October 21, 2022

Small and Mid-Size Law Firms - Customer Oriented Document Automation

Learn about the conventional hiccups in small to midsize law firms relating to document processing, and how document automation can resolve it.

Law firms are transmuting from their earlier roots of paper-driven processes to a digital infrastructure. As mentioned in the report by Thomson Reuters & Georgetown Law, the industry has already reached its ‘Tipping point’ as stated in the book by Malcolm Gladwell.

The changes today in the industry are not slow or gradual rather it is being dumped on the industry like an epidemic. These sudden changes and surges in law related data can only be catered via effective digitization and document automation within both small and mid size law firms.

Aim of Digitization and Document Automation…

The primary modus operandi behind the transformation in the law industry is not backed by internal procedures, partnerships, and even lawyers. Instead, it is driven primarily by the need to cater the customers better. The core intentions behind this transformation is to create more value and create higher customer satisfaction. 

Customers of today are privy to more instant information regarding the billing procedures, the level of service, or simply the stage at which their case is. It demands an effective document automation for small and mid size law firms and management infrastructure that can readily provide data at a snap of a finger. However, the increasing customer data and the complexity it is catering to makes the work way more difficult. Also while manual processing has been the way to go, there is no way the same methods and strategies can be applied on the current pool of data. Why? Because it is simply enormous and unstructured in nature.

Why Manual Processing and OCR fails? [from a law perspective]

Even before anyone heard of digitization. In fact even when it was not really imagined, everything was mechanical around the human species. We were primarily handling operations manually especially in the law industry. The huge amounts of plaintiff’s data, defendant data, court trial data, case data, invoices, billings, receipts, etc. call them whatever you want were stored physically using files and cabinets. Lawyers and subordinates would use dates, names, and describing data for the client’s case to effectively search everything for future purposes.

However once digitization came to being, a majority of data was being stored in digital formats using OCRs (Optical character recognition). These were highly efficient in terms of aggregating data into systems that can be stored in floppy discs, CDs, or computer databases with relevant files and folder names. But today, we have cloud based CRM systems to manage terabytes of law firms data, government legal data, and private institution legal data. 

As we are talking about small and mid size law firms, it is important to tell that they are right now facing huge surges of legal documents from everywhere. The list of legal documents used in a law firm are simply endless for example:

  • Bill of sale
  • Non-compete agreement
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Cease and desist letter
  • Demand letter
  • Sales agreement

 Also most of these documents are protected by confidentiality clauses. Therefore, the best way to protect them is to store them in a digital central repository that provides necessary encryptions and can only be accessed using authorized login credentials.

Keeping the entire story in mind, below we have mentioned some of the biggest challenges in terms of document processing for small and medium law firms.

Document Processing Challenges of Small and Medium Law Firms

If we start to deep dive in the legal landscape, there are several problems/challenges attributed to the industry. These are led by employees working in law firms and their capability to collaborate, produce high quality results, make data driven decisions, and most importantly keep an accurate record of client’s data.

These are:

Capability to Handle Huge Volumes of Data

In 2021, the legal tech market reached $27.6 billion as reported by statista. There is not an iota of doubt that most of these products in the legal tech market are catering to legal data management and storage. It concurrently narrates the story about the high volumes of legal document data and its importance for the industry. However, while there are plenty of tools and softwares that can easily tackle the management bit, the law industry still struggles with processing data considering its unstructured nature. It requires dedicated teams that would transcribe data from documents manually and put them into the CRM systems. The reason behind the extensive use of manual processing is because OCRs can’t work with unstructured data. To curtail all these problems, the most efficient technology available in the market is IDP (Intelligent Document Processing).

Lack of Transparency for Enhanced Productivity

It is a much valued attribute that is required for customer excellence and a higher satisfaction. Including law, the lack of transparency within the organizations creates potholes and speed breakers within the system. It requires an effective data extraction strategy to reduce gaps in data realization, effective data management to place information where it belongs, and permanent tangible and non-tangle storage units for future access. Another major aspect is the accessibility of data from anywhere and anyplace. A majority of traditional systems can’t do it but modern document automation systems such as IDP can.

Automation of Contracts for Optimized Process

Contract generation & reinstatement within the firm and outside the law firm is a recurring event. Beginning from the starting of the contract to its reinstatement after a stipulated time period, it gives an additional task within the law firm to automation. However, the task can be automated efficiently by using automation tools available today. In fact, some of the key values that are used for reinstatement can be pulled out from the database and directly filled into a template using IDP solution. The capacity to choose the field would help with employing redacted information in legal contracts that is an important component frequently addressed by legal experts.

Accurate Data Capture for Zero Data Reconciliation

With the increase in the volume of documents being processed in legal firms, the chances of inaccurate data capture is beyond comprehension. Manual work means repetitive and mundane tasks that are bound to distract the collaborator. In fact the majority of errors that are generally seen within documents are not printing mistakes from its original source instead human induced errors. To curb that problem completely, IDP systems such as VisionERA can be employed. These provide sorted, segregated, and filtered data with absolutely no error during operations. Also, these can work for endless hours without asking for a break.

Reduction of Legal Document Management Cost

In order to run a successful business, the administration should look at any place where they can reduce cost. Gladly, the opportunity here is big and unclaimed by many of the small and mid level legal firms. Manual file management requires a team of employees and billable hours. Adding to it, the cost of inaccurate data being pushed into the system, the inconsistencies created by it, and the backward operation of reconciling them, all end up generating cost. The cost that is paid by the company funds. Employing a document automation system for a small and mid level legal firm would mean reduction of all those costs, and effective use of time as well.

IDP Use Cases in Small and Mid-Size Law Firms

There are plenty of use cases that can be effectively automated using document automation via IDP solutions. 

Some of these are mentioned below:

  • Management of Contracts
  • Detection of Frauds
  • Legal Data Storage, Collation, and its Management
  • Due Diligence related to Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Case Reviewals

Document Automation Solution - Catering to Small and Mid-Size Law Firms

We have been talking about IDP for a long time in this article. It's time for us to introduce you to one the best in the market  i.e. ‘VisionERA’.

VisionERA is an AI-based IDP platform backed by the company ‘AmyGB’. It is a one stop document automation solution for a host of different industries including small and mid size law firms. In law, collection of data from different documents, exporting it onto the CRM system, and redacting the data before providing it to the customers, is of utmost importance.

VisionERA can help you with each of these functions. For instance:

  • It can collect data from any volume of law documents, once the user creates a custom workflow and document selection. 
  • It will seamlessly extract data from a host of unstructured documents having different templates. 
  • It lets the user can program it (without coding) to extract only key attributes that need to be exported into the CRM system. The similar process can be done for the redacted data too.
  • It effectively tackles all the document challenges that are associated with legal firms.
  • It can implement contract automation along with handling other use cases mentioned above. 
  • It creates transparency within the organization because of its SaaS based architecture. It means to take advantage of cloud storage that allows users to access data from anywhere in a hierarchical manner. 
  • It introduces zero errors and also provides effective bucketization for rejection files. For instance, if there are any rejected files by the system, the system would ask for manual reconciliation and would use the same strategy for all the future incoming documents.

VisionERA also boasts of other excellents features such as table detection, continuous learning, checkbox detection, etc. Using VisionERA would simplify the document processing operations in your legal firm to the highest degree, and would make sure that no amount of time is wasted on repetitive & boring tasks.

Note: You can get started with VisionERA today itself without having to pay a single penny. Our $0 invoicing policy lets our customers pay only after seeing satisfactory results. No risk and absolutely no obligations!

To try your hand out on VisionERA, simply use our free trial button.

To get a detailed demonstration, schedule a demo with our automation experts.

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