How to improve the productivity of your legal secretary through automation?

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Innovation in our digital and artificial intelligence world continues to accelerate.

The Internet only really developed at the end of the 1990s. And yet, it has already turned our societies and organizational structures upside down.

For several years now, Legal Tech has been sending shockwaves through the legal and accounting professions.

Whether it is the profession of lawyer, chartered accountant or legal secretary, the ways of working and the missions expected from these professions are changing year after year.

If these technologies have often been warily viewed by lawyers and accountants, the productivity improvements they bring are an incredible opportunity to improve the added value brought to clients by distinguishing the tasks that can be automated from those high-added value ones that cannot be.

The legal secretary is no exception to this trend. Let’s see in this article how legal secretarial work is evolving in the Legal Tech era. Which tasks can be automated and how is the profession evolving?

The legal secretary, a role for law and accounting firms

A legal secretary (or legal assistant) has the task of carrying out the usual secretarial tasks adapted to the field of law and accounting.

Depending on the organization of the firm and the level of qualification of the legal secretary, they may have the role of an assistant or be a real executive secretary.

In addition to managing the schedules and timetables of the lawyers for whom they work, a legal secretary is also involved in the administrative side of the firm. For example, they will be able to handle the firm’s mail and emails, as well as to format documents (conclusions, roles, contracts, proceedings, general assemblies, etc.).

The legal secretary will also be able to help in file management and to gather the necessary information for decision-making within the various missions in progress.

In a word, the legal secretary maintains the efficiency of all the administrative procedures and file management in order to guarantee reliability and coherence within the structure where they work.

You may be interested in this article: Improving the organization of a law firm: why and how?

A profession that will evolve with the automation of legal tasks

Legal task automation is the use of tools and technologies that allow legal teams to streamline their work and gain productivity by automating a set of tasks. Through legal task automation, teams will be more productive and the firm will be more profitable.

As artificial intelligence and legal automation technologies continue to develop, tasks that are less valuable to the end client but essential to the firm’s operations will be increasingly automated over time.

Learn more about business process automation in this article

Among the different actions that can be easily and efficiently automated today, we can mention:

  • The composition of questionnaires to collect all the information necessary for the creation of a document;
  • Automatic generation of documents thanks to customized templates based on the information collected with the questionnaires;
  • Automatic file progress with the automatic sending of notifications or emails;
  • Tracking of document changes by highlighting the respective fields and defining a validation step if necessary;
  • Electronic signature of documents and online payments;
  • And much more.

All these tools have a direct influence on the duties of legal secretaries, which will allow them to save a lot of time on their activities.

Indeed, as a legal secretary works on many administrative tasks, there is no doubt that this function is directly impacted by the arrival of legal automation software.

Here are some examples of tasks on which legal workflow automation tools can help legal secretaries improve their efficiency:

Administrative tasks

Whether it’s managing schedules, sending invoices, getting documents signed or inviting people to meetings, many tasks can be completely (or almost completely) replaced by task automation tools.

Reporting can also be done in a much simpler way thanks to ergonomic dashboards providing essential information at a glance.

File follow-up and reminders to clients and collaborators

It is now possible to integrate all parties in a file within the same legal workflow. For example, when a document is ready to be checked, a notification is sent to the lawyers or accountants to inform them. When a document needs to be signed by a client, an email is automatically sent to the client with a link to sign it electronically within seconds.

Moreover, by centralizing documents in a single secure location using the cloud, document management is greatly simplified.

The drafting of acts and documents

The integration of intelligent documents in a structure allows you to save a lot of time on the drafting of contracts and other acts.

Thanks to workflows, you only need to work from a template that you will automatically complete by answering a questionnaire beforehand.

It is therefore obvious that the automation of legal tasks will change the way legal secretaries work in the years to come. But will all these productivity improvements bring about the end of this profession?

Is this the end of the legal secretary?

If these tools will eventually allow small firms that do not currently have a legal secretary to continue without one, what about firms that currently have a legal secretary?

One thing is certain: the profession will evolve over time. While the function is not going to disappear, its missions will have to evolve by taking into account these technological evolutions.

Digital technology has already changed the way law firms are organized, and we are still only at the beginning.

If the new missions and skills required by tomorrow’s legal secretaries are not yet defined, certain trends seem to be emerging.

The function will certainly be less focused on the law, unless the employer specifically wishes otherwise. It will certainly be much more transverse and will serve as a link between the different partners and departments of the same legal structure.

It is probable that an increase in management and communication missions are also possible for the future of this profession.

Know the main trends of legal tech in 2022

Finally, a good mastery of digital tools will be mandatory.

Want to learn more about how to integrate automated workflows into your practice? Sign up for a demo so we can show you all of Alf’s features and the many opportunities our solution presents for your firm.

A lawyer for 20 years with international law firms and worldwide companies (Canal+, PwC Legal, Nomos, Amazon), I’ve had the experience on the inside: too much time wasted on regularly monitoring recurring tasks linked to files, with low added value. Alf, the first workflow automation platform for the legal files, was designed and developed to respond to this critical problem. Customizable, collaborative and accessible in all languages, Alf is also part of a GreenTech approach that encourages responsible innovation by reducing your carbon emissions. — Sabine Zylberbogen, Registered lawyer and Founder