Efficiencies and cost savings are two of the biggest benefits to automating manual, time-intensive activities. However, for law firms that take a more data-centric approach, the advantages come in the ability to automatically classify and extract relevant data and put it to use within existing case management systems and processes — helping to improve cycle and response times and enhancing strategic decision-making.
WHERE TO START? ASSESS WORKFLOW BOTTLENECKS
Implementing a permanent anywhere-operations model does not happen overnight. Firms will have to create a digital transformation strategy customized to their operational needs. Part of that strategy should involve assessing current technologies, policies, processes and workflows.
Below are six legal workflows worth automating:
1. Physical Mailroom
If all paper pushes through the mailroom, shouldn’t process automation start there? With the mailroom as the entry point to the firm, the faster these essential documents are captured and turned into usable, readily available data, the faster you can drive better, transformative processes.
Law firms can realize a number of benefits across the office from automating their mail workflows. Having the ability to process both inbound and outbound mail in a matter of seconds and quickly upload the information to a case management system enhances productivity immensely. With a digital mail solution, firms gain real-time insight into how many pieces of mail are being processed, the different document types, the number of pages and where a document may be in the workflow process. This type of automation creates a detailed audit trail for every single piece of inbound mail.
2. Form and Signature Management
Every law firm has certain forms that need to go out to clients for signatures. While some documents still require a hard-copy signature, many do not. Surprisingly, many organizations still use the painstaking process of filling out the form, printing it, sending it to the client for signature, waiting for it to come back, scanning it and then manually entering any updated form data. The most sophisticated document management solutions pull data out of case management systems to automatically populate e-forms, allowing legal staff to then send them out and have them completed, signed and returned digitally.
Combining e-forms with digital signatures automates the process of communicating with clients, as well as populating, collecting and integrating form data, while increasing the chances of getting documents back in a timely fashion — in many instances the same day.
3. Cost Recovery
Cost recovery is an important revenue-generating process for law firms. As an example, firms typically charge clients approximately 25 cents for every page they copy and/or print. However, when those documents are captured digitally, they’ve lost that revenue. A digital mail solution can provide them with digital cost recovery, for both their inbound and outbound mail streams.
“A digital mail solution has the ability to process inbound invoices in a matter of seconds, then quickly upload the information to case-management and accounting systems for approval. Sending payment is made easy with the click of a mouse.”
For outbound mail, there are digital mail solutions with the ability to provide a flat data file that can automatically be ingested into the firm’s cost-recovery accounting system — automatically creating an expense object in the case management system. Firms can keep track of how many pieces or pages they sent and how much that costs at 25 cents per piece. For inbound mail, the process is the same.