Three Tips for Incorporating Legal Document Automation in Services

the importance of the word

The legal profession is characterized by giving certainty to clients, either by interpretation of the regulations or by the results in similar cases, we give legal advice or carry out a legal commission based on word or language, often in writing.

The myriad types of legal documents and situations for which they are used are immense and span the globe. From strictly private to public documents, legal issues are materialized in writing. For this reason, document automation is one of the crucial digitization strategies of every law firm. And it is important to emphasize this, because, together with the records management databases and document management systems, once the latter have already been adopted and accepted in the office, processes to improve efficiency based on the existence of these data sources and standardization of services, one of the most important, the automation of models. 

A matter of business

Document automation will become in the next few years not an element of competitiveness but a minimum element to stay in business. Although the technology behind document automation itself is not disruptive, it does have disruptive effects on the traditional way of working of the lawyer.

With the incorporation of document automation, the lawyer does not approach a document from scratch, rather, he achieves a draft of the writing that is very close to a final document, without having to make the efforts that it takes to adapt a writing model to the specific document in a word processor. The efficiency derived from document automation can result in an increase in attorney productivity of between 50% and 80%. This means that the professional needs less time to obtain their product, time that they can dedicate to other clients or improve the service. This effect means that legal services in which document automation is introduced and that consist primarily of the creation of a document allow an increasingly lower marginal cost per client and, therefore, that the scalability of the business is improved. Likewise, the legal service becomes a digitized service and, therefore, with great potential for growth on demand.

Therefore, the second advice is to assess from the first moment that the ability to standardize and model documents has implications for automation, as well as the benefits for the business derived from it (make orders in less time, reduce fees , accept more customers or improve the service to current ones, etc.)

Training and experimentation

Although document automation may be easy to understand as a concept, it is not so in terms of its implementation. In this sense, law firms must ask themselves if they want their lawyers to be trained in document automation or require new profiles (external or internal) already prepared for the challenge. The point is that, as far as I know, no Faculty of Law trains in document automation at the University, so lawyers have to make an effort to learn these new capabilities from scratch once they are already in practice. The most ideal for an automation project is that the people who carry it out have legal training and technical programming knowledge or be technicians with related training in the legal world. In this case, as with conventional programmers, experience in programming legal documents is an important element because while, for example, a junior can automate a document in 10 hours and making more mistakes, the senior profile , I could do it in one and with a better planning approach. Therefore, it is important to take into account that the training and creation of specific profiles for these functions are decisive for the success or failure of the project.

Finally, I want to indicate that a change of mentality is needed for projects such as document automation to have a true impact on organizations. As lawyers, accustomed to giving certainty, we have to live at the business level in a constant experimental mode derived from the incorporation of information technologies. This means that some document automation projects may have a great organizational depth and others are more limited in their effects, however, the result is as important as the Explore that professionals win in these "attempts". We must learn and give ourselves the freedom to make mistakes and experiment with technological solutions since, in this field, there is not only a valid solution, but one that you build based on effort and constant adaptation to the digital market.

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Ana Burbano
Specialist in Legal Tech, blockchain and digital transformation of legal services. He currently works as a Legal Engineer at the Cuatrecasas law firm and is doing a doctorate at the Autonomous University of Madrid related to the impact of the incorporation of new technologies in societies. Among her training, it is worth highlighting that she has a degree in Political and Administration Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid, a Law degree from the Complutense University of Madrid, a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship & Startups from the Garrigues Studies Center, a Master's degree in Ethereum, Blockchain Technology and Crypto-Economics from the University of Alcalá and Master's Degree in International Relations and African Studies from the Autonomous University of Madrid.

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