How legal innovation is changing in Australia
What do employment contracts, sale contracts and rental contracts all have in common? They all come with a lot of paper work that needs to be thoroughly checked before signing.
A tedious task at all times, however, when the workload gets heavier, having to read the fine print and understanding the law jargon highlights how tiring and time-consuming this necessary task is.
Adopting new technology in law firms is quickly becoming a necessity in order to preserve efficiency, maintain productivity and cultivate flexibility. As a society, we’ve wholeheartedly adopted technology in our everyday lives. The 2016 Mobile Consumer Survey: The Australian Cut by Deloitte found that 84% of Australians own a smartphone, and 30% of mobile consumers don’t regularly use their phone to make a voice call. However, despite this, we are more ‘in contact’ than ever through the many data-based communication channels that are enabled by our smartphones, including text messages, emails, instant messages and video calls. We’re evidently consuming more and more technology in our everyday lives, so why not carry this trend over into our work lives too?
The rise of workflow automation
The 2015 Macquarie Bank Legal Benchmarking survey results revealed that over 60% of high-performance firms in Australia were up to date with technological changes in the industry. However, there still appears to be pockets of resistance to change amongst legal professionals, as when asked about expected technology investments in the following year, it was the low-performance firms who were expecting to invest the highest.
Which brings one to question; why the hesitance? While implementing change as big as the utilisation of a new technology can be daunting, the long-term benefits far outweigh any doubts.
At face value, the benefits are obvious. By adopting an IT system that allows workflow automation, your firm will not only save time; you’ll also be increasing accuracy in documents, cutting costs and will have less wasted resources.
Taking a look at new technology: Verification of Identity
As our geographic borders are blurring in a shrinking world, working on a freelance basis or remotely is becoming more commonplace. A recent study by online job marketplace Upwork found that an estimated 4.1million Aussies (one-third of the workforce) are now working freelance. This movement can be largely attributed to rapid advances in technology.
Fortunately, the freelance movement doesn’t exclude legal professionals. The introduction of automated workflow systems means that working remotely is a possibility for a variety of professions.
Take, for example, the process involved in the Verification of Identity. Traditionally, this process includes a long paper trail, endless appointments, collating of documents, scanning documents and postage. It’s time consuming, rigid and has potential for mistakes in manual data entry.
Now, VOI can be conducted through a mobile app. This means that you can perform a VOI from wherever you are, meaning that you can promote a better service and have a wider client reach. It’s also time-saving, as the need to drive to appointments is eliminated, as is the associated admin and paper work.
But is it secure? Yes, technology provides a more secure process rather than storing documents manually.
So where to from here?
The great underlying benefit of working digitally is that you are being given the opportunity to tailor your business to your client’s needs. This means providing a faster service that is simple, efficient and cost-effective. With technology advancements expected to continue, it’s important that firms move forward before they are left too far behind.
When the workload gets heavy, finding the time to complete the necessary mundane administrative work can be challenging. By implementing a workflow automation software, your firm can save time by eliminating admin work, so that you can focus on what’s really important.
Mike Preston is an experienced content writer and digital strategist specialized in the Legal Industry. Mike has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and Legal firms over the past 15 years.