From changing dynamics in the client-firm relationship to increased regulatory complexity, today’s law firms face many challenges as they strive to evolve and keep pace with the changing market. Today’s clients demand quality advice, responsiveness, flexibility and value-driven innovation. At the same time, firms are facing increasingly complex compliance, mounting pricing pressures and increased competition.

As client expectations continue to rise, firms must be able to strike the right balance between delivering value and creating differentiation. Fortunately, innovations in automated technology are making it easier than ever for firms to deliver enhanced client service, while also improving business processes. Here, we look at four core reasons why law firms need to adopt automation in order to remain competitive in the market and pave a path for future growth.

1) Drive Billing Efficiency

In the changing market, efficiency is becoming crucial to law firms’ continued success. Fixed fee arrangements now account for nearly half of transactions in the legal industry. To stay atop the growing trend of alternative fee arrangements, firms must be able to drive greater efficiency.

By automating legal processes and frequently-used documents, firms can start to minimise the time that lawyers spend on administrative and less-value add tasks. Document workflow is a prime example of how automation can help minimise internal inefficiencies. Manually creating new contracts and other legal documents requires an immense amount of time and is often prone to human error. However, by combining knowledge management principles with automated document assembly technology, firms can reduce errors, costs, time and overall inefficiencies associated with the more traditional drafting methods.

2) Win New Business

To stay competitive, firms need to find ways to create differentiation in the market. Today’s clients demand value from their legal providers. However, that does not mean that firms need to compete on price. Rather, firms need to find ways to add value to the client relationship.

Automation offers new advances in legal service delivery that create much-needed differentiation in the market. Client portals are an excellent example of how forward-thinking firms are using automation to deliver a more tailored experience for clients. These self-service portals can be used to provide customers with instant access to the information they need, while also allowing for personalisation. By offering innovative online client services, firms are better positioned to win new business, while also expanding their offering to current clients.

3) Improve Profitability

To increase profitability, firms need to do more with less. This means that firms need to optimise their people and improve processes in order to cut costs and increase margins. Automation is crucial to evolving legal processes to maximise productivity and minimise the time lawyers spend devoted to less value-add tasks.

Consider, for instance, the self-service client portals mentioned previously. Client self-service portals enable firms to process more fixed-rate transactions, while simultaneously providing clients with immediate work product.

4) Minimise Risk

Compliance and cybersecurity is a major stressor for today’s law firms. With increasingly complex regulations and directives, such as GDPR, firms face greater accountability in demonstrating security and compliance. More importantly, the inability to properly secure and protect client data can severely damage the reputation of the even the most well-respected firms.

Fortunately, automation technology makes it easy to embed compliance into lawyers’ daily work. As one lawyer makes a nuanced decision based on the data at hand, that expertise can be modeled into workflows and processes, enabling subtle judgements to be made en masse. The result is compliance that’s streamlined across the firm.

Advances in automation are paving the way for vast improvements in legal operations and legal service delivery. To keep up with the ever-evolving legal landscape, competitive firms must adapt and find creative ways to automate their firms.