Tech Tips, 0220 WYBJ, Vol. 43 No. 1. 36

AuthorBlake A. Klinkner Washburn University School of Law Topeka, Kansas.
PositionVol. 43 1 Pg. 36

Tech Tips

Vol. 43 No. 1 Pg. 36

Wyoming Bar Journal

February, 2020

Law Firm Automation

Blake A. Klinkner Washburn University School of Law Topeka, Kansas.

Solo and small firm attorneys are often in the best position to benefit from automation due to their limited staff and other resources, yet these types of law firms have generally been slow in considering and adopting office automation. "Automation" refers to the process of applying technology to perform or otherwise simplify routine tasks which would otherwise have to be performed by firm personnel. An ever-increasing assortment of technologies is available to solo and small firm attorneys which may help automate their practices in the following core areas.

Client Intake

Client intake is a process that may be improved by automation. Law firm websites may have an online questionnaire imbedded, which prospective clients may fill in with their basic personal information. The questionnaire may have check boxes or step-by-step prompts regarding practice areas which may be used by the firm to pre-screen cases. If a firm has predetermined that it will strictly decline cases based upon certain prompts (such as practice area or geographical limitations), then the automated website may provide an instantaneous notice to the prospective client that the firm is unable to take his case.

Additional intake automation may be enabled for new clients who have passed an initial screen and who have been requested by the law firm to provide further information. Questionnaires can be prepopulated with particular questions specific to a certain practice area, which will allow the law firm to be on point in the additional information sought while minimizing the need to replicate question sets from scratch. Questionnaires that allow new clients to login and update their profiles on their own time will improve the intake process by allowing clients to provide this information when it is most convenient to them; this will also improve the accuracy of client-submitted information by providing clients with an opportunity to gather all relevant information and double-check its accuracy before submitting to the law firm. Automation can also prompt clients to upload copies of relevant documents at the time information is submitted to the firm, which can help obviate the common occurrence of clients forgetting to bring documents with them when they meet...

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