Document automation has become the foundation of most modern small law firms. The ability to use software to quickly produce documents has transformed the way lawyers service their clients and has significantly improved the productivity of their businesses.
No matter what area of law you specialise in, document creation can be tedious. Whether you’re drafting an offer letter for a client about to buy their first home or writing up a will, these documents are dense, technical and one of the most time-consuming tasks lawyers and conveyancers deal with daily.
Luckily with the technology available today, you no longer have to create these commonly used documents from scratch. Innovative document automation tools now enable firms to save basic templates of the files they create most often and auto-populate them with their client’s specific matter information.
How does it work?
Document automation is the powerful concept of entering data once, and then utilising that data many times throughout multiple documents, ensuring that vital information is organised and correct. Whether you’re sending emails or taking notes on a client’s matter, document automation draws from previous data removing human error. In result, greatly reducing the chance of making mistakes. This means you and your colleagues will spend less time creating documents, and even less time amending them.
Document automation software starts with basic legal documents that you draft frequently. Using data fields such as client name, and address the system can automatically populate the document without you doing it manually. You can simply input standard data into your practice management system, and that data will automatically populate into the document.
Reap the benefits
Document automation is one of the most powerful technologies available to lawyers today. The benefits produce both short-term and long-term results that can be measured in productivity and profits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of document automation.
1. Improved workflows
Document automation removes many tedious steps in the document creation process by automating basic data inputs. You no longer must hunt down and review each document to ensure a client’s name is in the right place. A document automation system will automatically put client data into the correct places within a document every time with just the click of a button. Document automation eliminates redundant data entry. You entered the client’s information already in matter management, why should you have to retype it manually? This technology makes double data entry a thing of the past. Furthermore, superior document automation programs will ensure that pronouns and other often-missed document details change according to database inputs.
2. Create documents in seconds
Practice management software with a powerful document automation feature can shave hours off the time required for creating relevant documents. For example, once you have entered client information into the system, that data can be almost instantly used in a document automation feature, creating a legal document immediately. This means that lawyers can cut down the time needed to create legal documents. The faster you can create documents for clients, the happier those clients will be.
3. Eliminate errors
Document creation is an area where embarrassing mistakes can occur. Many lawyers use previous documents, copy and paste data as needed to make document creation easier. However, this method can introduce errors. Legal software can automatically generate the necessary documents once client data is entered and a new matter is created, making copy and paste document creation inferior. Being productive is not only efficiency but quality. It doesn’t matter how fast you complete something if it is inaccurate. By taking the human element out of document creation, you are eliminating the risk of errors.
4. Update documents daily
Document automation allows law firms to easily update their templates when needed without having to look for specific sections or for dozens of individual documents. Even if you need to update already-assembled documents, you can edit the master template and simply create new, updated versions of the assembled documents as needed. This can be done in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually.
5. Focus on your business and clients
If your document creation is manual or if you’re using an outdated document automation system, you could be wasting valuable hours. When you’re using the most modern document automation, you can significantly reduce your time spent on producing and proofreading documents. Imagine what you could do with that extra time. Take on more clients? Make more money by using that time for other billable tasks? The time saved with document automation can add up exponentially and create an attractive profit for your law firm.
6. Train new employees
By utilising document automation, you can safely hand off document creation to new or junior employees. This is a win/win situation because it gives them experience creating documents while safely allowing you to hand off that work to a new employee knowing that your document automation system will ensure everything is entered correctly. The key to document automation in this context is quality control, you can rest assured that the same document is going out the door quickly and accurately no matter who creates it.
The solution? Smokeball
Document automation should be the next step for law firms that are aiming to improve efficiency through a software solution. Many lawyers waste hours each day duplicating work and sending documents to clients that often contain obsolete information. However, many are also recognising it doesn’t have to be this way. They’re exploring document automation solutions, and many are turning to Smokeball.
Smokeball has taken document automation and bundled it with a powerful practice management software tool that keeps your business lean and productive. Smokeball takes everything you enter into the system (contacts, parties, every other detail) and makes it available to automatically populate your documents in just seconds. Smokeball’s extensive library of automated forms and precedents seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Word making it simple to create and edit documents without entering data twice. Smokeball legal documents are practice area specific and you can create your own customised forms. If you require training, in-depth document automation training is available so that you can get the most out of Smokeball’s document automation tools. Smokeball’s document automation capabilities and first-class client support and training are second to none.
If you’re like most small law firms who want to stop wasting time manually modifying documents and eliminate the risk of sending error-laden files to your clients, Smokeball could be the solution for you. Time is a valuable commodity, so let’s stop wasting it!