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Automated Legal Operations: Streamlining Workflows

Published: April 4, 2024

Automation is becoming increasingly common for legal teams. From artificial intelligence (AI) to robotic process automation (RPA), these new technologies can significantly improve your departments’ workflows. What are the benefits, and how can legal operations take advantage of them?

What are Legal Operations? 

Within the legal industry, legal operations (legal ops) refers to the function of comprehensively managing a law firm or legal department’s functions. Legal ops aims to ensure smooth business operations and quality legal services. The process covers many disciplines that may include financial, project management, technological, compliance, and business analysis components.

With the rise of robotic process automation (RPA) and AI, legal operations automation is increasingly part of a well-run legal ops function. Let’s explore what that looks like and why it’s important.

Importance Of Automation for In-House Legal Teams

As we’ve argued before, automation is part of the future of legal teams’ success. With the rise of new technologies, legal departments and teams can spend less time than ever on low-value, repeatable tasks like document generation, due diligence reviews, or billing. This frees them to spend on their true areas of expertise. Not only does this reduce burnout: it also improves client satisfaction and maximizes the value each lawyer brings to your department.

How Can RPA and AI Improve Legal Operation Efficiency?

The rise of RPA first revolutionized law professionals’ most repeatable tasks – generating common legal documents using pre-set templates, automating workflows, and enhancing team collaboration. RPA could use conditional logic to move tasks to the next appropriate team member, send reminders, and more.

Yet the development of AI opens teams’ horizons even wider. The new technology could learn from past interactions using machine learning (ML) and analyze complex contract language using natural language processing (NLP). 

This means that variable, yet still repeatable processes like custom document generation and analysis can be automated, too. AI and RPA can also work together. For example, NLP can analyze a legal document’s contents, allowing RPA to trigger an action based on the collected data (such as sending an email that a contract is up for renewal).

4 Benefits Of Legal Workflow Automation 

There are many benefits of legal workflow automation for in-house council, but here are four of the most important.

1. Enhance Your Legal Workflows

Manual workflows are often cumbersome – unfriendly to collaboration, prone to confusion and inconsistency, and causing legal teams to miss tasks or deadlines. By implementing workflow automation, legal operations can help teams optimize their daily work. 

Reminders can be set to trigger when a task is completed when a deadline is reached, or both. When one team member finishes their work on a matter, it can be assigned to the next person immediately. And thanks to AI and RPA, repetitive tasks like document generation and analysis fly by effortlessly.

2. Enhanced Client Experience and Satisfaction

Improved workload management creates a better experience for all parties involved. For one thing, legal professionals are less likely to appear inattentive due to a backlog of small tasks. This translates into a better cross-departmental relationship. Beyond this, legal services directly involving stakeholders at your company are more efficient and user-friendly, from contract approval to initial client onboarding. 

3. Better Return on Investment (ROI) 

Using technology to free up lawyers’ time can mean lower net costs and a better use of resources. Even if an automation solution requires an upfront investment, a well-designed tool is likely to improve ROI vastly. This is because a flexible, scalable platform reduces the likelihood of hiring bloat and wasted expertise on low-value work. Streamlined, tech-supported processes translate to less turnover, more engaged personnel, better use of expert time and insights, and more efficiently sized teams. 

4. Access to Data

One way automation technology can enhance lawyers’ use of time is through intelligent, centralized data access. A good workflow automation tool centralizes information so any document associated with a case can be found quickly. And platforms that integrate AI can offer an easy way to perform legal research, automatically recognizing relevant content in past legal documents so that legal experts don’t have to spend hours poring through dense contracts and paperwork.

What Legal Operations Can be Automated?

So we’ve established why automation is such a buzzword lately in the legal industry. Let’s take a look at some real-life applications of automation for in-house teams and legal professionals as a whole.

Contract Management

Would it surprise you to know that every stage of the contract management process can benefit from automation? Teams can use this technology to: 

  • Gather relevant data for a contract 
  • Integrate it into auto-generated documents
  • Host collaborative edits
  • Assign tasks and permissions
  • Analyze and summarize contract details
  • Research past contracts using NLP
  • Collect signatures
  • Generate reports after the fact for management, board, or auditor use

There’s virtually no part of contract management that can’t be improved with automation!

Research and Document Review & Analysis

In 2012, the Research Intelligence Group found that newer legal professionals spent around a third (31-35 percent) of their time conducting research. Even if more experienced professionals spend somewhat less time, there’s no denying that research is central to every lawyer’s daily work. That fact isn’t likely to change. 

What has already changed, however, are the tools available to lawyers. The process inherently requires humans, but key parts of it can be automated. In particular, analyzing hundreds of pages worth of dense legalese doesn’t need to be manual. NLP can parse out reams of information and point legal teams to the most relevant sources. When appropriate, it can even provide summaries and breakdowns for client convenience.

Compliance and Risk Management 

While teams still need to use separate tools to run their compliance function, they must be able to trust their workflow automation to remain compliant and secure. Legal ops can rest easy with a tool that incorporates compliance with requirements like HIPAA, FERPA, CCPA, and SOC 2. The best tools will safeguard confidentiality through end-to-end encryption, too.

Steps to Implement Automated Legal Operations

Once a legal team has decided automation would enhance its legal ops, there are a few steps to effective implementation. Each implementation process should be tailored to a firm’s unique needs, but here are a few helpful starting points.

Determine What Areas You Want to Automate

As the legal operations team evaluates automation solutions, conduct a needs analysis. Evaluate the essential processes that make up your team’s legal operations, along with any that are currently “wishlisted.” You may also want to map, evaluate, and redesign inefficient processes for more clarity. Consider which areas could be automated that are currently using up personnel’s valuable time. 

Make a list of the areas you need to automate and the features that best suit your legal team’s work. Narrow down your software options to the ones that meet those needs most effectively and can interact with other in-house departments.

Design Workflows

Design workflows within the platform after evaluating your processes and choosing the right solution. For best results, make sure they’re aligned with your process analysis. This will ensure the legal team or department reaps the best results.

Implement Legal Automation Software 

When implementing, conduct a few test runs with teams to ensure any hiccups are caught and resolved. Once the process is running smoothly, the fteam can enjoy the benefits of automated collaboration, document generation, reminders, and centralized documentation. Be sure to continually test and optimize the solution to keep it in line with changing business needs.

Train Employees

Even the best software won’t fulfill its potential if the lawyers and other legal professionals using it aren’t sure how it works. So be sure everyone has a chance to be trained in how to navigate the software – and set up its workflows in alignment with the law firm or department’s objectives. It’s also important that each collaborator breaks any habits of hopping between platforms and issuing multiple insecure document versions.

Get Started With Docubee’s Legal Automation Workflow Software

Teams using a legal workflow automation tool like Docubee enjoy game-changing benefits. For example, they can:


  • Get legal teams buzzing with collaborative document generation
  • Enjoy constant agility with a workflow that can adapt as the department and larger business evolves
  • Stop dropping tasks mid-flight with automated reminders & task assignment
  • Zoom through document analysis and summaries with NLP


Does your business’ legal ops team need a new flight path? Schedule a demo to see how Docubee’s workflow automation can revolutionize the hive.