The average lawyer in the US just does 2.5 hours of billable work every day, per Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report.
With all the long days, where does the rest of the time go?
A lot of it is spent on admin tasks that can and should be automated, if you want to grow your firm.
Here are 5 areas of your practice that should be automated, and tool suggestions for each.
1. Scheduling & Client Intake
In 2022 it makes no sense to stay on top of your phone waiting for a potential client to call.
With online scheduling solutions, your prospects can pick a time that works best for them without unnecessary back and forth with you or your assistant.
Quality of the interactions goes down you say? I would disagree. With these tools you could schedule Zoom calls for the initial consultation instead of normal phone calls, which can be much more personal.
As for client intake, you can collect all the necessary information about the case in a structured manner and avoid unnecessary copy & pasting with online forms. These also help prevent human errors during data entry.
Tools: Calendly, JotForm, DecisionVault (Estate Planning), your current CRM or CM software
2. Document Automation
With software available on the market now, you can automate complex documents, with multiple variables, if-then statements and dynamic lists.
Spending time copying templates and filling out Word documents should be a thing of the past.
You can either let your attorneys fill out questionnaires and generate documents themselves, or centralize and fully automate this process by connecting document automation tools directly to your CM software. The choice will depend on how standardized your documents are, and how much manual review is required.
Tools: Docupilot, Documint (Airtable integration), PandaDoc, Lawmatics, your current CM software
3. Routine Client Communications
You should not be writing up an email asking your client for a standard intake form, letting them know that an invoice is due, or reminding them about an upcoming meeting.
All these trivial communications should be automated, so that you can spend your time on the more personalized and important interactions.
Tools: your current CM software, automation platforms (read Bonus Recommendation section below)
4. Billing & Collection
There is no reason why your firm should not be offering online payment solutions in 2022.
Manual transfers take up both your clients’ and your staff time and in most cases are unnecessary.
With the tools available now, you can even let your clients save a card on file and reduce the collection period for your invoices to practically immediate.
If you get a lot of disputes and need to modify your invoices several times before charging the client, check out our previous post on how we helped one law firm manage disputes online: https://www.automationforlawyers.com/post/are-you-getting-your-billed-line-items-disputed
Tools: LawPay, Stripe, your current CM or bookkeeping software
5. Client Reviews
Collecting testimonials is one of the best ways to market your firm but it doesn’t have to be a time drain.
Connect your CM software to one of these tools and automatically send review requests once you finish working on a matter.
The tool will take care of followups too, so that you don’t have to.
Tools: Birdeye, Testimonial to, Trustpilot, automation platforms (read Bonus Recommendation section below)
All the tools above are great, but how do I connect them to my current system?
Here is where automation platforms, such as Make and Zapier, come in. With them you can connect practically any 2 apps together and also add automation capabilities to the tools you are already using (e.g. send a request for a Google review when a matter reaches a specific stage in your CM application).