Automating repetitive, menial tasks in the law firm

Automating repetitive, menial tasks in the law firm
23 Aug 2021

The future of work is here

When someone brings up the topic automation (jobs, tasks or otherwise), the images that come to mind are of Robin William’s in “Bicentennial Man”, a robot designed to make the lives of his humans easier, a household appliance for lack of a better description.

Andrew the Android is brought into the home of the Martin family to perform menial housekeeping and maintenance duties to free up the time of his humans to perform other, more meaningful tasks like playing chess. But he began to show characteristics of creativity, curiosity and friendship – all human characteristics.

Has anything really changed?

The automation of menial work is becoming more and more accepted and expected. It often involves using technology to automate repetitive, manual processes in order to streamline and systemise workflow, keeping track of each part of a process resulting in an increase to overall productivity.

The very purpose of automation is to free people up to concentrate on more knowledge-based, specialist tasks, where they can use their skills in a strategic way to outperform competitors. Having a practice that enables attorneys to work from anywhere at any time and almost from any device is not only crucial nowadays but is the accepted norm. Automating repetitive, menial, labour intensive tasks with, for example AJS FLOW, is the way of the future. The discussion should really be about convincing employees that doing so is better for them as well as for their companies.

Job automation is for the better

According to Workplace Automation is Everywhere, and It’s Not Just About Robots, Adam Uzialko agrees that automation is present in almost every single modern day business and includes subtle features in common software applications to more obvious implementation, like self-driving vehicles.

He says, “Every business process, such as human resource management and customer service departments, is on the table for automation, especially as technology becomes more sophisticated. No matter what the outcome, automation will undoubtedly change the workplace and, indeed, the wider economy.”

Turning to the impact job and task automation will have on employees, it is important to note that automation does not only make employees better at their jobs, changing the landscape of business and the economy, but it can also improve their overall job satisfaction too.

According to the article Why Automation Can Actually Improve Employee Engagement, Susan Leonard states that automating repetitive tasks can free up employees so that they can focus on more business-critical work. This, in turn, can lead to improved employee satisfaction and engagement in the organisation.

But the above article goes on to state, “Over 40% of employees spend at least one-fourth of their time handling manual and repetitive tasks. With the help of automation, organizations have the power to streamline tasks, remove any bottlenecks, decrease the room for human error, and free up more time of their employees, which they can use to focus on more valuable work.

By implementing automation for tasks like approvals and data entry, companies can improve employee satisfaction. In fact, 89% of employees believe that automation has made them more efficient at work.

As a result, most organizations are now incorporating digital workplaces that provide workflow automation and seamless collaboration tools to help employees manage their work and communicate naturally.

Over 59% of employees state that the technology used in the workplace is very important to them when they are considering to switch jobs and work for a new company. On the other hand, almost half of the millennials agree that outdated technologies and rigid work environments hold them back from reaching their full potential”.

The fact that employees consider the use of technology in the workplace an important enough guideline to gauge which companies they wish to work for shows that task and job automation (and the technology used therefore) are now not only accepted but even more so expected.

To further illustrate how automation can make employees better at their jobs, Susan Leonard has this to say, “What automation can do is help reduce the overall workload of employees and give them more time to focus on complex and creative tasks.

For instance, if you are an HR manager, then you can automate a large part of your everyday work tasks, including–filtering candidates, sending follow up emails, sending performance evaluation forms to employees, and handling leave management.

By automating these mundane tasks, HR managers have more time to focus on tasks like building relationships with potential candidates, managing employee concerns, organizing training and upskilling programs, and improving employee engagement. Some of the immediate benefits of introducing automation in the organization can include higher employee productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and faster time to market.

Knowledge workers, on average, spend over 10 hours per week performing manual and repetitive tasks that could have easily been automated. That is over 65 days of time lost per employee.

It is clear that automation is not an option for organizations, it is a necessity if they want to maintain optimum employee engagement.”

And we could not agree more

In fact, we believe that legal tech provides the essential tools desperately needed by legal professionals in their pursuit to further their own technological innovation in order to ensure that they are working optimally.  And we have the products to suit this very purpose.

An increasing number of practice management software suites are available that provide quality service offerings to minimise routine (and repetitive) labour intensive tasks. Integrated workflow automation systems found in our AJS Pro and AJS Enterprise editions as well as our highly customisable, standalone AJS FLOW solution make it easier to automate repetitive processes and increase output by improving control and ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. They are perfect for any process that has a defined set of steps or stages, thereby allowing lawyers to focus on the work they need to do.

These products are designed to make your legal practice more efficient and enable your staff to take on much more profitable and meaningful work.

AJS Enterprise is a comprehensive legal and professional accounting software package serving mid-size, large and major international firms with an impressive integrated process automation, user task and notification tool.

AJS Pro is a web-based, flexible full-featured accounting and practice management system geared towards mid-size firms, that also includes an impressive integrated process automation, user task and notification tool.

Xpressdox is an advanced document automation and publishing system.

Your technological innovation and automation of labour-intensive tasks starts here.

Remember, the clients of tomorrow and employees of today will demand that law firms are technologically advanced.

Do your employees understand what this means?

It is crucial that employees know exactly what automation means and why it can be beneficial both to them and to the company as a whole – preventing the fear that robots will not only take over the world but will take their jobs as well.

In an article titled The future of work is here. Standards need to keep up one of the big “reality checks” that has arisen from returning to a changed landscape of work where there is a possibility of a Hybrid work environment is the fact that companies have an opportunity to reset what they do and how they do it.

There are a series of new work and social realities that are shaping this dialogue. And part of this change is the need for employee wellbeing, which of course includes the optimising of certain critical, yet repetitive work tasks by automating them in order to be more productive, whilst at the same time increasing productivity.

“A pivotal change in mindset is healthy living as an expectation of work outcome. This is critical given the majority (71%) are planning a hybrid work model in the future (Mercer’s latest poll) and nearly 10% do not plan to go back to the office. Maximizing productivity and flexibility in a blended work environment requires an examination of how work gets done”.

And how work gets done is important.

Employees will expect to be assisted with menial tasks that take away from the more demanding skills that they were employed for – freeing up their time to focus on job satisfaction.

Automating certain labour intensive tasks will not only increase how well a company does and how much it can get done, but it will also add to the promotion of employee wellbeing by ensuring that employees are able to upskill and focus their attention on the work they were not only employed to do, but want to do.

Ensure your employees’ wellbeing

Successfully integrating automation into normal day-to-day work life starts with a comprehensive effort to educate employees about what automation is, what it isn’t and what it means for them – reassuring them that their jobs and positions are safe.

Automation is the future of work

It has become a necessity for organisations wanting to not only stay relevant but also for those that want to get ahead in their respective industries. And the legal profession is no different.

But simply automating tasks is not the goal. Rather, companies must ensure that they carefully analyse their business practice processes to recognise the parts that can be easily automated to improve employee satisfaction and engagement as well as encouraging efficiency, convenience and profitability.

And this is where AJS can help you.

Get in touch with us today and let’s see how we can help automate your system, in a way that ensures the necessary tasks within your practice are automated, leaving your employees free to do what they do best.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Alicia Koch
Alicia Koch

Alicia Koch is an admitted attorney with over 10 years PQE. She has worked in law firms, has had her own legal consulting company and has been an in-house legal... Read more about Alicia Koch


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