5 Law Firm Automation Ideas to Boost Efficiency

Automation — it’s everywhere today. It’s become something of a buzzword, but if you peel back all the marketing hype, you’ll find that it truly is revolutionary. From small firms just getting started to large, established law offices, automation can transform your team and how they work — making them more efficient, productive, and effective.

What’s automation all about?

First, let’s talk about what automation is. It’s easy to get the wrong impression given all the hoopla out there. At its heart, automation is nothing more than taking mundane, time-consuming, error-prone tasks off your team’s hands and letting machines (oftentimes powered by AI)  handle them instead. For instance, document creation can be easily automated, saving an incredible amount of time while also reducing human error (the single most common issue with human-generated legal documents). 

Great, so what can we automate?

Automation is a transformative force, but it must be applied correctly. That means making smart decisions about what you automate within your law firm. Our recommendation is to choose tasks that free your people so they can focus on what they do best. Below, you’ll find five law firm automation ideas to boost efficiency.

1. Document management

Document management is one of the most time-consuming tasks within a law firm. It touches on everything from document creation, such as creating new contracts, to updating documents attached to client cases as situations change. Done manually, it costs an immense amount of time and is highly susceptible to human error. Simply transposing a couple of numbers wrong or misspelling a name can have far-reaching consequences. 

By automating your document management process, you dramatically reduce that time while eliminating the possibility of human errors. Automation tools can create new documents in seconds, where it might take a human hours or even days. That allows your people to put their knowledge and expertise to work in areas where they matter most, boosting efficiency and profitability, not to mention team morale.

2. Lead screening and intake

No law firm can succeed without a steady flow of leads converting into clients. Chances are good that a significant percentage of your annual budget is dedicated to marketing. From content marketing to PPC ads, it’s all designed to generate leads and get them to visit your website, where they can complete a form or reach out by phone or email.

The problem is that lead screening and intake is a time-consuming process that doesn’t always have the highest ROI. A significant number of people consult with attorneys whom they ultimately do not hire. How much time do your team members spend with leads like this? Even leads that eventually convert require a considerable investment of time and money. 

Automating your lead screening and intake is a relatively simple process that can pay major dividends. For instance, an AI-powered web chat tool ensures that anyone who lands on your website can ask questions no matter the time of day or night. The AI can be trained on your firm’s information and respond in the same tone and voice that your office staff would use, too. And if there’s a question that’s too complex or sensitive for AI, 24/7 live human agents can respond instead. Here’s more information on the web chat services provided by Smith.ai. 

3. Billing

Billing is an essential but mundane task that requires a significant investment of time and effort. It’s unavoidable, at least if you want to get paid. However, there’s no real need for your team members to spend their valuable time sending invoices, follow-up emails, or even placing phone calls. 

These can be largely automated so that invoices are sent out at the appropriate time for clients with ongoing billing and when triggered by specific actions within your CRM. Working with a law firm answering service can add even more time savings and efficiency, as human agents can follow up with slow-to-pay and non-paying clients, while your people focus on billable work.

4. Appointment setting

Does your legal team struggle when it comes to appointment setting? You’re not alone. It’s certainly a challenge, and the larger the team, the more challenging it becomes. However, even booking appointments for solo attorneys can be problematic if there isn’t enough visibility into schedules or if calendar apps don’t play well with your CRM. 

Automating appointment setting helps streamline the process and ensures that leads and clients feel that their own scheduling-related needs are understood. A legal answering service can offer both AI and human-powered appointment-setting capabilities, including initial setting, rescheduling, reminders, and follow-ups, all of which ensure that your team can spend their time wisely.

5. Email marketing

Marketing is the key to generating leads, and email marketing can be a great tactic used to engage prospects, as well as current clients. However, it can take time to create effective email messaging and then personalize that content to your recipients. 

Automating your email marketing with a tool like Hubspot or Active Campaign can ensure you can harness this effective tool to move prospects through the funnel and keep current clients engaged while allowing your employees to focus their time and effort elsewhere to boost efficiency.

The legal answering service your firm needs

Automation is a powerful tool, particularly when paired with human experts. At Smith.ai, we can act as your legal answering service to boost efficiency and profitability. From 24/7 answering to appointment setting and AI-powered website chat, we deliver tailored solutions that help you grow.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Law Firm
Written by Tom Armitage

Tom Armitage is a Senior Marketing Manager with Smith.ai.

Take the faster path to growth.
Get Smith.ai today.

Affordable plans for every budget.

Sign up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to receive news & updates from Smith.ai.
Thank you!
Your submission has been received.
Yikes! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Take the faster path to growth.
Get Smith.ai today.

Affordable plans for every budget.