Three steps to building an effective workflow in the legal department
For today’s attorney, legal automation is playing an increasingly important role. According to the International Legal Technology Association’s 2019 Technology Survey, automation was among the top three technologies that respondents said would be a “major driver of the legal tech profession” going forward.
The importance of automation – especially document automation – should come as no surprise. At a time when time and money must be saved, automation offers a number of advantages. This includes reducing the time it takes to complete a wide variety of legal tasks.
Just having access to automation doesn’t mean a lawyer will make the most of it, however. For attorneys planning to create a custom workflow or those who are already using automation software, there are three things to keep in mind.
As you customize your workflow, make sure you have everything you need
When creating a custom workflow, it is important to take a step back and create a blueprint for what you want to achieve. While you don’t need to be a coding expert to create a workflow (anyone can!), Make sure you cover all of your basics.
For example, let’s say you are tired of writing the same business formation agreement over and over again. Then you want to create a custom workflow that automates the entire contract process. First, identify all of the variables that you want to include in a contract. Then determine what elements are included in virtually every contract and find out what is important and what is not. Ultimately, all of this data is entered into the template so that the automation process can begin.
Remember, if you leave out just one key variable, you can create a contract that is fundamentally flawed. The same goes for any custom workflow. Before you jump in to create it; Identify each component that needs to be included.
Collaborate with your team
Whenever you are creating a custom workflow, it is always a good idea to consult with your coworkers as well. Be aware of their inputs as they may identify components to include in your custom workflow. When creating an agreement for your company, it goes a long way to gaining insights from everyone involved in the end-to-end contracting process.
Although the legal department knows how to like to write contracts, they should also reach out to other departments that handle contracts. For example, it means asking compliance or HR what they think should go into the workflow. By creating greater brain confidence in this way, you can create a more complete and robust workflow that includes all of the necessary components required by the various stakeholders.
Make your workflow easy to use
Finally, make sure your custom workflow is easy to understand for everyone involved. When you create a client system, make sure it is simple and straightforward. You don’t want the end result (e.g. an automated contract) to be filled with incorrect information. When designing questions on a template that asks a customer to provide information, take the time to make the questions as clear as possible. This means leaving out jargon and legalese to remove ambiguity.
Also create a workflow that doesn’t require a lot of technical know-how. After all, anyone who needs to use the workflow should be able to do it with ease.
Ultimately, a customized workflow can be a big plus for lawyers and their organization. It can streamline operations overall. You can save this time and reduce costs at the same time. To make a workflow as effective as possible, keep these steps in mind as you begin your own process.