January 01, 2020

The Advantages of Automation

Experienced practitioners discuss their successful solutions for automating their practice.

Heidi Alexander

Automation can apply to nearly every aspect of your practice, saving time and expanding the scope of your services. In the July/August 2019 issue of Law Practice, I illustrated the benefits of automation through a fictional attorney named Joe Lawyer. Now I’ve brought together four lawyers who have experimented with automation in their practices for real world perspective about the advantages of automating your practice.

The lawyers.

Brooke Moore owns MyVirtual.Lawyer, a virtual law firm model providing flat fee and subscription-based limited scope legal services and MyVirtual.Lawyer for Attorneys, which assists other attorneys in implementing limited scope, virtual components into their firms, as well as providing coaching, consulting, and technology strategy and implementation assistance.

Dina Eisenberg owns OutsourceEasier.com and LawFirmOmbuds.com. Her mission is to help women lawyers become more intentional in how they build their law practice and improve their leadership and management skills. She consults with law firms on organizational development and conflict management and serves as an external ombudsman.

Erin Gerstenzang leads a boutique practice in Atlanta that serves hemp and medical marijuana businesses, as well as individuals facing criminal drug or alcohol-related charges. She also runs the EHG Law Firm Collective, where she leads a collaborative mentorship-focused criminal defense group that helps women develop legal, technology and business skills that accelerate solo law firm growth and success.

Kim Bennett owns a coaching practice in Atlanta. She empowers women entrepreneurs, especially women of color, to disrupt the legal industry by teaching them how to create a stable, sustainable and scalable stream of income through subscription services. Bennett’s vision is simple—it’s time for men to take a back seat and watch women, especially women of color, lead the law. 

What benefits do you think can be derived by automating a law practice?

Moore: Automating your law practice can drastically improve your firm (and life). We don’t take the human element out of our practices, but we spend less time on menial tasks and more time on things that require our skills and expertise.

Automation will help improve efficiency, increase attorney satisfaction and enhance the client experience. With increased efficiency you can meet clients where they need you and improve communication, transparency and offer pricing predictability.

Utilizing technology helps reduce human error and significantly decreases the overhead costs of staffing and other fees associated with a conventional law office. Automation levels the playing field and affords solo and small firm attorneys the ability to stay competitive on a smaller budget. But the best part of implementing automation is that automation allows me to spend my time on revenue-producing activities to grow my business, rather than working on the tedious tasks inside my law firm.

Eisenberg: One benefit lawyers may not fully appreciate is how automation organizes your law practice. The process of preparing to automate enables you to see any gaps or update as needed. You regain time due to automation, and your practice becomes more efficient.

Gerstenzang: The benefits I enjoy from automation are efficiency, consistency and reduced overhead. When I started my practice five years ago, I had no desire to incur the additional expense of hiring help. I was working at a law firm where I was supported by a small army of administrative staff, all very busy managing files and helping clients. To provide the same level of care to my clients, I needed to explore technology as an alternative. Initially, I was nervous that technology solutions would fall short of human-driven processes but quickly realized that my clients loved the convenience of online scheduling, electronic fee agreements and intake forms. I was surprised that these tools delivered a competitive advantage in addition to eliminating rote and tedious daily tasks.

Bennett: Automating your practice allows you to unlock the freedom and power of business ownership. Once you embrace automation, you can truly work in your zone of genius and create a larger impact for your clients, yourself and your community.

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