond the scope of legal technologies. They must come up with unique solutions that can benefit their business. Not every technology or solution that can optimize the operations of a legal firm is classified as legal technology. Therefore, you can utilize any non-legal technology for your legal services as long as it can streamline your services.
As long as a solution can optimize a legal procedure, it may be treated as legal technology. The key is to identify such advanced solutions. The solutions you choose must fit your requirements. Once you have recognized the solution and how to make the best use of it, you can proceed to integrate the same into your business.
12. Modern Communication Channels
Legal communication is all about flexibility today. Legal communication has diversified over the years by adapting modern communication channels. The legal industry has gone from office phone systems to cloud-based systems with softphones.
With modern communication channels, you can have superior features and even have them integrated into your PMS. Furthermore, you can automate communications regarding important dates. You can correspond through text messages or emails, or even direct mail.
Today, you can even automate offline communication channels like direct mail. All it takes to fully automate direct mail is an advanced direct mail automation tool like PostGrid. This means you can personalize, print, and mail your printed documents with the click of a button.13. Use of Data For Performance Tracking
Effective performance tracking of legal firms is not possible without access to reliable data. Today, top lawyers and law firms focus on capturing data and generating reports based on the data. They use these reports to identify the performance of their legal firm.
You can also use advanced data-based reports to determine profitability. It is even possible to find out the profitability specific to an area or attorney. This enables you to assign certain cases to specific attorneys. The personnel with a history of success are typically assigned for the more complex cases.
14. Video Conferencing For Client Communication
As the world regains its normalcy many changes we saw in the legal industry are also fading away. But, video conferencing is one of the legal technology trends that will not fade away so easily.
Today, video conferencing is used everywhere in the legal industry, especially when talking about legal hearings. It is a convenient way to communicate with your clients. Through video conferencing, the lawyers can easily connect with their clients regardless of their location and time.
Lawyers and legal organizations must now focus on optimizing their video conference capabilities. This includes scheduling calls, sending the video call links to the customers. This way, the law firms, and the lawyers can present themselves or their firms professionally and increase their brand value in the industry.
15. Combining Online And Offline Communication Channels
Yet another legal technology trend that is gaining popularity today is the combination of online and offline communication channels. Today, all top law firms are opting for an omnichannel communication system. As a result, they incorporate both online and offline communication channels.
This form of communication works the best for client outreach programs. For example, you can send direct mails to your clients using a fully automated system like PostGrid. You can add a QR code or PURL on your direct mail, which will take the user directly to your website or landing page.
Once the target audience is successfully navigated to your website or landing page, you can ask them to fill up a form. The form can help you collect all the required information related to the prospect. This includes the prospect’s phone numbers or email addresses.
In the case of a target audience whose contact details are already known, you can communicate with them via online and offline channels. You can send the same message to your targets using different channels. Also, the communication channels may include text messages, emails, and direct mail. Thus, you can significantly improve your outreach and ensure that they receive your message successfully.
The legal industry was initially slow in adopting modern technology, especially when talking about its day-to-day operations. But, this has changed over the years, and the pandemic accelerated this change. Legal procedures, including trials, are now conducted through various digital channels.
The legal industry may turn back to its face-to-face approach as the world returns to normalcy. However, digital solutions have changed how numerous legal procedures work. As a matter of fact, It has optimized the existing legal procedures and operations for the better.
Automated direct mail is the perfect example of how legal technology has evolved the industry for the better. Direct mail automation/verification tools like PostGrid give you superior control over your direct mail operations. This enables quick and effective mailing of your legal documents.
Advanced or dedicated automation tools like PostGrid give you access to other advanced features. For example, integrating PostGrid’s API to your website enables you to activate features like Address Autocomplete.
Every advanced legal tech you use has unique primary and additional features. PostGrid as a platform can help you streamline your legal procedures and make your work life much easier.