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4 min read

How legal teams and law firms can be more efficient with automation

By Chad Main · June 14, 2021

We at Percipient LOVE Zapier. We use Zaps to automate tasks that touch pretty much every aspect of our business—from customer onboarding to client deliverables.

Percipient is an alternative legal service provider (what some might call an ALSP or "law company"). We're not a law firm, but we help corporate legal teams and law firms with legal tasks that involve data and technology.

For example, we assist with large document and data reviews when a company is involved in a lawsuit, responding to a subpoena, or responding to a cyber security incident.

Another aspect of our business is helping companies automate legal tasks. Here's what that looks like for a marketing analytics company we work with. To onboard customers, the company must secure authorization from the customer to share telecommunications marketing information. Creating the onboarding authorization document involved several emails between the company and the customer, and touched four departments: sales, customer support, customer success, and legal. To help them out, our team created a custom automated workflow process to obtain the authorizations that reduced the time spent on this process from hours to minutes.

I personally think automation is woefully underutilized in the legal industry. There are some great legal tech tools that allow teams to automate certain work, but that's not the only way to get started.

If you're ready to start automating your processes, you can use Zapier instead of asking developers to start writing code or buying expensive software. 

If you're not sure where to begin, think about all the times you've ever wished that what you do in Software A could be automatically sent to Software B. That's a perfect place to add automation. Many applications we use day in and day out can be connected to other apps and augmented with Zapier. 

If you work with apps or software not included in this article, don't worry—Zapier works with thousands of apps. Head to our App Directory and search for the one you use, or browse to find the right solution for your needs.

How we use Zapier at Percipient

A Zap is involved in pretty much every stage of our customer and project lifestyles.

Customer onboarding

To onboard our customers, we created an intake form in HubSpot that captures project information like billing contact name, parties involved in the legal matter, and other information we need to get the project up and running.

From there, Zapier sends billing information to our accounting software, creates a ticket in our customer service software, and a draft service contract in Google Drive. We also have a Zap that creates a project record in Airtable.

We also use Zapier for employee onboarding. New employees fill out an onboarding form that, among other things, generates an employment agreement that is automatically sent to them for execution via HelloSign.

Here are some ways you can get started with automation from HubSpot into other business software:

Customer support

We use Zapier to send daily email digests of customer service requests we receive each day. This helps us make sure no tickets fall into the cracks. It also gives our customer support team insight into what other team members are doing. This workflow starts in Groove, then uses Digest and Email by Zapier to create and send the daily email.

Zap set-up with trigger of "Ticket started in Groove" and action of "Send outbound email"

Marketing

Marketing is probably the area that we use Zapier the most. We use it to automate certain Tweets and to make sure our various marketing platforms are connected and feeding information into HubSpot to efficiently keep track of leads. 

For instance, when a visitor downloads an infographic or other content from our website, it might trigger a workflow in HubSpot, send them additional information about the subject of the downloaded content and add them to an appropriate mailing list.

Here are some popular ways to automate marketing tasks with Zapier:

Why Zapier is a good starting point for legal automation

Workflow automation with Zapier is a great way to start implementing automation in a legal department or law firm. Here are some tips as you get started:

  1. Start small and simple. Often when people think about implementing new technology or automating legal processes they try to solve too many problems at once. Many times, the best place to start is with mundane, repetitive tasks that take up time better spent doing more valuable things.

  2. Look for low-touch, high-volume tasks. Good candidates for automated legal workflows are things like opening up new legal matters, sending routine contracts like non-disclosure agreements, and common business transactions that require approval but are low risk and can be made self-service. (And no, none of this automation will replace lawyers).

For instance, a Zap could be created using a Google Form that would create a retainer agreement in Google Docs and connect it to practice management software like Clio.

You could use this Zap as a starting point: 

For in-house legal teams, using a form app like Typeform or Formstack, a simple NDA generator can be created by connecting data submitted through the form to a document building app or a template in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.  

Use Zapier to build a case for further investment in automation

Once a couple of automations are set up with Zaps, they can be used to show others (i.e. management) why automation is helpful and help build a case for adding automation to other areas of your business.

Your first automation need not be sophisticated nor solve every pain point. Just think of a task that is done often, and varies little. Once that task is identified, I bet Zap can be created to get it done. Regardless of what it is, just get started!

This was a guest post from Chad Main, founder of Percipient. Percipient was founded on the belief that when technology is leveraged correctly, it makes attorneys even more effective. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Check out our guidelines and get in touch.

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Chad Main picture

Chad Main

Chad Main is an attorney and the founder of Percipient. Prior to founding Percipient, Chad worked as a litigator in Los Angeles and Chicago. He also hosts the Technically Legal Podcast.

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