Automating the document automation process is one of the easiest ways law firms can become more efficient, says Alan Bass, president of Korbitec Inc., a Toronto-based software development company that provides technology products to the Canadian legal profession.
“In today’s competitive environment, clients are more demanding,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “They’re looking for alternative fee arrangements, flat-fee pricing, a cap on fees, or just plain lower legal costs — all of which means that firms must be more mindful of resource allocation and spending.”
Although Korbitec’s Automated Civil Litigation (ACL) software is easy to use and cost-efficient, Bass says it may seem like too big of a hurdle for some potential new customers.
“Law firms sometimes think they can’t afford it, but I advise them that there is a real benefit in the amount of money it saves,” he says. “Our cost in Ontario for a civil litigation file is based on a fee per a matter. They are receiving incredible value for that low per file cost.
Bass suggests the cost of the software can easily be recovered by the amount of time it saves during the life of the file, and in the prevention of errors.
“Our software is incredibly fast, extraordinarily robust,” he says. “It reduces the possibility of errors and minimizes the chance that you’ll need to redo things. When you look at all of the benefits and speed of the software, can one afford not to utilize it?”
The other major obstacle to adopting ACL is that, from a user’s perspective, sometimes it’s tough for people to change to something new. “I understand that,” Bass says.
“Others are eager and adapt to new technology quickly and easily, and when they see what our software does, and they instantly get it.”
One firm even pointed out to Bass that applicants for its vacant legal assistant position had asked if it used ACL before deciding whether to accept the position.
“They weren’t prepared to go back working for a firm that didn’t have it. It’s like having high-speed internet and then having to go back to a dial-up modem,” he says.
While Bass would never suggest the ACL software would allow a firm to reduce headcount, he says it does enable growth in file volume without adding more staff.
Assistants have told us that, because of ACL, they’ve been able to add another lawyer to their workload, and “right there, the firm saves the cost” of hiring another legal assistant, he says.
Another benefit and potential cost savings is “If everyone in the firm is using this technology, it means when someone is sick or away, others can fill in more easily.
“There’s never a cost to our training or support,” Bass says. The hands-on training and file entry clinics help legal assistants overcome any hesitancy or resistance to new software, which was in part designed and is supported by former litigation assistants.
Korbitec offers update training, video refreshers and tip sheets to ensure clients are always up to date with the most current information, he says.
“Information input to a particular file is entered just once and continues for the life of the file,” Bass says. “The software populates that information on all related documents.” There is never a need to re-enter information, which again reduces time and errors.
ACL also integrates with the firm’s other software, including accounting and practice management systems, he says. This allows for data from those sources to be imported into ACL, also eliminating the inputing of information more than once.
ACL eliminates the source one of the more common mistakes from people cutting and pasting information from an old document. This results in incorrect forms being used, names not being consistent, and improper grammar throughout the document.
Bass says a firm’s letters, precedents, reports and documents are uploaded to the ACL software, which makes it “a one-stop repository for all their information.” Time is saved and errors are further reduced because one does not need to search for the firm approved letter or precedent to use.