4 Advantages of Paralegal Automation (And 5 Tools to Start With)

 In Practice Pointers

4 Advantages of Paralegal Automation (And 5 Tools to Start With)

Automation technology is designed to reduce, if not eliminate, the time spent on the most repetitive, time-consuming tasks. For paralegals, this type of tech can open a whole new world of opportunities for efficiency, productivity, and career growth.

However, automation is still relatively new, especially in the legal industry, where professionals tend to stick to traditional processes. If you’re on the fence about adopting this type of tech, this article will teach you everything you need to know about it.

lawyer signing documents

What Are Common Tasks Paralegals Do Manually?

New legal technologies aim to streamline various workflows involved in the legal profession. These include everything from communicating with clients to preparing legal documents and many other small tasks in between that take up more time than they should.

However, all of these technologies have one common goal: to take as many manual tasks off legal professionals’ hands–or at least make them easier. For paralegals, these tasks often include:

  • Document Preparation and Management: This includes drafting legal documents, such as pleadings, motions, briefs, wills, contracts, and correspondence. Paralegals also organize and maintain case files and documents in paper form or electronic databases.
  • Legal Research: Paralegals conduct legal research to support cases, which involves finding relevant laws, judicial decisions, legal articles, and other materials. They manually review and analyze this information to assist lawyers in understanding related legal frameworks.
  • Client Communication: Paralegals often act as a liaison between the lawyer and the clients, communicating case updates, gathering client information, and answering client questions under the supervision of an attorney.
  • Case Management: They track and manage case progress, including deadlines, court dates, and appointments. This involves manually updating case management systems and calendars and ensuring that all parties are informed of important dates.
  • Discovery and Evidence Management: Paralegals are responsible for managing the discovery process, which includes collecting, reviewing, and organizing evidence and documents from clients and opposing parties.
  • Filing and Court Procedures: Understanding and adhering to court procedures is another key task. Paralegals prepare and file court documents, ensuring compliance with procedural rules. They may also coordinate the logistics of court appearances and depositions.
  • Billing and Timekeeping: Paralegals track billable hours and assist in preparing invoices for clients. They ensure that all billable activities are accurately recorded and that clients are billed appropriately.

What is Paralegal Automation?

Paralegal automation is a new technology designed to automate routine and repetitive tasks traditionally performed by paralegals and legal assistants, like the ones mentioned above.

It involves various software and tools designed to mimic or support the tasks that paralegals do, reducing paper-based manual processes and ensuring overall efficiency. These tools can handle everything from drafting legal documents using templates and predefined rules to organizing case files electronically, managing schedules, and conducting preliminary legal research.

two lawyers talking

How Can Automation Benefit Paralegals?

From the basic definition alone, it’s apparent that paralegal automation can take law firms to a whole new level regarding efficiency, consistency, and accuracy. But before you invest in this type of software, let’s explore exactly how it benefits the legal industry:

More Efficient Workflows

Automation brings a notable improvement to workflow efficiency in the legal industry. It transforms the landscape of time-consuming administrative tasks—drafting documents, sifting through legal precedents, and organizing case materials—into tasks that are completed more swiftly and accurately.

For example, by employing automated document assembly systems, complex legal documents that previously required extensive manual effort to compile can now be generated rapidly, freeing up paralegals to dedicate their valuable time to more substantial work.

Of course, better efficiency often leads to a more positive work-life balance, which ultimately opens up a whole new set of advantages. These can include a better work culture in legal departments, improved productivity, and higher job satisfaction.

Skill Development and Innovation

With the automation of repetitive tasks, paralegals have more opportunities to engage in work that requires deeper critical thinking, creativity, and legal reasoning. This shift not only enriches the job satisfaction for paralegals but also encourages the development of new skills and expertise areas.

For example, paralegals can spend more time on client strategy sessions, deep legal research, and even contribute to developing innovative solutions for legal problems. This kind of working environment fosters a culture of continuous learning and professional growth, keeping paralegals at the cutting edge of legal technology.

Better Client Experience

Automation significantly elevates the level of service clients receive, making every step of their legal journey smoother and more transparent. From the get-go, automated client intake processes set a professional tone, while online client portals provide a secure, user-friendly space for clients to view their case details, documents, and progress updates anytime, anywhere.

Aside from improving the responsiveness and transparency of your legal service, automation technology can also significantly enhance the overall client experience, contributing to higher satisfaction and trust levels. In turn, you attract new prospective clients that come to your law firm from referrals of satisfied clients.

Increased Law Firm Profitability

All of these advantages culminate into one major goal that all law firms have: maximized profitability.

Streamlining routine tasks means you can take on more cases without sacrificing service quality. Additionally, the accuracy automation brings to the table diminishes the chances of expensive errors and the need for time-consuming corrections.

The hours saved convert directly into financial savings and, potentially, an uptick in revenue, as legal teams can channel their energies towards billable tasks and expanding their client base. By leveraging innovative, efficient service delivery, you can stand out in a crowded market, drawing in more clients and setting the stage for sustained growth.

Best Paralegal Automation Tools You Should Consider

With how fast automation technology is integrating into the legal industry, these tools have become more of a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best tools you should consider integrating into your legal practice to streamline operations:

Document Automation Software

Document automation software allows paralegals to create error-free documents quickly by automating the drafting process with artificial intelligence.

Templates and predefined fields ensure consistency across all documents, significantly reducing the time spent on manual drafting and revision. This can include everything from court forms and contracts to discovery response and request documents.

Client Intake Software

First impressions count, and client intake software ensures that your firm starts on the right foot. This tool simplifies the process of collecting initial client data and automating forms and questionnaires to capture essential information accurately and efficiently.

Client Communication Tools

Effective communication is the backbone of any successful legal practice. Client communication tools facilitate secure and efficient exchanges between lawyers, paralegals, and clients. Features may include encrypted messaging, automated updates, and reminders, ensuring that clients stay informed and engaged throughout their cases.

Legal Research

The vast world of legal precedents, statutes, and case law can be daunting. Legal research tools harness powerful search algorithms to help paralegals quickly find relevant legal information.

These platforms often come with additional features like citation tracking, annotation capabilities, and the ability to save and organize research, making legal research less time-consuming and more productive.

Contract Automation Tools

Negotiating and drafting contracts is a core aspect of many legal practices. Contract automation tools streamline this process from creation to signature. They allow for the automation of drafting standard contracts, tracking changes, and managing approvals in just a few minutes instead of hours.

Practice Management Software

If you want all these features in one platform, consider a comprehensive digital tool designed to streamline the administrative and operational aspects of running a law firm. It integrates tasks such as case management, calendaring, time tracking, billing, document management, and client communications into a single platform.

lawyers having a meeting

Will Automation Replace Legal Professionals?

With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence in the legal field, many people are concerned about paralegals’ job security. Will these tools make paralegals redundant and, therefore, obsolete in the future?

The answer is no. While an automation tool can make many repetitive processes faster and far easier, technology cannot replicate all human skills, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, ethical judgment, and creative problem-solving. Automation will augment these workflows, but paralegals cannot be replaced entirely.

Upgrade Your Discovery Process with Briefpoint

The discovery phase of litigation can be the most grueling part of the process, and a huge chunk of time you put into it often goes to document preparation. The creators of Briefpoint have recognized this problem long ago and perfected a document automation tool that saves you time and money.

With Briefpoint, you can generate drafts of discovery responses and request documents in minutes, including but not limited to the following:

Take Advantage of Document Automation Software Today

Discovery responses cost firms $23,240, per year, per attorney. $23,240 estimate assumes an associate attorney salary of $150,000 (including benefits – or $83 an hour), 20 cases per year/per associate, 4 discovery sets per case, 30 questions per set, 3.5 hours spent responding to each set, and 1800 hours of billable hours per year.

Under these assumptions, you save $20,477 using Briefpoint, per year, per attorney.

Test Briefpoint yourself by scheduling a demo here.

FAQs About Paralegal Automation

Can paralegal automation handle all tasks in a law firm?

No, automation is best suited for repetitive, routine tasks. Complex legal analysis and decision-making still require the human touch.

Is implementing automation expensive?

The initial investment might seem steep, but the long-term savings in time and resources far outweigh the costs.

Can automation improve the accuracy of legal work?

Yes. In fact, better accuracy is one of its goals. Automation reduces the risk of human error, ensuring that documents and processes are consistent and error-free.

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