Robotic Process Automation has been finding significant relevance in all fields, sectors, and enterprises. Every business wants to automate its processes to achieve productivity, efficiency, and quality customer experience.
Law firms have bought into the idea, and RPA is presently being implemented to simplify work processes in the legal business. Any large law firm that requires extensive documentation, as well as data authentication, will find RPA useful. Law firms need to stay in the loop of corporate board meetings, company incorporation, secretarial issues, investors’ work, and without a doubt, these processes require a lot of documentation.
Some other processes in law firms such as corporate cases, audits, acquisitions, and merging of enterprises demand validation of data. Not only that, but research and study of related cases also put the responsibility on the legal practitioners to validate data.
According to McKinsey’s Global Institute, it is possible to partially or fully automate 56% of financial planning and evaluation processes, as well as 20% of risk management workflow.
Risk reconciliation performed by robots is a notable example. It requires no human intervention. RPA is flexible as it is capable of retrieving and sorting historical case-cost details into the firm’s database. Not only that, but it can also manage the credit ratings of clients sourced from the transaction database, as well as accounts payable from the accounting department of the same firm.
This saves the legal aides and bookkeepers of digging around for data sources; RPA can discover, collate, and appropriate data into the relevant risk registers. Financial controllers and legal partners can spend quality time on risk assessment at the transaction and client levels. This helps the law firm to be independent, and save the resources (time and costs) in contacting professionals.
RPA can assist in identifying the opportunity cost of committing to a case. It absorbs the parameters of the case to provide the required duration for completing the case. If it is worth your time, you can take it.
It is possible also to leverage the scheduling programs of the firm to authorize RPA to allocate hours into the case schedule. This is expedient for fixed recoverable expenses, as it is a significant determinant to know if a case should be profiled ‘fast-track,’ ‘intermediate-track,’ etc.
As long as there are rules established for the robots, it can prepare and organize the data, and then make it ready for human or AI estimation. It helps the firm to stay within budget.
RPA can quickly generate the risk profile of the client. It works with existing e-discovery, document management, law practice management software, or imported public databases.
For instance, it can fill the risk assessment forms. Recoverable information may incorporate the client’s product and services, business operation location, and the length of time of the relationship between the two parties(the client and the firm). After collecting the data, RPA can establish a micro-database having legally held all documents and collect all pieces of information in a single organized file. It then runs the reports, verifies for completeness, and subsequently sort it. The output is a cohesive client profile.
The automated bots can help in gathering in all the data about the client; it’s much more systematic to maintain every piece of information about the client’s products and services in a single file structure. This makes the subsequent works much simpler as everything’s in a single/central database. The complete, exhaustive client profile is available as and when needed. This also helps in reducing administrative costs significantly.
Do you know the amount of time a team of paralegals would have spent to finalize this process? RPA can complete it in a couple of hours. Manual processes could be a liability if the staff is already overburdened with a heavy caseload. RPA can produce an average of 10-15% reduction in the cost of managing a law firm.
A verified client can go rogue. Updating compliance checklists before or after a case secures the law firm against fines and sanctions. RPA can carry out due-diligence verifications at intervals and flag suspicious transactions with 100% accuracy and 24/7 vigilance.
The software robots are capable of filling the Suspicious Activity Report, then ping it after completion. By crawling the records of the law firm, RPA can input data needed in the transaction, as well as the subject details.
Data management is a big challenge for large law firms; we are talking about terabytes of data here. Law professionals and practitioners need to go through these databases to build a strong case. You need to store, retrieve, and manipulate the information as efficiently as possible.
RPA primarily organizes the client’s requirement and business to guarantee consistency across diverse formats and frameworks. RPA is capable of moving the right documents from the document management database of a law firm to an extranet that can be accessed anytime by a client.
There is no shortage of such e-discovery software. There are 2 principle problems though. First, most of them very pricey which makes it impossible for smaller organizations to use extensively. And second, it is not really automatic. Most of the grunt work still needs to be taken care of by the law clerks which defeats our main purpose in the first place.
While preparing the case, robotic process automation can arrange and find different documents sent by a client and prepare them for filing and disclosure. It is also capable of capturing unstructured information in papers and notes and provide the required data in a structured format.
Most importantly, RPA is user-friendly. The fee earner requires no technical background to design a robot. By leveraging the Graphical User Interface, RPA can be instructed to function across different applications, legal software, and others.
It can be provided with instructions via a user-designed visual flowchart, or follow screen captures in a given application to comprehend the job description. The exciting thing is the software robot can retain this data and repeat the process subsequently.
Handling fee overrun is a big concern for law firms. It goes without saying that fee earners need to be extra careful while calculating their fees. The practitioner (or the firm) runs the risk of seriously hurting their image each time they take a new project.
A fee earner rarely factors in the time required to finalize on a case or the resources utilized in the court. Fee overruns cause disagreement, and also open up length expense disputes and related matters.
Moreover, a fee disagreement can start a neverending feud, and open up cost disputes. That being said, fee earners like the law firms need to live with this. RPA is one of the potential solutions to the issue.
RPA ensures transactions are completed on time. It bridges the communication gap that may exist between the client and the firm. RPA ensures that task finalization is done as swiftly as possible. Clients might even want to bring in their own records systems. Moreover, at-scale deployment makes RPA an excellent tool for handling these tasks.
Delays in sending important instructions and documents on the side of the client can put an additional burden on the fee earner. RPA can be employed at large to assist in relieving this burden during a peak period of activities. This makes RPA essential during the period where case acceleration is required.
It is important to note that a claimant would receive fewer funds in fixed recoverable costs. This is usually common in case a judge perceives that the claimed charges are disproportionate to the basis of the case. Complaints will start coming once the margin between the recoverable and the eventual charges of the client begins to widen.
It is now the norm for corporate clients to employ task-based bill estimation having experienced frustration with the block-billing.
If you are battling with a task-based bill estimation, robotic process automation can implement frequent file audits every month thematically.
RPA can log the audit trails to track the listed activities of a fee earner inside the time management framework, then refer to them during compliance issues or billing disputes. It can incorporate task-based codes appropriately or capture useful data to forecast burn rates. RPA can also implement J-codes to establish the new Bill of Costs. Forthwith, the procedure would require less time for review and minimal human inputs.
Despite contradicting client-litigator plans and tight deadlines, a judge would deny any of the parties to review an approved budget even in a situation where an error was detected. The only exception is if a notable change had occurred during the litigation. Leveraging a technology that does not take a break and function at a 100% accuracy can hasten the process and provide more time to review the process.
It is recommended that law firms buy into the ongoing technological revolution by leveraging RPA. Don’t be discouraged by the input needed to implement, instead approach the implementation from an individual-centered perspective.
Also, educate your workers about RPA and its capabilities and let them know that robots can collaborate with the team to achieve the organization’s corporate objectives. You can begin with a pilot test so the employees can internalize the use cases and the benefits of the RPA assistance. Then, develop a roadmap in collaboration with your workforce on your technological journey.