Legal technology trends are always evolving. We’ve seen it with the recent burst in AI, and we can be certain future advancements will also rocket the industry. But one not-so-new technology opportunity that often gets short-shrift is automation.

Law firms can be resistant to a change like automation because it feels overwhelming to them. It’s a lot of work for what might feel like a minimal payoff. But is automation worth it? Absolutely. Here’s an undervalued reason why.

There’s More to the Story Than Speed

One of the key features automation champions tout is that it enables you to work faster. Yes, this is true. By automating routine tasks like client intake and invoicing, a task that used to take your paralegal 10 or 15 minutes now takes none. At first, it may not seem like much, but over time, mere minutes can amount to much more, especially as you automate more of your firm’s tasks.

What’s more, automation isn’t just about minutes. It’s about peace of mind. Your staff only has so much mental bandwidth. The act of having to remember to do a 5-minute task is probably more costly than the 5 minutes itself.

So there’s no denying that automating repetitive tasks is a clear way to boost productivity and thereby increase your firm’s billable hours, but there’s a second side to this story – and perhaps a much more compelling reason to automate…

Opportunity Costs and Automation

When you automate tasks in your law firm, you suddenly open the door for more impactful work to take place. Failing to do so is a lost opportunity cost – and one your firm shouldn’t afford. Automation enables your staff, especially your higher-level staff, to take on business that truly grows your firm because they are not wasting time with routine tasks.

When you look at the costs and benefits of implementing any tech change, be sure to also consider its opportunity costs. Change of any kind is hard, but when that change could yield significant earnings for your firm, there’s one thing for sure that shouldn’t be hard – and that’s the decision to automate.

Luke Kumanchik

Entrepreneur, programmer, backyard farmer & Dungeon Master Extraordinaire.