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Document Automation: Checklist for legal professionals

Legal professionals know that the necessary paperwork and administration is an intrinsic part of the job. This will never change. At least, the need for documents, forms and contracts etc. Only the physical form of future administration will change everyday more and more. In fact, this is already happening. More and more legal professionals are using document automation. Within the legal sector, document automation facilitates, among other things, a centralized process for producing letters, agreements, motions, pleadings, bills, invoices and other legal documents. Simply put, document automation helps create and/or process a large number of documents in a relatively short time. All this aligned with your own brand and terms of compliance.

Automation of legal documents is essential to improving and optimizing the way legal professionals run their practice. On the other hand, document management ensures that the document is easily accessible, well organized and secured for future access, editing and sharing. But what exactly is document automation for legal professionals and what should you pay attention to?

Beginning of the adoption of document automation within your organization

When choosing the right solution to manage your document processes as a legal professional, it is important to consider how the solution will integrate the automated documents and management tools. Ideally, lawyers should be able to easily create, edit and share documents from one location. This works as a portal for all documents. This saves a lot of time on various routine tasks.

The checklist for legal professionals

Determine your (organizational) needs

There are five things to keep in mind if you as a legal professional are looking for the right solution for automating the creation and management of documents for your office:

1. Budget

A critical consideration in any decision is cost. When choosing the solution, keep in mind the other benefits that should be included in the cost. For example, is the solution linked to a document management system or a signature system? This can lead to significant cost savings.

2. The cost of integrating a new solution

The cost of integrating a new solution is the total time spent switching between different software or applications. If the document compilation solution you’re considering doesn’t integrate directly with current legal practice management systems or software, you may lose time switching back and forth between each application.

3. Time and effort involved in the adoption

Time is money and legal professionals understand this better than most people. Therefore, professionals should choose a solution that is easy and intuitive to set up and saves time in the future.

Consider the following questions when exploring the solution for your company:

  • How much time are you willing to spend integrating the solution for document automation?
  • How much and/or how often should you be involved in this process?
  • Do you need to hire someone to set this up for you, or can you appoint someone in the office to do this?
  • If you need to hire someone, what are the additional costs?
  • How complex should the solution be and what complexity do you really need?

4. The solution and current processes

Legal professionals with existing applications, operational processes, tasks, deadlines and procedures should investigate how well a particular document automation solution will connect to your existing processes and systems. In order for your practice or company to run smoothly, you need a solution that fits in well with the existing system and setup.

5. Security

When using cloud based solution, all data is hosted on a third party server. This is often safer than if you store it yourself as a legal professional. However, you should pay attention to some important things. As a legal professional, there is an ethical obligation to vet the service provider, so that the information does not fall into the wrong hands. In addition to understanding who is responsible for hosting and storing the data, it is also necessary to understand how the service will handle the data, who has access to the data, how robust the servers are etc.

What else should you pay attention to?

Finding the right document automation solution for lawyers is an important step for your organization. Some important features of good software for automating legal documents, among other things, should include the following:

Prepare common/routine legal documents in seconds

This is an often-overlooked requirement of a good document solution: the ability to quickly prepare forms and documents by means of, for example, dynamic forms. Ideally, even the most complex documents should take much less time with the right document automation solution.

The correct or no limit on the number of documents

Legal professionals hebben al veel aan hun hoofd, het laatste wat ze nodig hebben is de slepende gedachte aan een limiet en de zorg dat er mogelijk ruimtegebrek is. De juiste oplossing moet passen bij de organisatie. Een kleine organisatie heeft namelijk ook niets aan een oplossing zonder limiet die teveel kost.

Find files quickly

Legal professionals must be able to search for documents easily and quickly – this is an indispensable feature of a solution intended for legal professionals. 

Electronic signature

Today it is essential to collect signatures without the need to send physical documents or to be in the same room as the customer. An important feature of a good document management solution is the ability to quickly and easily create newly created signature collection using the solution itself.

Online access to the documents

Often legal professionals need remote access to their documents at any time. If the legal documents are stored on your computer at the office or on local servers within your company, it can be very difficult or impossible to access these files remotely. Access via the Cloud is therefore essential.