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RPA comes to the legal industry


Manish Malpani

September 29, 2020

Seyfarth Shaw LLC, a London, and Chicago based Law Firm, deployed Robotic Process Automation to the firm in 2017. The objective behind the adoption of RPA was to free its lawyers from some of the more mundane legal tasks so they can focus on helping their clients solve the most complex business issues.

Law is one of the most established professions, but due to several cultural, competitive, and economic reasons, law firms have primarily abstained from adopting technological changes. However, the industry is now taking steps to catch up, and Seyfarth was among the pioneers to embrace automation.

Challenges like increased pressure to provide quick services at a lower cost to customers and adherence to compliance has pushed law firms to adopt automation to simplify redundant and complex tasks. A study by Gartner also predicts that “lawbots” will handle a quarter of internal legal requests by 2023, thus saving billable hours and boosting efficiency. Legal robots will be the perfect match for legal departments, given that 63% of in-house legal work is repeatable.  By taking over fact-based decisions that need no human judgment or interpretation, RPA frees up legal advisors to spend time with clients – creating more billable hours and enabling law firms to become more competitive.

RPA Use Cases for the Legal Industry: Many RPA applications help comb the most common problems of the legal industry, reduce business risk, and improve legal productivity.

Legal Chatbots referred to as Robotterny: Legal inquiry chatbots that respond to common queries over email or internal chat tools and provide answers in real-time

 Billing: Automate online payment in accordance with applicable fee regulation and the audience

Patent: Automate validation of patent filing types and incomplete/invalid incoming applications

Workflow: Complete automation of email management, data storage, and productivity systems

Operations: Highly streamlined conflict checking with advanced processing capabilities, conveyance correspondences with lower costs and efficiency

Upgrade: Minimal infrastructure changes focussed at process yields and productivity

Compliance: Auto-update records for compliance and compliance reporting, automate the identification of agreements that require legal review, accept or reject changes on standard templates and common clauses

Conflict of Interest: automate conflict of interest disclosure and verification within an internal, searchable database, and reduce the time needed to identify conflicts from weeks to minutes. 

What does the future hold for the legal sector?

For a sector like Legal, adopting an ‘automation first’ mindset will positively impact the way the legal industry works. The use of software robots for automating daily processes and freeing humans up for more creative, strategic tasks is destined to make a huge difference that will ultimately result in legal success – and change the way the legal sector works forever.

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