When you think of law professional at work, what comes to mind? Do you visualize a briskly pacing litigator commanding a courtroom and shouting, “You can’t handle the truth”? Or do you think of a paralegal or legal intern sifting through thousands of pages of legal documentation while nursing a bottle of Advil because headaches and backaches are a daily occurrence? It may not be as glamorous, but the latter is a more accurate depiction of a day in the life of most legal professionals.
Those passionate about law understand the grunt work they have to put in at the beginning of their careers. Fortunately, advances in automation technology can help ease some of the stressors and alleviate the mind-numbing tedium of it all. Today’s paralegals have it easier than ever before, or at least those that are fortunate enough to work for law firms that are adopting automation technology.
If you’re starting to get a crick in your neck just thinking about the hours spent scanning through paperwork, you can relax because robotic process automation tools can ease these 4 big headaches within the legal industry:
Time-Consuming Document Review
One of the jobs that many lawyers start off with is called Document Review. If you are unfamiliar with Document Review, please take a moment to thank your deity of choice, if you have one. According to Shannon Capone Kirk, this job consists of sitting in a warehouse for several weeks at a time, sifting through banker boxes (which we propose should be called “legal boxes” as a tribute to the legal professionals who spend so much time with them) full of paper documents. It’s time consuming, tedious, and a recipe for a headache and eye strain. Basically, it’s grunt work.
How can legal automation help? For starters, imagine the difference it would make if these documents were electronic, versus physical. This means you could view them from anywhere at any time, rather than being cooped up in a dusty storage room somewhere. Additionally, this opens up possibilities of electronic tagging (to tie related documents together) as well as full text search (which can give you back hours of your life). A fully automated legal process would include your documents being received and filed electronically without you having to sort and sift and read hundreds of pages. (It’s okay to breathe a sigh of relief at this point).
Some professions are more paper-laden than others. For example, imagine an educator who doesn’t just carry around a tote or briefcase. No, she wheels around an actual piece of luggage full of books and ungraded papers. Attorneys take this to the next level. A single case can mean reams and reams of paper. Add to that the fact that multiple cases are worked in concurrence. That adds up to a TON of paper.
How does one person carry all of this paper? And where is it stored? The paper situation alone is enough of a reason to turn to an Enterprise Automation Platform, for the Document Management tools that are offered. Lewis, Birch, & Ricardo reported that, prior to getting a Document Management System, they often had to bring luggage carriers with them to meetings! With today’s technology, there’s no reason to continue living under this mountain of paper.
Searching for Specific, Relevant Pages
Sometimes legal aids are tasks with going through boxes of papers to find a single reference on a single page. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s tedious and nearly impossible! Your vision blurs. You lose focus. You get to the point where you really, really need to book a massage, ASAP, because your spine has been bent into a question mark for way too many hours. It’s quite literally a pain in the neck.
All of this irritation isn’t necessary if you use Full Text Search. This is how it works: When documents are put into the Document Management System, they’re read by the software so that you can, at a later date, search for specific words and phrases that occur on any page, and pull them up quickly and easily. No headache. No neck ache. No $100 massage bill. Just results, plain and simple.
You’ve heard the expression “Too many cooks in the kitchen.” How about “Too many hands in the banker box”? If not, that’s probably because it’s not a real expression, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a real problem. When more than one person needs to access the same files, sometimes pages go missing. Worse yet, sometimes entire folders go missing. It’s a fact of life when you’re dealing with hard copies of documents.
The solution? Electronic documents. When you have an automated legal process, your documents are all stored electronically, meaning that you and your team can access documents online, no matter where you are, and even when someone is already looking at the same pages. If you find yourself burning the candle at both ends, which all of us do from time to time, wouldn’t it be easier to access the case files you need from the comfort of your own couch, without having to worry about someone else needing them at the same time?
A Look to the Future
The future of the legal profession is here, and it’s a heck of a lot more appealing than the past. According to an article on americanbar.org, today’s Robotic Process Automation tools offer “the chance to move the routine to the machines, freeing up lawyer time for creative and high-value tasks.” Doesn’t that sound like something worth investing in? We think so, too.
Want to see our platform with your own eyes? We’re happy to show you! Click here to sign up for a demo and to discuss how legal automation can help your office escape the burdens of archaic technologies.