Appellate Advocacy Blog

Editor: Tessa L. Dysart
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Integrating Automation Into Your Practice


It's hard to try something new, especially for lawyers. And that goes doubly for technology. But tech is here to stay. And when you're ready, one of the most exciting areas to explore is automation. 

Automation can be simple. It's more of a mindset than any one fancy tool. The idea is straightforward: Identify things that you do a lot, preferably small and monotonous tasks. Then figure out what tools you can use to automate them. 

At the easiest and simplest end, small steps like creating document templates are a form of automation. So is making information handy by creating, say, a database of reference documents that you use a lot. 

As you dive deeper, a world of possibilities opens up. Automations allow you to unlock the true power of technology and processes, carrying out endless potential tasks that you would normally have to do yourself, or delegate to others.

You can automate some tasks using a tool's own features. For example, Outlook’s quick steps feature does some automating. The task-management application Todoist lets you set some automated tasks like creating a new to-do anytime you send an email to a special address. 

But using a tool like Zapier, you can link different pieces of technology together, creating triggered automations that can tackle all sorts of things for you. Simply select two tools you use a lot and start exploring all the automations you can set up.

Want to send all documents from a certain email-sender to a folder in your Google Drive? Easy. Want to have all responses to your Tweets uploaded to a folder for you to peruse at once? Tools like Zapier can do that in a few minutes. 

For lawyers the possibilities are endless. We use so many applications now, and the ability to connect them all up and create automations is a gamechanger. 


Another side to the automation conversation is document automation. Tools like Documate have jumped onto the legal tech scene, allowing anyone to create apps (with no programming experience) that can automate much of your document-creation process. Create templates that will collect information from your team or clients and watch these tools assemble your document in moments. And all with a user interface so intuitive, you'll feel like it's an iPhone. 

DocumateWith many of us working from home now, and all the pressure to get more efficient--it's the perfect time to explore automation. Know going in that it's a new skill set and will take some time to learn. But the payoff will be worth it.

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