The Document Automation Revolution

March 2, 2019
When we talk about how Legalinc’s solutions and automated services can transform the way a practice operates, we always talk about creating more hours in the day to focus on what matters. One of the latest leaps forward in the effort to create more hours in the day, and one that’s gaining a lot of traction with firms across the country, is legal documentation automation.

We’re not talking about old-school solutions that produce skeleton document templates that legal professionals still have to copy/paste into. We’re talking about storing complex case & client data in a single location and using that data to create thousands of detailed, error-free legal documents with a single click.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. And it’s here to stay.

What Smart Document Automation Is Not.

Document automation traces its roots all the way back to the mail merge solutions that were introduced in the 1980s. These solutions were a simple database of names and addresses that could be used to streamline the direct mail marketing process.

Other forms of document automation that have been introduced a bit more recently (and more specifically for legal teams) include form or document template engines. These tools cut out some of the more repetitive steps of legal document creation and formatting, but still requires users to copy/paste or manually type in case & client info.

Smart document automation is much more than a sophisticated combination of mail merge system and a document templating engine. It’s your practice’s legal data reimagined as a final document.

What Smart Document Automation Is.

Smart document automation transforms your complex data into one of thousands of forms, legal documents, or other custom applications specific to your needs. In doing so, it accomplishes two goals that legal practices are perpetually working towards: increasing efficiency and reducing errors.

Two of the major players in this legal document automation revolution are Smokeball and Precisely. If you simplify what these solutions do, they take care of three critical functions for legal teams:

  1. They provide a robust data repository in a single location. From names & addresses to detailed criminal histories, all of this data is stored in one place. Better yet, when new information is entered to create a document, it’s organized and stored automatically for future use, making the solutions a single source of truth for a practice.
  2. They provide a library of thousands of legal documents and form templates tailored to hundreds of practice areas. This removes ever having to reuse previous docs, especially from other cases, to create new docs, further adding efficiency and accuracy to all of a legal practice’s processes.
  3. Finally, these previous two points come together to produce new documents. That’s the revolutionary aspect of this revolution. These new solutions automatically & intelligently pull in the relevant data from the library and combine them with perfectly-constructed documents and forms to deliver legal practices a finished, filled-out piece of legal documentation in seconds. They can even produce custom forms created by the practice itself and match a practice’s particular brand standards seamlessly with integrations with word processors like Microsoft Word.

In short, these tools store a robust amount of detailed information, provide access to many thousands of docs & forms, and uses that combined library and artificial intelligence to produce complex-but-perfect legal documents in seconds. Manual data entry and hand-creating these documents used to require hours of time every week. Now, through these solutions, practices can output more accurate forms, in larger quantities, at a speed that the modern marketplace demands.

In this overview, we’ve discussed how the legal document automation revolution adds efficiency and accuracy to legal practices. They create more hours in the day for legal teams, which is the goal of each & every Legalinc solution. But this revolution is also necessary.

While these tools fall into the nice to have category of solutions for legal practices, they’re rapidly becoming a must-have for legal teams of all kinds. As we discussed in our previous blog about the challenges facing firms today, the modern marketplace is demanding great speed at lower costs from law firms across all practice areas. Legal teams have the luxury of choosing to use these solutions now, but very soon it will be an obligation. We encourage any legal professionals reading this to embrace this trend as soon as your practice can.

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