Technology has been widely adopted within the legal sector with case management and invoicing software being used by many practices.
Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Automation are being used across many vertical sectors proving their value by improving efficiencies and accuracy across a number of business processes. Articles and information regarding the application of RPA and Artificial Intelligence for legal are widely available, but it seems that legal professionals, who might not be experienced in evaluating and adopting new tech, are unsure as to the actual legal business process that they might support.
My hope is that this article will help lawyers to identify the tasks that RPA and the next generation Intelligent Automation will be able to handle for them.
Why RPA for legal?
The main benefit of using automation in the legal sector is to free up high value staff such as lawyers and paralegals, from the mundane, repetitive tasks that need administering e.g. timesheets, paperwork, interaction with legal Artificial Intelligence applications, so that they can spend more time on high value or added value activities whilst improving speed, accuracy and compliance.
The legal sector is overloaded with bureaucratic administrative processes that take a huge amount of time for human employees to complete, reducing job satisfaction and allowing for opportunities for mistakes to creep in. RPA and Intelligent Automation can considerably improve these processes, mimicking the work that the human performs with extreme efficiency and accuracy, freeing the valuable workers to focus on more rewarding and potentially billable tasks.
"freeing the valuable workers to focus on more rewarding and potentially billable tasks."
What are the barriers to adopting RPA in Legal?
As RPA and IA are relatively new to the legal sector it’s likely that law firms might be struggling to identify which processes would be best suited for it. RPA is generally applicable to rule-based, repetitive processes that are as uniform as possible – with minimal exceptions. Any series of processes with these traits is an excellent candidate for automation.
Of course, there are costs involved in licensing and installing new software, but there may also be hidden costs in the number of developers and hours that the software might require in set up and ongoing maintenance. When reviewing your potential software providers it’s essential that you bear this in mind, look for a product that is easy to deploy and that can scale with minimal involvement from the software provider, that has an intuitive interface requiring minimal staff training.
How can I identify the processes that are best for automation?
Process selection is fundamental to the success or failure of automation. If you are struggling to identify the processes within your company that are best suited for automation you could try approaching a software provider that offers ‘process discovery’ to aid your decision making. At Maximise IT when we first introduce SmartFlow to our clients we recommend following a simple 5 step process. Steps 1 to 4 are ‘discovery’ to help you and your team identify where automation would be beneficial, this could include a ‘proof of concept’. If on completion of these first steps you conclude SmartFlow could help we move to Step 5 – implementation.
Where to start?
Our research has shown that RPA could be used in the following specific areas for legal:
RPA is excellent for searching through vast databases of legal precedents and providing the relevant analogues. This is an area of law that is extremely time consuming and due to the monotony of the task it can be prone to error.
SmartFlow is a data centric software, and as it is Intelligent Automaton it amasses knowledge that it can act upon, searching through data from different sources creating a data tree to illustrate the findings and exporting the results into word or excel.
Know Your Customer
Robots can be used to auto complete risk assessment forms for AML and CTF, gathering into a single structured file all relevant information about the client whilst adhering to all legal and compliance regulations. Click here to find more about KYC.
How can we help?
We recommend that you don’t get too bogged down in creating ‘the case for RPA’ too early on in your digital transformation journey, involve your preferred supplier because they should help you scope the opportunity, working with you to identify areas within your business that are ripe for automation and creating a business case to support your proposal. Remain ‘person-centred’, RPA is there to assist your human workforce in achieving their goals efficiently - it does not replace them.
Consider small scale pilots so that your team can experience the software and understand the benefits. One thing that is certain is that high-class customer service is critical to advantage companies in professional, competitive environments. There is no doubt that RPA/IA can support the legal sector and provide ROI, the next step is to find out how.