In this article, we dig in to how legal client intake is evolving, and the best software available today.
Automation and intelligent software have transformed almost every industry, from agriculture to banking to shipping. It is now transforming the legal sector, despite the industry’s reputation for caution towards change and innovation.
Intelligent software is saving law firms and legal departments time, increasing earnings, helping them perform better, and freeing them from repetitive, mundane tasks. According to Deloitte, as many as 114,000 legal roles could be automated within the next 20 years.
The upheaval of the pandemic sped up intelligence software uptake across all areas of legal practice and all parts of legal work.
This blog, however, will focus on how automation and intelligent software is transforming legal client intake.
The process of onboarding new clients and acquiring their personal information is one of the most laborious tasks for law firms, which also happens to be unbillable. Some 63% of in-house legal work consists of repetitive, fact-based decisions that don’t require the involvement of human intervention, but the majority of law firms and legal departments do these tasks manually.
A multitude of benefits and efficiencies arise when intelligent software is integrated into this part of the legal process, which we’ll dig into.
“Intelligent software is freeing law firms from repetitive, mundane tasks.”
To summarise, these benefits include:
Increase in productivity – lawyers can focus on more complicated tasks, rather than reviewing contracts and performing due-diligence processes
Reduction in costs – more work can be done with fewer workers
Better client experience – law firms can operate more quickly and efficiently
Better compliance – the possibilities for human error is reduced
Despite this, 70% of legal departments and in-house teams have not prioritised adopting technologies for improving key automation and data management processes, according to the 2022 Trends in Legal Transformation and Technology Report. Those that continue not to do so will quickly be left behind by those that do.
What is intelligent software?
When we talk about ‘automation’, we are referring to the use of a machine or software that can complete a task without human intervention.
Automation is used in legal research, e-discovery (searching for digital evidence to be used in court), document review, and more.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can do more complex tasks, such as problem-solving, perception, and planning. Machine learning is a subset of AI that enables self-learning from data and then applies that learning without the need for human intervention.
As the CTO of Pinsent Masons, Nigel Tranter, put it at the London Law Expo in May, digital transformation is most valuable not when it creates new processes, but when it replicates existing processes in a more streamlined and efficient way. Machine-learning technologies, where automated systems are taught to reproduce manual processes, can vastly benefit the efficiencies and workflows of law firms.
How is intelligent software used for legal client intake?
Most intelligent legal software falls into two categories: contract drafting and review, and e-discovery.
This software helps lawyers save time by speeding up research processes, automating marketing, finding privileged documents, analysing contracts to check for missing terms, automating contract drafting, automating client contact, processing payments and fee agreements, and organising and tracking time. It also streamlines regulatory and compliance tasks.
The best intelligent legal software platforms available today that are transforming legal client intake include:
This comprehensive, cloud-based dataset of past legal decisions helps lawyers looking into previous cases find details to inform their existing and future legal strategies. This helps law firms decide whether or not to take on a case, quickly. Lexis also offers client relationship management (CRM) tools, practice management software, automated contract drafting, news and media monitoring, and other functions, all of which save time.
This cloud-native, artificial intelligence-powered legal solution simplifies ediscovery, legal document review, legal hold and case management. It helps legal departments to easily collect, process, and review enterprise data that is relevant or potentially relevant to legal matters, saving considerable time.
Relativity’s eDiscovery platforms offer case assessment, fact management, review, production and analytics, to help users organise data and manage compliance. One of its platforms manages large volumes of data to quickly identify key issues during litigation and internal investigations. Its AI-powered communication surveillance platform proactively detects regulatory misconduct like insider trading, collusion and other non-compliant behaviour.
This AI-powered analysis and summary platform can process and organise large amounts of documentation and data, a time-consuming part of the client onboarding process. Its virtual data room consolidates a library of legal documents, which generates AI-powered summaries of legal documents. This saves on time and costs. Their useful Smart Review feature searches through contract documentation to quickly find what users need to review.
Kira’s machine learning technology offers document review functions that reduce manual review teams’ workload. Law firms can save on resources while maintaining accuracy. It offers quick identification and extraction of specific clauses, provisions, and data points from contracts to be manually reviewed. Kira also provides tools for team and practice management.
This AI-powered platform automates legal workflows, saving law firms considerable time that can be spent on focused legal work. Alongside its high-volume contract review capabilities, Luminance can also automate contract drafting and analyse documents on a conceptual level, allowing users to easily search for conceptually similar documents. Its simple plug-and-play functionality allows lawyers with little to no technical training to use the platform effectively and quickly.
ComplyAdvantage performs AI-driven detection of fraud and anti-money laundering (AML) activity. It carries out PEPs and sanctions checks, watchlist checks, and some adverse media checks. Their sanction lists are automated so they remain up-to-date – a useful capability when sanction lists are growing and changing by the day.
What do these platforms have in common, and how are they streamlining legal client intake?
All of these platforms seriously streamline legal processes such as communications, research, time management and contract drafting. Lawyers have more time to focus on practising law, rather than wasting time on repetitive, manual tasks.
However, the scope of analysis they offer is limited to existing data sets, such as contracts, or sanctions and watchlist databases. Lawyers still need to check and analyse the information these platforms provide themselves.
Why Xapien’s intelligent software is one of the most transformative for legal client intake
Xapien offers something entirely different. It takes the transformation and modernisation of client intake compliance and onboarding to the next level, to help create a frictionless and rapid client onboarding process.
When Xapien’s automated background research software is used for client intake, speed increases, manual inaccuracies are removed, and lawyers gain a deep understanding of potential clients’ reputations, backgrounds and objectives.
This grants a greater understanding of potential clients and helps them build better relationships with those clients. With competition rife amongst law firms, this could be the difference between winning and losing a multimillion-pound engagement.
Despite the considerable resources that are invested in client due diligence, 53% of lawyers do not have confidence that their client due diligence process always provides enough information in deciding to represent a client or not, according to Thomson Reuters.
Xapien changes that.
How Xapien works
When you enter a person or business’s name into Xapien’s search engine, it searches through existing datasets, from PEPs and sanctions lists to corporate records, as well as scouring the entire web and deriving insights from open-source information.
There is simply too much information on any given topic on the internet for human researchers to read and comprehend. This is even before thinking about matters like foreign languages and greenwashing.
Xapien was created specifically to solve this problem. Its cutting edge AI technology is able to scan millions of data entries on the internet, and flag anything that might be considered a potential risk.
Manual research teams, even when equipped with database and search tools, simply cannot match the power and speed of AI. Lawyers and analysts can focus on legal strategy, decision-making, and lawyer-client relationships, rather than research.
“In years to come we'll look back and wonder how the best a computer could do for you was run a search and bring back millions of results, expecting you to piece it all together.”
– Xapien’s CCO Chris Green.
With Xapien, law firms can onboard the right clients, faster
The benefits of AI go beyond simply avoiding regulatory and reputational risks in client intake.
An average legal professional works only 2.5 hours of client-facing work per day, according to a Legal Trends Report. Xapien’s automated background reports are ready in 5 to 10 minutes. The broad and deep analysis that Xapien delivers in this timeframe generates massive increases in efficiencies in client intake processes, and bigger business opportunities.
With Xapien, law firms can:
Focus on the right clients
Client intake teams no longer need to waste time investigating clients that the firm will not ultimately onboard whether for compliance, reputational, ethical other reasons.
Onboard clients faster
In order to stay ahead of the competition, law firms need to be able to onboard the right clients, quickly. But often, compliance processes are a drag on the business. With Xapien you can get to know your client in less than 10 minutes, which means you could be working with them within half an hour.
Deliver tailored results
Xapien provides a comprehensive view of the client and their business(es) and networks. This can inform legal strategy once the client is on board. Lawyers are able to deliver genuinely tailored solutions to their clients.
Identify potential clients, risks and opportunities
By revealing associates, networks, corporate and personal interests, Xapien enables lawyers to spot future risks and opportunities for them and their clients.
Make more strategic decisions
Beyond regulatory and reputational risks, the insights generated can help the firm decide if the prospective client is a mutual fit, with the firm. This can lead to more fruitful relationships for both parties.