Automation is just a fancy word

When clients call us to discuss automation, they don’t use the word automation. They ask about what a cloud solution for case management can do for them. Can they make scheduling less painful? Can a low retainer trigger a new invoice? They want to know how to make the thousands of little things go away, so they can focus on doing work that matters.

Automation is exciting

That’s exciting. Automation is the way forward. And, since we happen to like our clients and want them to have successful law firms for a very long time, we want to talk about automation.

Automation is overwhelming

But, what we’ve found is that a lot of times these conversations don’t excite clients. Instead, the client feels overwhelmed. They have practical concerns. These solutions are complex and highly integrated, and the client has a busy practice. They want to know how long will it take to configure and train staff, and how the transition will impact existing cases.

Is automation worth it?

These are great questions. And, usually, when those questions are answered, the client decides that the costs far outweigh the benefits.

Why clients walk away from automation

Minimal savings

That makes sense, because scheduling and sending invoices a little faster doesn’t impact your law firm a great deal. In most firms, these tasks have been assigned to admin assistants. Unless you’re a large firm, there isn’t enough volume to see a real cost savings.

Opportunity costs

But, there’s another reason. It has to do with something we said earlier. Automation makes sense when it allows you to focus on work that matters. When scheduling or invoices are automated, the admin assistant, generally, doesn’t have the opportunity to do more impactful work. When tasks previously done by a lawyer, office manager, or a paralegal are automated, these staff instead do work that grow the firm, its prestige, and bottom line. There is a relatively high ceiling for those positions that an admin assistant doesn’t have.

What to automate in your law firm

So, what should you automate in your law firm? First, those tasks that can increase your earnings. Second, tasks that save money. First, focus on tasks assigned to staff with the greatest ability to impact the success of the firm. Second, once you’re sufficiently large, tasks that shrink your footprint will result in large savings.

Categories: Strategy

Luke Kumanchik

Entrepreneur, programmer, backyard farmer & Dungeon Master Extraordinaire.