Holo-confercing, hiring iGen lawyers, and statutes written in code...are you ready for a glimpse into the future of the legal profession? Automio's Customer Success Manager, Olivia Wensley, shares her vision on how law firms may look in just ten years' time.
When the word “lawyer” springs to mind, it is often not associated with innovation and technology. Automio's Customer Success Manager, Olivia Wensley, looks into why lawyers have such an irrational fear when it comes to new technology.
Automio's Customer Success Manager, Olivia Wensley, bravely writes about her experiences with sexual harassment in law firms. Confronting and raw - it's a must read.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a lawyer. Never before have lawyers had so many opportunities to be innovative, successful and happy. Yet many lawyers are not seizing these fabulous opportunities. Why? Because lawyers are afraid to be bold and take massive action when the Clockblockers they work with say “change is futile - you must do as you have always done!”. Here are some habits that could be holding back your legal career.
Lawyer Bots are providing legal help and access to justice to the masses We’ve put together a lineup of the best and brightest Lawyer Bots in legal tech land that you can try right now.
This is the fourth and final blog post in our four-part series called How To Eliminate the Bottlenecks At Your Law Firm. One of the biggest motivation killers I had as a lawyer was preparing repeat documentation for good clients, like preparing loan docs for lenders and lease docs for property investors. I justified doing this mind numbing work because it was good ‘bread and butter’. As long as it pays the bills, right?
This is our third blog post in our four-part series called How To Eliminate the Bottlenecks At Your Law Firm. Clients don’t give a shit about contracts and legal documentation. Clients care about results. The best way to get results for your clients is to focus on higher value work. And to do this, you need to stop doing the repetitive, boring, time-consuming stuff, like preparing contracts and legal documents.
This time of year is fantastic for reflection and planning. Here are some questions for you to reflect on: Do you sometimes feel stuck and miserable as a lawyer? The future is full of opportunities - are you tapping into them? If your answers to these questions are not ideal then a great way to ditch the gloom and jazz up your lawyer life is to write a Painted Picture for your law firm and lifestyle. If you don’t have a law firm, then writing a Painted Picture for your legal career and your lifestyle is just as worthwhile.
Billy Bot, Robot Lawyer Lisa, DoNotPay - these are a few of the cool bots out there that give legal help. But many lawyers don’t know what a bot is, and often those who do don’t realise how easy and affordable it is to create their very own lawyer bots to help them provide legal services. If there is a part of your job as a lawyer that doesn’t add value to your clients, why not build a bot to do it for you. That way you can focus on being a trusted adviser to your clients.
This is our second blog post in our four-part series called How To Eliminate the Bottlenecks At Your Law Firm. The first meeting with a client is an important opportunity to impress the client with your wit and intellect, and to demonstrate the value you can provide and the results you can get. But is all that form filling out and getting up to speed on the client’s issue really an efficient use of your time and your client’s time? Is it adding value? The short answer is no. Here’s a better onboarding process for new clients.
Lawyers are feeling the pressure to do more with less. Effective client communication is crucial for any lawyer in a client-facing role. Although law might be a business or a job to lawyers, it’s also something that significantly affects the course of our clients’ lives and livelihoods. Most lawyers know the importance of client communication, but so many struggle to find the time to answer emails, return calls and keep clients in the loop as quickly as they’d like.We know that many lawyers would like to improve the frequency and quality of their client communication - can automation assist?
Lawyers have long used precedents and document assemblies to create client documents without reinventing the wheel every time. Yet lawyers still do a lot of manual work: copying and pasting and find and replace remain crucial tools of the trade. Advances in technology are leading to a growing expectation that lawyers will use document automation to work faster and for lower fees. But at a time when most practices still charge by the unit, isn’t using automation leaving money on the table?
Most businesses have begun to use technology to automate workflows, often to the point where no human intervention is required for straightforward transactions. Automation saves time and money, impresses clients who can access services more easily and prevents human oversight. But for law firms, isn’t trusting an automated system to produce sensitive client documents a bridge too far?
Innovation and the legal industry haven’t always gone hand in hand. Lawyers are good at identifying and minimising risk, while innovation is all about taking risks and reaping the rewards (if everything goes well that is). The legal industry is inherently conservative, an industry rich in tradition and resistant to change. But things ARE changing in the legal industry and innovation is the key to success.
So who are these legal innovators?
Many lawyers have a set of beliefs about how lawyers should act and do their legal work. Some of these beliefs are simply not true. Our legal training, the media, TV shows and movies about lawyers, and our relationships with other lawyers foster these beliefs. These beliefs also come from a place of fear: fear of getting something wrong, fear of losing a client, fear of being sued, and fear of the future of the legal profession.
Improving speed and accuracy will mean a competitive advantage for your law firm. Your clients want you to adopt legal technology now to increase efficiency. Clients are becoming more knowledgeable about what technology is available to lawyers, so they want you to serve them faster, better, and cheaper.
Last week I was very honoured to win an individual award at the Janders Dean and LexisNexis Legal Innovation Index 2017 for my work with Automio. At the Awards evening I was surrounded by others who were intrigued by what we’re doing at Automio, and who are working on super interesting innovations themselves. As I listened to the keynote address I realised that we need to up our game with using innovation to better serve our clients, not just ourselves.
The responses I received to my article How I Survived the Death of My Business Partner were so moving. I didn’t expect to receive so many messages and phone calls, let alone have so many brave lawyers share their stories of hardship, strength and resilience with me. This got me thinking - are we focused on being lawyers first, and humans second? Not only do we deprive ourselves of time off to recharge, hang out with loved ones and do the things we love, we deprive ourselves of time to grieve, heal, get well and fight for our lives.
Two months ago we launched the Automio smart document marketplace. This was a massive milestone for us. The last 2 months have been a big transition for my team as we’ve gone from being a law firm to a legal technology company. Things are ticking along well so far. At last count we have 218 customers using Automio.
In this series we ask lawyers and others in the legal industry what their law firms are doing with legal technology. We caught up with Sarah Jones, director at law firm JHK Legal, who heads the firm’s Sydney office.
One of the more random things I’ve been getting asked by people is for advice on how, like me, they can transition from lawyer to working in a legal tech start-up. In my case, I’m a childhood friend of our CEO and founder, and I was basically in the right place at the right time with the right qualifications and experience (i.e. I’m a lawyer from New Plymouth (where Automio is based) and our target market is lawyers). So perhaps not an easy formula to follow!
Do you know what I’m excited about? The change in the air. The buzz. The nervous energy. The sense that something epic is happening. Can you feel it? The last 6 months or so has seen a flurry of innovative activity in the legal industry in NZ and overseas. I’m super proud of our profession, which is often traditional by nature, for being curious and trying things out.
In this series we ask lawyers and others in the legal industry what their law firms are doing with legal technology. We caught up with Andrew Simmonds, partner at technology law firm Simmonds Stewart, who leads the development and promotion of his firm’s free legal document templates which have disrupted New Zealand’s legal industry.
As my time being a lawyer and a director of a law firm comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the highs and lows of my legal career. I graduated from Uni in 2006 and was admitted to the bar in 2007. I sold my law practice a few weeks ago, and Dennis King Law’s last day of trading as a law firm is 21 July 2017. I have decided it’s time to go all in with Automio.
At the time of writing, I’m on holiday with my family in the Cook Islands. Also at the time of writing, it’s Happy Hour at Lagoon Breeze Villas. The local girl who works the bar pours her liquor with a resort-appropriate heavy hand, and this cocktail of family-time perspective and 50 parts Galliano, one part straw, has me in an unusually reflective mood.
In my first blog I set dual goals of blogging (1) regularly and (2) about stuff that would be useful to you.
Two weeks later and I’m back again, so that’s (1) ticked off for now. And this time I’m going to try to tick off (2), with some thoughts on how lawyers, as traditional service providers, can use their skills to create passive income streams.
When people would ask my business partner and father, Dennis King, what his succession plan was, he’d jokingly reply with a one word answer: “Claudia”. Dad and I used to think we had the succession planning stuff pretty well sorted. If something happened to me then Dad could run our business. If something happened to Dad then I could run the firm. We had a signed shareholders’ agreement, we both knew how to run the business, and we were both qualified trust account supervisors. Last year Dad died. It turns out we weren’t as prepared as we thought we were.
If someone says they're a tech entrepreneur and they don’t have a blog, are they even a tech entrepreneur …? Probably not – so as part of my transition from full-time corporate lawyer to whatever it is I now do for a legaltech start-up, I’m writing a blog.
It’s a scary thought that runs through our minds when us lawyers hear the word automation. The good news is that automation won’t put lawyers out of work as long as we take steps right now to use the automation technology available to us.
You’ve got an established, loyal client base and your law firm is doing pretty well. You’re flat out looking after your clients. Thinking about automation technology seems like a hassle - after all, you’re not some techie person. As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, so why should you get into automation now?
Whether you’re a law firm owner or employed by a law firm, chances are your law firm is not capitalising on its most valuable assets. Most of the assets in your law firm are intangible – that’s intellectual property. As lawyers, we have created so much IP over the years but we’re not capitalising on it. You owe it to yourself and your firm’s stakeholders (your family, employees, employers, business partners, clients and community) to discover and monetise your IP.
Until last year I’d never really had to ask people for money. As a lawyer I’ve watched my clients with admiration as they raise money to get all sorts of business ventures off the ground. After my Dad’s funeral I decided it was time for our tech company Automio to soar. I was faced with the daunting task of raising seed capital to get it to launch.
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