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How to identify your law firm’s area of work fit for document automation 

17-04-2022

Within a law firm, usual suspects for automation are documents in the areas of corporate housekeeping, employment, commercial agreements and data protection.  

However, each firm should carefully inspect its business to determine where document automation makes sense. Some of the key factors to be considered are: 

One needs a certain level of frequency in using particular documents to find their automation useful. Corporate and employment would usually satisfy the threshold. However, not every firm may be doing frequent data protection work. If the firm has felt the need to prepare standardized templates in Word to make the drafting of documents faster and more reliable, this is usually a good indicator that it may be useful for the firm to further enhance the process by automating those templates in a document automation software.  

Standardization and complexity of templates is another important factor. These are not mutually exclusive notions. A standardized template can be complex. Take a notification of concentration. In Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, merger notification thresholds are low and a lot of transactions need to be notified to the national competition authorities on a form prescribed by those authorities. The form itself is complex and requires the reporting of a lot of interconnected data. If the law firm files routine, non-issue, concentration notifications on a daily basis, it has a use case for automation of a standard long-form or standard short-form concentration notification.  

In contrast, very simple templates that require the entering of limited set of data can be easily filled-in manually in Word and their automation should not be a priority  

The above considerations are equally valid whether the firm automates documents to make its own drafting process nimble or in order to provide clients with direct access to its database of automated documents. However, since the latter is a new digital service with the potential to not only save the costs but create additional revenue, law firms should strategically prioritize automation in the legal practices where the drafting based on law firm’s templates can be done by the clients themselves.  

In conclusion, when it comes to business decisions regarding document automation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every law firm must determine its own business case, taking into account its size, the client demand, its practice focus etc. Draftomat tech and business development teams can provide full support to customers in the process of identifying the optimal approach to document automation.

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