Legal Process Automation: Where Do You Stand?

Different law firms are at different points along the business process automation curve. Some have highly automated processes, some have moderately automated processes, and others have very manual processes. On average, however, certain processes tend to be more automated than others.

How would you rate the level of automation for each of these processes? (Mean)

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends primary research

This blog post will provide suggestions for law firms seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of their business processes in place, as well as act on this information. This evaluation process should include consideration of whether the current level of automation is sufficient or in need of improvement.

Recommendation #1: Map out current processes

To get a true handle on the nature of current business processes, law firms are encouraged to map out these processes using tools like flowcharts and hierarchy charts. This can help them see how data enters into a practice, who it is routed to, what is done with it, and more. As part of this exercise, it can be helpful to seek input from the individuals that are actually involved in the processes.

Recommendation #2: Identify areas of redundancy and inefficiency

Looking at the process maps, organizations can better identify where bottlenecks and other inefficiencies may be located within a process. From an automation standpoint, for example, it may become clear that the taking of notes by hand, entering of notes into a computer, and eventual method of retrieving notes is wasting a significant amount of time.

Recommendation #3: Consider new software tools  

When it’s clear that automation could benefit an existing process, law firms are encouraged to research potential software tools to streamline tasks. Whether they speak with their technology provider, search the Internet, or use another research method, potential software areas for consideration include document management, practice management, legal research, client communication, and note-taking.

Recommendation #4: Make a decision

The process of making a decision should be based on a cost-benefit analysis of whether the software tool makes sense for the law firm. If it’s clear that benefits around productivity, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction are worth the price tag and change management required, it may be time to make an investment. That said, cloud-based pay-as-you go software is often available, reducing the amount of upfront capital required.


Automation levels vary by law firms and process. To get a good handle on where they stand, law firms are encouraged to map out their processes and identify areas of manual activity that may slow down tasks. A good next step is researching and considering new software tools, followed by making a decision based on a cost-benefit analysis.