What is legal automation and How does it work?

Apr 26, 2024



Legal processes attract a lot of paperwork and which require high levels of attention to detail. When these documents are handled with little to no involvement of software, they become highly prone to errors. Moreover, legal firms charge clients based on the hour during which they provide their services. On the other hand, the non-billable part, such as generating and managing documents, despite consuming a significant portion of their time, remains unchargeable.

In this context, legal automation software reduces the turnaround time to generate legal documents with built-in templates, advanced conditions and API integration. In this article, we help you understand what legal automation is and why businesses are heavily investing in legal document automation solutions.

What is Legal Automation?

Legal professionals and law firms draft legal documents like contracts, agreements, and forms in large numbers. They use Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and PDFs to generate and maintain legal documents. 

But over time, this document generation process becomes challenging for everyone, be it law firms, knowledge workers, corporate legal departments, risk management services or financial services.

Legal automation is the process of using software services to automate the generation of legal documents using dynamic templates and gathering data from various sources to generate documents with ease and convenience.

Tools like Docupilot provide built-in templates for various legal use cases in addition to enabling legal professionals  to create custom templates to create contracts faster.

Advantages of Legal Document Automation

Here is how legal automation in document generation can benefit law firms and professionals.

Time-efficient Document Generation

Using legal automation software to draft legal documents, legal pros can save an hour per document. Whether in family law, corporate law, labor law, or any other legal sphere, a complete document automation solution provides key features like default templates, use cases, custom template builders, and cloud storage for document generation automation.

Understanding how document automation works and integrating these document automation solutions with data sources to automate data insertion can save hours of work. 

Consider a law firm that generates legal documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, as an example. Manually entering repetitive information which can take several hours per client. 

By using document automation tools like Docupilot, in conjunction with data sources from Google Docs, Airtable, and CSV files, the firm can set up a system where client data is entered once into a simple form. Docupilot then automatically populates this data across as you generate each document, reducing document creation time from several hours to a few seconds per client.

Enables Legal Professionals to Focus on Core Tasks

Crafting legal documents can often be stressful and time-consuming, especially when lawyers have to meet tight deadlines and produce multiple documents daily. By creating templates and generating bulk documents such as data forms, client intake forms, and invoices, lawyers can free up their time to focus on billable work and take on more clients. 

Serving More Clients at Ease

As your client base grows, legal workflow automation becomes crucial. Adopting a legal workflow automation solution helps you serve more clients efficiently and saves time on manual document drafting. 

This, in turn, allows you to focus on business development, increase your capacity to handle document generation, and boost billable hours and revenue generation.

Impression on Clients

Automating document generation creates an impressive first impression that can be sustained throughout the service cycle. The high-quality legal documents produced with quick turnaround times help elevate your brand image and lead to increased referrals and clients.

When is Legal Automation Sought?

As a business expands into new markets, the need for automated legal documents becomes increasingly important. This is where legal automation comes in. By automating legal processes, businesses can streamline their operations and ensure their legal documents are accurate and up-to-date.

Generating repetitive documents in bulk

As businesses scale, the need for repetitive document generation also increases. However, manually creating these documents is time-consuming and error-prone. 

A document automation solution helps streamline this process, allowing businesses to generate high volumes of documents quickly and with precision.

When Business is Scaling

Law firms looking to upscale should consider document automation to maximize productivity and cover new legal domains efficiently.

To Maintain Brand Consistency

Serving clients across a range of service lines requires consistency in branding each document. Automated legal documents are generated using pre-defined use cases and default templates to maintain consistent document quality. This preserves your brand image throughout a service cycle.

Types of Automated Legal Documents

Legal automation for document generation can be seen across domains like family law, civil law, employment law, labor law, estate planning, mortgage law, and business law. You can use legal automation software to create the following legal documents:

  1. Contracts: Documents with clauses that govern the relationship or business between two clients or a client and a law firm.
  2. Client intake forms: These are the initial paperwork that a client fills out after approaching a law firm. They include their contact information, demographics, business details, and required legal services.
  3. Court forms: Court forms are generated with spaces to be filled by parties for legal cases.
  4. Demand letters: A legal letter that depicts a dispute between two or more involved parties is called a demand letter.
  5. Wills: A will is a legal declaration of an owner’s intention to distribute his/her properties to chosen recipients.
  6. Trust: A legal document for distributing a person's assets to named beneficiaries is called a trust.
  7. Power of attorney: It is a legal document that gives a named person the power to act on behalf of the document's issuer.
  8. Probate petitions: This legal document begins the probate process of a person’s will after his/her demise for property distribution.
  9. Healthcare directives: This legal document is called a healthcare proxy. It allows someone to make medical decisions for those who cannot make them due to illness.
  10. Standard motions: It is a formal request obtained from a court to issue an order.
  11. Jury instructions: It is a list of guidelines a judge provides to a jury regarding the legal process to apply to a case.

Any legal document can be templatized and automated. As a user, you only need a skeleton document and must set the particulars according to requirements.

How to Automate Legal Document Generation using Docupilot?

Docupilot offers an online document editor for users to craft a dynamic template from scratch at ease. Docupilot also helps you insert content based on specific conditions enabling legal professionals to templatize their most-used documents. Here is a detailed breakdown of how you can use Docupilot to automate legal documents.

Steps To Create A Professional And Dynamic Template For Your Legal Contract:

Step 1: Create a Template

Create a template, new or from an existing document.

Here, a user can use an existing document to select the specific sections in Docupilot's online document editor.

Step 2: Insert Dynamic Fields

Then, you can insert dynamic fields using variables, conditionals, loops, and tables (if required) to create a legal contract template.

  • Variables: Variables are extract information from integrated sources like Google Sheets, client intake forms, or any linked data sources. Data such as client names, dates, gender, addresses, services, and clauses change automatically in every document generated from an integrated client database. For example, In a real estate law firm, the attorneys  can use variables in their templates, automatically fill names, dates, gender, etc.,  from a Google Sheet that contains all current tenant information. Whenever a new lease is initiated, the attorney simply selects the relevant tenant from the sheet, and the lease document is populated with all the necessary details without manual data entry.
  • Conditionals: Conditionals are statements that allow for the inclusion or exclusion of certain merge fields based on certain conditions. For instance, in a legal contract, the gender of the client can determine whether they are addressed as "Mr." or "Ms." For example, when drafting prenuptial agreements using conditionals in the document template can automatically include or exclude sections pertaining to prior marriages based on a simple yes/no field in the client intake form.
  • Loops: Loops are repetitive merge fields used in legal documents to create a template for repeating service clauses. For example, a corporate law firm that often creates service agreements that may deal with inserting multiple service clauses depending on the scope of the agreement with a client. For instance, a service contract might need to include different clauses for consultation, litigation support, and document review services. By using loops, the document automation software can insert each relevant service clause as many times as necessary based on the services agreed upon in the client intake. This ensures that every required service is accounted for in the contract without manually editing each time.
  • Tables: Dynamic tables can greatly enhance the functionality of a legal contract template by allowing for the easy insertion of data from integrated sources. For example, if a patent attorney needs to create detailed fee schedules for clients that list various patent application processes and the corresponding fees they can use dynamic tables. The table can pull data from an integrated database that includes up-to-date fee information for different services, such as filing fees, attorney fees, and governmental charges, thus providing clear, accurate billing information tailored to each client's specific needs.

Step 3: Output and Run Test

Select an output preference and create a test document by submitting sample data via the test form in order to ensure the accuracy of the new legal template.

Step 4: Create Bulk Documets

Lastly, connect your data sources  - Airtable, Google Docs, Clio (through Zapier)- or upload CSV files to pull data and auto populate them on the template.  Docupilot also integrates other 3rd-party apps in the following segments.

  • CRM: Freshsales, Saelsforce, Zoho CRM
  • Management: ProWorkflow
  • HR: BambooHR
  • Cloud database: Caspio, Knack, QuickBase, SmartSheet
  • Database: Podio
  • Process automation: Kissflow, Mailparser
  • Signing: Box, Docusign, Eversign, GetAccept, HelloSign, SignNow
  • Storage: Amazon S3, Dropbox, Egnyte
  • Forms: 123FormBuilder, Autopilot, Cognito Forms, Device Magic, FormDesk, etc
  • Payments: Braintree, Chargebee, Donately, Paymill, PayPal, etc

Step 5: Delivery

Choose delivery settings to automate sending legal contracts to specific clients. If you follow the Document automation blog, you will clearly understand how legal contract forms or Google Forms are filled by clients and used for document generation.

Bottom Line: Step into the Future with Legal Document Automation

Legal automation software simplifies creating new legal document templates and generating bulk documents without errors. It saves countless hours and streamlines business operations. Choose the best legal automation software that matches your requirements and takes your legal document generation to the next level.

Docupilot: The Best Legal Automation Tool for Document Generation

Docupilot is a comprehensive solution for automating legal document generation. Use our default templates or build a custom one with our online template builder in minutes. 

Docupilot provides a secure and reliable cloud-based legal document generation platform that utilizes top service providers like AWS. All data is encrypted in transit and at rest, with remarkable disaster recovery protocols, strict firewall rules, relentless monitoring, and controlled access for added security.

Our native Airtable extension, API support, Zapier and Make integrations enable you to connect with your custom or third-party apps for faster legal document generation.

Why wait? 

Sign up for a 30-day free trial period today!

Did you know?

According to a Thompson Reuters, respondents who use document automation for lease agreements (22%) report that they have time to Leverage workflows to develop new business models with clients and Win new clients with better business development.