What Workflow Designers Can Learn from How Law Offices Use Workflows

Three people in business suits meeting around a table.

While each case is different, the practice of law must follow exacting processes, and meet strict deadlines.

The courtroom drama we see in movies or in highly publicized televised cases is only a small fraction of what lawyers and their assistants actually do. Much of the legal profession is driven by arduous processes that must be completed exactly and before strict deadlines. It isn’t glamorous, and some of those tasks aren’t billable to clients.

If any industry can benefit from defined, automated workflows, it’s the legal industry. Not only must complex procedures be completed in detail with perfect or near-perfect accuracy, they must be completed on time because the court system is not sympathetic to missed deadlines. A workflow designer can be one of the best investments a law firm can make, and businesses in other industries can learn a lot from how law offices use workflows. Here are some examples to illustrate this.

Automating Time Tracking and Billing

Writing down hours and projects to which they’re billable made sense in eras before computers were commonplace. Today, however, even the smallest law firm or other business can create time tracking and billing workflows that are designed to the exact requirements of the nature of the business and the way in which clients are billed.

Imagine a mobile-friendly workflow for tracking billable time. An attorney (or engineer, or consultant, or other field-bound professionals) can use their smartphone to create a record of billable work done in the field so that every billable hour is actually billed.

Document Management Designed to Remain Current

Legal documents must be kept up to date, and changes to legal documents must be noted and sometimes approved by parties to litigation or their attorneys. Automated workflows for document management can record exactly who has had access to a document, what changes were made, when they were made, and whether or not they were approved.

In the legal profession, relying on a document that may or may not be the latest version can have serious consequences. While the ramifications for using non-current documents may not be quite as dire in your industry, nonetheless, it’s always beneficial to have the latest version of a document, with a record of what changes have been made to it.

Workflows That Prevent Missed Deadlines

Workflow software

In law, missing a deadline can cause serious, long-term consequences.

Missed deadlines are a problem in any business, but in the legal business, missed deadlines can mean cases get dismissed or become subject to summary judgment. Automated workflows can be designed so that they create automatic notifications that are sent out to interested parties at strategic points in the workflow. For example, if an approval or signature is required before a particular date and time, the workflow can notify the person whose attention is needed automatically. An email or message to this effect can make the difference between an inadvertently missed deadline and a record of consistently meeting deadlines – something that can instill confidence in new or potential clients.

Result: Better Resource Allocation, Productivity, and Efficiency

In the legal profession as in any other profession, defined, automated workflows help ensure resources are allocated optimally, and that productivity and efficiency are maximized. The great news is that you don’t have to hire a workflow designer to create custom workflows for your business. PerfectForms is workflow software that allows the actual users of a workflow to design the exact steps needed, along with any automatic notifications and auditing notes that are necessary. Using a drag-and-drop interface, with no programming required, PerfectForms users can create custom workflows from scratch, or modify one of the many templates that come with the software.

Law practices use workflows to ensure consistency and precision. Workflows can be made to automatically delegate and approve work steps, raising productivity measurably. The overall result is better resource allocation and more freedom for personnel to focus on their billable tasks. Whatever business you are in, well-designed workflows minimize the time people spend on repetitive tasks, freeing everyone up to pursue core business objectives. You can try PerfectForms for free and see for yourself. Why not give it a test drive?Discover where PerfectForms can take your business.

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