Law firms, like other businesses, need to control costs and continually improve performance. It’s almost impossible to control business processes, costs and performance optimisation when these factors cannot be observed and measured.
We enable businesses to automate, implement and measure processes by leveraging the paper-based and electronic infrastructure that makes up a modern law firm.
Workflow automation involves intelligent routing and tracking of information based on predefined policies or ‘rules’.
As the work “flows” through the organisation, it collects data from various sources, which is then used to determine the subsequent routing. Participants in a process can be individuals or other applications, such as databases and spreadsheets that contain information, or office equipment such as single or multi-function printers and fax machines.
Examples of business workflow processes in a modern law firm include:
- Entering new clients and cases, including: running conflict of interest, routing reports, obtaining signatures, sending letters, updating accounting and other systems
- Submitting and tracking lawyers and other staff member’s time sheets
- Contract drafting, review and approval
- Managing filing deadlines
- Processing of time dependent documents
- Collaborative document drafting and control
- Closing a case – client satisfaction
- Performance reviews and budgeting
- Opening a case, from a lawyer and administrative perspective
Problems with Workflow, Before EDM
Typically, the steps in a process required the participants to review a file with forms and documents. After a participant completed the review and filled out the relevant sections of the form, the file containing the form and documents were manually routed to the person responsible for performing the next step. The participants were trained about the rules that dictate the routing or instructions were provided in the file folder itself. To track the status of the task, one had to go around and ask where it was. There was no easy means of finding tasks that were late or lost in the paperwork. And no one had any idea about the cost of the process. In short, the major problems with manual workflow are as follows:
- High dependence on paper
- Labour intensive
- Susceptible to tasks “falling through the cracks”
- No easy way of tracking status
- No means of measuring process time and cost statistics
Benefits of EDM
- It will reduce paperwork and paper processing
- By linking electronic forms to your database to create look-up tables, it will expedite the entry of information and reduce errors
- It will ensure that valuable business information collected by business processes is not lost
- The electronic forms perform all calculations and rules-based decisions automatically
- Business processes will be routed to the right individuals for approval and input based on your business rules
- It will ensure that tasks do not fall through the cracks
- It will keep track of and organise all the tasks of every participant in workflow processes
- If a task is late, a suitable reminder will be given
- Important reports and documents are automatically generated
- Dependence on clerical staff is reduced, allowing you to deliver more with existing resources
Click here to read a guest blog by Andrew West of Gotelee Solicitors on achieving the paperless law firm.