The process of Automation describes a wide range of technologies which aim at minimising human intervention in processes. Human intervention is reduced by predetermining decision criteria, subprocess relationships, and related actions. Automation can find use in most fields of work. But here, we are going to discuss the potential of automation in legal sector.
Irrespective of their size, legal firms have to deal with large volume of repetitive, routine tasks. They are required to complete these tasks, due to the requirements of due diligence, when it is proven that the time this requires, can be better spent on engaging with new clients. Automation and digital transformation have potential in bringing ease to such processes.
A report from 2020 states, more than 63% of tasks handled by legal teams are repetitive, rule-based and doesn’t often require interpretation or judgement. Hence, these tasks can easily be automated. The process of Robotic Process Automation can help in reclaiming 30% to 40% of a firm’s working hour. RPA will allow legal teams to focus on difficult problems, improve human contact with clients, as a result, improving the firm’s capacity and quality of service.
In general, RPA involves the creation of software robots, which complete simple tasks in the same way employees would, only much faster and efficiently. Bots can receive and send emails, collect data from forms or scanned documents. It can even log into applications, prepare reports and perform much more work. RPA is a perfect solution for organisation where employees are more prone to waste their time on dull work. In the case of the legal sector, RPA can help in processing data from various documents. For example, a bot can read a scanned contract and extract the parties’ data. With the use of machine learning (ML) and OCR, they could handle larger fragments of text. RPA truly has incredible potential when it comes to sorting, finding or processing data.
Let us take a look at a few RPA use cases in the legal sector.
Confirming Legal Compliance
Keeping up with compliance and regulation is critical for law firms to avoid sanctions or fines. Therefore, software robots may assist them in adhering to the rules and regulations. With automation technology, law firms can receive check reports in real-time and efficiently track any suspicious activity. Software robots can even automatically fill in the required data in the transaction record.
Effective Communication between Fee Earner and Client
Software robots can significantly improve communication between clients and legal service providers. They can seamlessly organize one’s critical documents and store them in a centralized location where clients can also access them. Even during case preparation, RPA can assist one in locating various documents sent by the client.
Evaluating the Financial Risk
Modern robotics automation technology can monitor and mitigate risks without human intervention. The robots could more efficiently organize vital data related to clients, companies, and even accounting databases. Automation technology can also help in assisting law firms in synchronizing cases with calendars, which is helpful in case feasibility.
Even though RPA has massive potential, it raises the question, whether it is safe to use or not?
Data processing and administration is a complex field, especially when it is compiled with regulations such as the GDPR or the US Act. Such regulations bind legal professionals to professional secrecy. But then, is it acceptable to give digital robots access to client data?
The answer is a simple yes. Well-constructed RPA solution allows user or firm, to use encryption and other technological solutions that ensure security. In most cases, bots do not store sensitive data. Moreover, each bot leaves a trail of its activity in the system logs, making it easy to check what steps it performed and hence, locate potential problems. Finally, it can be stated that, RPA offers the option of real time process monitoring, and even sends notifications the moment it detects any unusual activity.
It is imperative that we note, that most data leaks do not occur because of lack of security solutions, but due to human error. An employee may lose his/her access card, leave their computer in a cafe, use a simplistic password, or trust the wrong person. Robotic Process Automation is 100% resistant to human error and to bad decisions, simply, because it doesn’t make any. Robots only perform functions they are meant to, no more or less.
Considering the above-mentioned statements, one should not encounter the fact that robots will replace lawyers. It should be kept in mind the software robots which make up RPA solutions, work on the basis of strict rules. They require human input in many situations, such as, during any procedure change, or while dealing with an exception from the rule. All in all, human contact is required.
RPA and human labour works hand in hand. It is a tool with immense potential. When used correctly, it can be of extreme help, but still, it cannot perform all actions. It requires human interaction at one stage or other. Humans, as performers, cannot spot a trend in hundreds of pages of legal documents. While robots can understand it, recognise it, they cannot understand the consequences of these trends. That is why, competences of legal professionals and software robots complement each other well.
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