There’s a familiar drumbeat that accompanies information about legal tech and business process automation. Companies might highlight the ’immense pressures and enormous challenges’ facing the legal sector, tell you how their solutions can help, and then politely ask you to ‘get in touch’. But, in the spirit of innovation, we’re going to try something a little different (after all, we reckon you know what it’s like to be a lawyer), and simply get to the point.
Why law firms should care about business process automation
- 80% of law firm clients expect to pay their invoices online.
- On average, law firms in the UK’s Top 100 wait four months before getting paid.
- Lawyers can spend 48% of their non-billable time on administrative tasks.
These statistics represent an opportunity for firms that want to understand how to use technology to reduce friction and delays in client-onboarding, automate time-consuming, painful administrative tasks, reduce lockup days, and improve client satisfaction.
It’s more than just spiel! It’s business process automation.
In this blog we’ll explain the concept and technology, examine two of its most powerful use-cases, and answer some of our most encountered questions.
And, full disclosure, if our insight piques your interest…we’ll encourage you to get in touch.
What is business process automation in the legal sector?
Business Process Automation, or BPA, can be broadly defined as the use of technology to automate repeatable, multi-step business transactions, minimising human interaction to achieve specific organisational goals. Tailored to a firm's unique needs, BPA goes beyond mere data manipulation and record-keeping, extending into realms of complex workflows like matter intake, service delivery, and client engagement.
When tailored to the context of legal practice, BPA is a powerful solution to everyday challenges like managing complex onboarding processes, verifying client identities, and taking payment, creating room for the experts to focus on the client-centric tasks that require the human touch.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q: What kind of tasks should my firm automate?
A: There’s no hard-and-fast rule. But for firms seeking proven results, begin with client onboarding automation, client matter inception, and automated client payment solutions before exploring the potential of no-code workflows to transform complex internal processes.
Q: Will BPA replace lawyers?
A: Automation will not replace lawyers. The expert practice of law is far beyond the capacity of current automation technologies.
Q: Can BPA improve client engagement?
A: Yes! And don’t just take our word for it — see what one of our clients says.
How to implement BPA at your firm
We’ve gleaned insights from our resident BPA experts (trust them, they do this for a living) and they have the following advice for firms at any stage of the automation journey:
- Understand your data: delve into your firm’s operations to identify bottlenecks and areas where automation could drive significant improvements. Talk to your fee-earners and professionals to understand and document their day-to-day frustrations.
- Make automation a firm-wide priority: approach automation as a strategic investment, directly aligned to your firm’s long-term goals. This will increase your firm’s ability to deploy automations successfully — in fact, a study by McKinsey found that 72% of organisations who successfully deployed BPAs, credited that success back to automation being a strategic business priority.
- Don't buy or build in silos: it may seem counterintuitive to uncover a frustration with your processes and not immediately try to find a solution, but understanding comes with patience — consider whether a proposed BPA solution can work across practice areas and departments, and seek to maximise your ROI.
Two powerful legal BPA use-cases
- Client onboarding
The initial interaction between a law firm and a client sets the tone for the entire professional dynamic. BPA in client onboarding refines this dynamic while significantly mitigating the manual workload associated with it. By leveraging BPA, you can automate essential tasks like digital data collection, document verification, and appointment scheduling.
- Client payment solutions
The automation of client payments, facilitated by BPA, is a strategic approach to ensuring punctual invoicing and collections. BPA orchestrates a seamless flow of financial transactions and communications between the firm and its clients, automating various facets of the payment process from generating and sending invoices, to processing payments, and reconciling accounts.
Q: What if my client is less confident using digital tools and solutions?
A: To our earlier point, BPA is no substitute for a lawyer. It’s imperative that your firm provides alternative onboarding methods or additional assistance for clients who might find digital tools challenging to use — a hybrid approach combining digital and human interaction, with accessible step-by-step guides.
Q: Do digital payment solutions speed up payments?
A: Accepting online payments can significantly improve the speed at which firms get paid. Not only are digital payments the preferred method of payment for many consumers, we’ve seen firms get paid in as little as 7 hours when they include an online link.
Digital convenience is the byword of our modern society, and legal services are no exception. BPA unlocks the value hiding in your processes by removing the frustration of having to manually repeat them, and correct them — simple solutions that automate complex processes.
Get in touch with us
Legl has been helping firms at every level of digital maturity automate business processes. If you want to reduce lockup, improve cash flow, and enhance client satisfaction, then chat with one of our experts.