When It Comes To Paperless Will Drafting Software, Where Are You In This Line Up?
What can a piece of paper do for your Will writing business that our system can’t?
For some time now we have been debating why there are those of you who still believe it is necessary to use paper in the time honoured tradition of drafting Wills and other legal documents, but no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot understand why this might be.
Firstly, we looked at it from the client’s perspective.
Paper means lots of paperwork.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that clients are rarely happy having to work through page after page of instructions, having to decipher someone else’s handwriting in order to check the information is accurate and then being asked to sign their name over and over again in lots of different places and on numerous forms.
Processing paper means having to wait longer.
In these days of fast food, next day delivery and self-checkouts, waiting is becoming almost obsolete and consumers’ expectations of how long things should take have changed dramatically. Using paper can only delay matters, owing to the length of time required to key in all of their information and their instructions, in order to just draft their initial documents. Documents which often will need amending owing to poorly written instructions, bad handwriting, unanswered questions, others not having a full understanding of the client’s situation, missing information and paperwork, and then a further delay whilst new ones are drafted.
Technology can help firms complete work more quickly and accurately. This is particularly the case with AI applications that can automate routine process work. Clients value quick and predictable conclusions, and the most common cause for complaints to the Legal Ombudsman is delays. The combination of rapid processing of routine tasks with greater engagement is therefore likely to make clients more satisfied. Source: Technology and legal services SRA November 2018.
The old ways aren’t necessarily the best ways.
There was a time when clients may well have preferred the more “old school” methods when it came to certain undertakings with few people expecting Solicitors and Will writers to be up to date with modern working practices and technology, unlike other industries, but that no longer applies. Clients these days are much more discerning where, when and how they spend their money and what they will receive in return. So, if there is an alternative offering which means, a simpler process for them to follow, better levels of efficiency, and an improvement on the overall customer service provided, then this is the route they will choose.
Regulated firms face competition from other businesses offering legal services, some of
which are technology-focused. These businesses do not need to be regulated under the Legal Services Act 2007 if they only offer unreserved legal services. To compete with these providers, solicitors and firms need to be able to offer comparable or better services at a comparable cost. Source: Technology and legal services SRA November 2018.
People don’t like technology – they know where they are with pen and paper.
Certainly, people know where they are with “pen and paper, particularly the elderly, but with so many people currently using automated services in their daily tasks and activities these days such as: online shopping / bookings, online banking and skype, most have come to see new technology as being progressive and a real help to them.
People increasingly use technology in their day-to-day lives. Over a third of businesses and almost half of people who use legal services say that they want online legal services. Source: Technology and legal services SRA November 2018.
Next, we considered matters from your point of view and why you believe that continuing to use paper is better for your business.
Every business understands the need to make a profit and part of achieving this has to be analysing costs. A large part of those costs derive from your office practices and how your staff are working. Recognising that there might be a better, faster, easier, more efficient and less costly way of working to produce client’s legal documents has to be more important than just sticking with what you know. Reducing costs means that you can pass on part of these savings to your clients, further develop your business and become more competitive.
The legal market faces challenges. People and small businesses who use legal services need better access to more affordable legal services. We know that many people find it difficult to identify that they have a legal problem. The cost of legal services can be a barrier to people receiving professional advice. Smart use of new technologies can help law firms address this unmet legal need by reducing costs and helping people find information. For law firms that serve large and often global businesses, there is increasing pressure to do more for less and an increasing expectation that the use of technology will make legal work quicker and more efficient. Source: Technology and legal services SRA November 2018.
Mistakes do happen.
You understand that part of being human means that mistakes will happen. No matter what the circumstances, how well trained staff are or how long they have worked for you, mistakes do and will occur. Using paper in the document drafting process increases the chances of errors with instructions being interpreted incorrectly or omitted from client documents and poor notes and handwriting also playing their part. With so much focus on Data Protection at present, loose pieces of paper can pose a serious threat to your business. Using systems which contain Artificial Intelligence (AI) can ensure that all information is present, correct and securely stored.
A legal technology company organised a contest to test their AI against human legal performance. The competition gave 20 experienced lawyers and an AI system the task of detecting issues in contract clauses. The company chose lawyers who had significant commercial experience in this task, and the contracts they chose were five publicly available non-disclosure agreements.
Both humans and the AI were highly accurate, with the AI performing as well as the highest scoring lawyers in the exercise. The human lawyers, however, took 92 minutes on average to complete their reviews while the AI took 26 seconds. Source: Technology and legal services SRA November 2018.
Customer service is seriously overrated.
You know that despite all the hype out there about customers wanting the best value for money these days and having such high expectations about the level of service they receive, deep down they are pragmatists and so when it comes down to really important matters such as writing their Will, they are happy to reduce these expectations to accommodate your own working practices.
Technology can help law firms offer services that are more efficient, productive, and accurate. But the legal market faces challenges in realising these benefits. Investment in technology is lower in the legal sector than in other professional services sectors, such as accountancy. Client engagement feedback, and online access to documents are also lower compared to other sectors. Firms will find it difficult to compete if they cannot keep pace with the technology that clients increasingly expect them to use. Source: Technology and legal services SRA November 2018.
Isn’t it time to evolve your business with the use of expert technology specifically designed for the legal industry which allows you to take the hard work out of legal document drafting and to focus on giving better value and more engagement with your clients?
If you want to know how paperless working can benefit your Will writing business and improve the service you offer to your clients click here.
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This article was submitted to be published by Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.