Using Design Thinking to Automate Your Law Practice
Running a solo practice or small law firm keeps you busy enough without the burden of unnecessarily tedious administrative tasks. Learning to automate essential, recurring tasks in your practice is key to saving both time and money, allowing you to gain more impact in less time.
Here, we will discuss four main use cases, showing how lawyers can use design thinking – a strategic way to approach the practice of law – to automate and enhance key parts of their practices. Design thinking refers generally to a process of creative, experimental problem-solving. It is a process that helps lawyers leverage technology to achieve the best results for their clients. While some may fear that as technology progresses it will supplant human innovation in the law, practices powered by design thinking make just the opposite true: By automating certain tasks, lawyers create space for creative problem-solving – something technology cannot automate or replace.
Client relationship management is a process that can be easily automated – and for good reason. By using platforms like UniCourt’s to find new clients in particular practice areas, lawyers can channel their efforts into connecting with the clients they most want to serve. This is especially helpful for solo and small-firm lawyers who are looking for more of the same types of cases, like DUIs, divorces, and landlord-tenant matters.
Once you bring clients through the door, you can use these systems to determine how you can reach more of the clients that you want to be serving. With UniCourt, you can set automated searches to provide you with lists of new cases that have been filed in your practice area of interest, and/or against clients your firm has represented in the past to generate new leads. The process isn’t just about quantity, but quality, and legal tech can help you create processes that drive the highest quality business relationships possible.
UniCourt’s platform also includes a case tracking feature that automatically pings users when new filings or actions occur in cases where they’re representing clients or are interested in seeing the case outcomes. For cases where lawyers only care about seeing the final outcomes or major developments, UniCourt also provides the ability to filter automatic notifications to only receive important updates, like when Summary Judgment motions have been filed or granted/denied. By leveraging automated case tracking, lawyers can greatly reduce the time spent pouring over government court records databases, and spend more time engaging with their clients.
In addition to case tracking, UniCourt also provides users with the option of an automatic document download feature. Now, anytime a new document is filed in a case you are tracking, UniCourt will automatically download that document and let you know as soon as it is available. Attorneys can then have the latest information at their fingertips, without having to specifically search for and download each relevant case document.
What’s more, is that once attorneys have received their automatic downloads, they can utilize UniCourt’s easy to use folder-sharing system to directly share those new documents with clients, colleagues, and associates to create an efficient and transparent system of communication.
Mapping Case Strategies
Data aggregation and legal analytics can help lawyers plan more strategically, efficiently, and creatively, combining data with design thinking to improve processes and devise creative solutions to clients’ issues.
Leveraging UniCourt’s affordable subscription plans, attorneys can use court data to track opposing counsel’s case strategies in parallel or similar cases. By studying the data, attorneys can make important case decisions by determining how long certain cases will likely last and planning for future expenses.
What makes platforms like UniCourt’s so effective is the reality that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. By aggregating and centralizing data from real cases, UniCourt enables users to uncover patterns and trends and to make important legal and business decisions based on an opposing counsel or party’s behavioral history.
Automating Administrative Tasks
One of the most effective ways to use design thinking to innovate in a small legal practice is to outsource, automate, or otherwise reduce the more burdensome and rote administrative tasks that can consume valuable time and energy. Some of the tasks that legal tech can help lawyers automate or outsource include:
- Marketing and advertising;
- Case management;
- Planning a workflow;
- Training and managing staff;
- Tracking time;
- Invoicing and accounting; and
- CRM integration.
Clearing the decks to maximize time for creative case planning and strategy is the lynchpin of design thinking. When lawyers find ways to automate tasks that take time and inflate client bills, they can instead focus their energies on what makes them uniquely suited to serve their clients: collaboration, strategy, devising and testing creative solutions, and constantly considering how to better serve the end user (the client).
Positioning Lawyers for Success
At UniCourt, our unique product allows attorneys to utilize several of these time and money-saving tactics through a variety of affordable month-to-month plans. We understand that the purpose of automation is to save money, and we are on board with helping lawyers maximize their resources to deliver the greatest impact. If you are interested in connecting your applications to our Legal Data APIs for real-time access to court records, we also have the technical and engineering know-how to assist with integrations.
Contact Us if you are interested in learning more about automating your law practice.