There is no question that the legal profession is increasingly turning to technology. In 2018, a total of nearly $1.7 billion was invested in legal technology—more than a 700-percent increase from the previous year. Year after year, firms of all sizes, from solo practitioners to large law firms and corporate legal departments, are investing in ways to improve operations. And as the legal sector navigates the pandemic, finding ways to ultimately save money and time has become critical, especially as many attorneys are working from home.
Traditionally, drafting documents is one of the most time-consuming tasks for an attorney. Though having years of experience can certainly make the process go a bit more quickly, lawyers still spend hours upon hours on this process, tying up valuable time that could be devoted to other projects.
When it comes to legal technology, document automation has consistently been one of most tried-and-true tools for saving time. Documate clients have said that by utilizing its software, they have saved upwards of 90 percent of the time they had previously spent on crafting legal documents. Additionally, when it comes to specific law practices where drafting documents eats up a larger portion of time, Documate can play a key role in improving efficiency and reducing costs.
Creating an Internal Workflow
Document automation software can help lawyers complete this task in a fraction of the time. One of the key ways this technology helps attorneys save time is through internal document automation. By creating internal workflows that automatically generate documents, attorneys no longer need to spend the time it once took in order to write. Instead, lawyers can use document automation software to create a tool that streamlines the entire document creation process, tailoring it to their specific needs.
Once internal document automation is in place, attorneys can utilize the software right from the intake process. For instance, using these workflows, a lawyer could ask their client to simply provide them with all of the information needed in order to create a specific document, whether it is a will or an employment contract. Then, by entering this data, the attorney can quickly generate a document for the client.
Likewise, another way that internal document automation can be utilized is by having the client enter all of the necessary information on their own. By having the client enter the information on their own, a document can be automatically created for an attorney to review, saving valuable time that can be devoted to other matters.
Uniquely Tailored Ways to Help Save Time
Some areas—especially corporate formation, fund documents, family law, and estate planning—have more of a pressing need for automation, as attorneys routinely spend a significant amount of time per week drafting documents.
Documate has studied 50 of its corporate, estate planning, and family law clients, giving a deeper perspective in the ways that legal professionals in these areas of law can save time using automation software. In particular, Documate analyzed how clients utilized its software for formation documents, wills/power of attorney/health care directive packets, and uncontested divorces.
Before using Documate, clients stated that drafting divorce documents would take roughly five hours. However, now—depending on how long it takes to get the necessary information from the client—clients take between 30 and 45 minutes. For estate planning clients, creating a standard estate planning packet would reportedly take around six hours. Using Documate, the time spent on this process is reduced by nearly 90 percent, with estate planning clients noting that it now takes 45 minutes to create the packet.
Additionally, when it comes to legal professionals creating company formation documents, Documate has reportedly reduced the process from 2 to 4 hours to just 25 to 35 minutes once the necessary information is collected. And for shorter documents like employment agreements, clients say that using Documate has reduced the time spent from roughly 50 minutes down to a mere 5 minutes.
The Importance of Automation Going Forward
It is clear—especially during these turbulent times where legal professionals are becoming increasingly reliant on technology—that automation is prepared to play an important role for law firms going forward. According to the American Bar Association Legal Technology Resource Center’s ABA TECHREPORT 2019, 26 percent of firms with 100 or more attorneys utilize AI-based technology tools. The same report noted that nearly one in ten lawyers who responded use AI-based tech.
In the International Legal Technology Association’s 2019 Technology Survey, which included 537 law firms representing more than 116,000 attorneys, a question was posed regarding the future of legal technology. The survey asked respondents “Is there a technology or trends you believe will create significant change or be a major factor in the legal technology profession?” A total of 9 percent of respondents named automation, which tied for third among all technologies and trends.
Each year, legal technology plays an increasingly important role in the day-to-day work of attorneys. And for attorneys everywhere, document automation software is one of those technologies that can help across the board. By creating internal workflows, time that was once spent crafting documents is now reduced by a significant margin, allowing them to devote resources elsewhere and save firms on their bottom line.