IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Partner content
Story image

Innovating legal: Why now & how intelligent automation can help

By Contributor
Wed 19 Aug 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A wave of innovation is impacting every aspect of the legal profession, as the sector becomes more client-centred and future-focused. New client expectations, tech-savvy law graduates entering the workplace and greater access to automation and AI are reshaping the way modern legal services are designed and delivered.   

Some firms are signalling their commitment to innovation by creating new leadership roles, such as chief innovation officers, to shift organisational mindsets and service delivery models, and harness the potential of advanced technologies. By 2023, Gartner predicts that 33% of corporate legal departments will have a dedicated legal technology expert.

Here in Australia, the legal innovation scene is alive and kicking. Organisations are creating their own innovation practices and incubators. The LawTech Hub, for example, is a partnership between Lander & Rogers and YBF Ventures that provides startups with easy access to legal expertise, business experience and client networks. 

Government is also investing in legal innovation. To break down traditional barriers to legal services, for instance, the New South Wales Government has pledged $1 million over four years to the Access to Justice Innovation Fund. This offers grants of up to $250,000 for groundbreaking solutions to legal challenges. One grant will go towards designing and building a community legal centre (CLC) chatbot that uses AI to reduce bottlenecks and wait times by triaging enquiries and answering simple FAQs. According to Attorney General Mark Speakman, this will ensure that “straightforward legal issues such as traffic fines or rental bond queries are addressed quickly, leaving more time for Community Legal Centre staff to personally assist clients with more complex problems".     

Why now?

In an increasingly digital world, clients expect legal processes to be simplified. There’s huge pressure for law firms to be faster, more responsive and more cost-effective.   

In parallel, Australia’s legal industry has been deregulated, allowing tech-driven professional services firms to enter the market and provide bundle offers encompassing legal, accounting, administration and other services at a competitive fee. And this year, the pandemic has introduced new realities and challenges that have accelerated the adoption of technology. These include an urgent need for contactless customer services and work-from-home tools.   

These factors have resulted in a greater demand for innovation and a significant uptick in technology adoption

Automation as an enabler

For those who haven’t got their innovation plans off the ground yet, it’s possible to get going with readily available business technologies. These include robotic process automation (RPA), low-code digital process automation (DPA) and chatbots. These solutions can all be infused with AI capabilities such as machine learning and natural language processing when more advanced tools are required.   

Working individually or combined to create a foundation for intelligent automation, these technologies can support legal innovation on multiple levels. Benefits include facilitating the delivery of more accessible, responsive and seamless services – as well as more predictable prices – for clients.  

Beyond boosting efficiency and optimising costs, automating tedious work allows people to focus on what’s truly valuable to the firm. When they’re not mired in clerical work, lawyers can spend time on client relationship building, complex problem-solving and strategic planning.   

Where to begin 

Inefficient processes, whether these are client-facing or internal, are always a good place to start. Many legal workloads involve endless information processing and repetitive tasks that are perfectly suited to automation.

One area where automation often adds value is new matter intake. This can involve a cumbersome amount of manual work to interview, validate and triage each prospective client, make sure they don’t present any conflict-of-interest problems, gather and disseminate information, and so forth. Digitising data collection and automating key process components benefits both employees and clients.  

One example of an Australian firm that recently streamlined its client onboarding process is Shine Lawyers. Initially, this process relied on a time-draining Q&A conducted by the call centre, as well as many manual tasks. The firm engaged rapidMATION to build an intelligent process automation solution that integrated K2 DPA with UiPath’s RPA capabilities. This takes potential clients through a rule-based process to assess whether the case is viable, collect pertinent information and set up an appointment with the relevant lawyer. With this solution, Shine has been able to eliminate much of the manual work involved in client onboarding and offer a competitive customer experience. In the first 8 weeks after go-live, $290K worth of new cases were booked.   

Firms could also use intelligent automation to:

  • Triage legal requests – using intelligent chatbots to handle client interviews, answer simple FAQs, provide provisional guidance and advice, and escalate issues to the relevant legal professional.
  • Assemble documents – instantly generating personalised letters, contracts and other documents to save time and minimise human error. 
  • Simplify billing and payment collection – auto-tracking billable time, auto-drafting customer invoices and streamlining payment collection processes to save time and keep cash flow healthy. 
  • Build virtual assistants or digital paralegals – which can manage routine clerical tasks and allow legal professionals to focus on more complex or client-facing work. 

These are just a few of many use cases. Firms often find that once they begin the automation process and staff see the value of the technology, they contribute more process automation ideas and help to broaden the scope of innovation. 

How to scale 

As firms and their people become more comfortable with digital transformation, they can identify more processes to automate and add more advanced digital capabilities. The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report predicts that the rate of automation and the proportion of work that can be handled by a digital workforce will increase steadily over the next few years. In 2018, the division of labour (in terms of share of hours spent on processing) was 71% human vs. 29% machine. By 2025, this will flip around, with machines handling more process components (52%) than humans (48%).  

Of course, as machines’ potential share of work grows, firms must address concerns around the loss of human jobs. It’s absolutely critical to find the right balance between digital labour and human labour, and ensure all resources are integrating well. If tech-driven efficiency is prized above all else, clients may feel that service is impersonal and missing the mark; and frustrated employees could lead to firms struggling to attract and retain top legal talent.   

Importantly, technology is not just another word for innovation. Rather, it’s an enabler of new service delivery models that rely on a strategic combination of digital capabilities and human qualities such as professional judgement, empathy and creative thinking. Going forward, however, leaders may have to redesign traditional legal roles, hire new types of skillsets and ensure existing staff receive the training they need to make the most of the digital resources available to them.

In closing

Digital innovation through intelligent automation can support law firms in building a competitive advantage through efficiency and excellent client service. And beyond that, it can also drive much-needed transformation across the sector to improve the quality and accessibility of legal services.  

How can we help?

If you’re looking for an intelligent automation partner, rapidMATION can support your firm at any stage of the innovation cycle – from identifying opportunities to improve legal processes to choosing, developing, deploying and supporting technology. 

Get in touch.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
SOTI
Australian consumers loyal to retailers who deliver speed and visibility
SOTI finds extensive order visibility and speed are the most important factors for turning one-off customers into loyal, long-term buyers.
Story image
Digital
Ivanti puts spotlight on power of employee digital experiences
The report revealed that 49% of employees are frustrated by the tech and tools their organisation provides and 64% believe this impacts morale.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Migration
SNP unveils next generation of CrystalBridge software platform
Data is a key pillar of every customer-centric organisation, as it relies on agile decisions to become increasingly sustainable and intelligent.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Productivity
Discover the 5 ways your ERP may be letting you down. Is your current system outdated, difficult to manage, and costing you a fortune?
Link image
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS wins Microsoft ISV 2022 Partner of the Year award
"We formed the SAS and Microsoft strategic partnership with a shared goal of making it easier for customers to drive better decisions in the cloud."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Microsoft
ASI Solutions named finalist of Microsoft Surface Partner of the Year
"ASI Solutions has a strong Microsoft focus, building value by helping customers maximise investment in modern workplace solutions."
Digital Transformation
Discover the 5 signs your business is ready for a cloud-based ERP. Is your business being left behind as more of your competitors switch to the cloud?
Link image
Story image
Infrastructure
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Project management
Discover the 4 crucial factors for choosing the right job-costing solution. Is your team struggling to cost jobs and keep projects running on budget?
Link image
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
HPE GreenLake advances hybrid cloud experience with new services
"The innovations unveiled today further build on our vision to provide the market with an unmatched platform to spur innovation and drive transformation.”
Story image
Accounting
Four factors to consider when choosing the right job accounting solution
Progressive job-based businesses can achieve success by strengthening their ability to quantify every cost attributable to the delivery of an outcome for a customer.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Supply chain
Discover the 4 critical priorities for wholesale distribution businesses in FY23. Are you worried about how supply chain issues may affect your business in 2023?
Link image
Story image
Samsung
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Wiise
Four things wholesale distributors need to consider for FY2023
In a post-pandemic world, there are many things for a distribution business to juggle. ERP solutions company Wiise narrows down what companies should focus on.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Online shopping
Consumers want speed, visibility in return for brand loyalty
72% of Australian shoppers want complete online order visibility and 63% are loyal to retailers who deliver goods the fastest.
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Payroll
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Airwallex
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.
Story image
Manufacturing
Sutton Tools deploys Infor M3 CloudSuite for manufacturing
Sutton Tools has also implemented the Infor OS cloud operating platform, including Infor Intelligent Open Network and Mongoose.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
SAS acquires Kamakura to propel risk technology innovation
Underscoring SAS growth in the domain-specific solutions space, the acquisition will enable SAS to greatly enhance the breadth of its risk solutions portfolio. 
Story image
Voice recognition
Renesas and Cyberon expand services with voice recognition
“We are honoured to collaborate with Renesas to simplify the development of embedded voice recognition functions."
Story image
Metaverse
How the metaverse will change the future of the supply chain
The metaverse is set to significantly change the way we live and work, so what problems can it solve in supply chain management?
Story image
Hybrid workforce
How organisations can prepare for a post-pandemic workforce
The so-called 'new normal' office looks different to how it did pre-pandemic, and organisations need to take steps to better manage their post-pandemic workforce. 
Story image
Civil Defence
OutSystems platform chosen as part of ADF contract
"To be included in this project is a reflection of our ability to deliver secure, modern digital outcomes for defence at an incredible pace."
Story image
Robotics
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
Infrastructure
New VMware offerings improve cloud infrastructure management
VMware has unveiled VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring benefits of the cloud to existing on-prem infrastructure.
Story image
Data Protection
Five signs your business is ready to move to the cloud
Many organisations are thinking about moving to the cloud. But what are the signs you are ready, and what are the reasons to move?
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."