Automation vs. Human Capital: Which is Better for Legal Practice Management?

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October 21, 2023

There is a common misconception that automation is always superior to human capital.  Though automation is certainly beneficial in the context of efficiency, there is distinct and meaningful value in at least a partial reliance on human capital.  When it comes to law firms, the question is whether practice management software is superior to legal staff.  Below, we address this question.

People or Computers in the Context of Legal Work

If you are like most managing attorneys and law office managers, you are rightfully wondering whether it is better to prioritize practice management technology or human capital.  There is no concrete answer to this question yet in most instances, legal practice automation highlighted by artificial intelligence is superior to human capital.

Modern legal technology has advanced to the point that it is now possible to automate a considerable percentage of legal work, freeing attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries, and other legal support staff to solve comparably complex problems.  The bottom line is it simply does not make sense for your team to perform repetitive legal tasks that can be fully or partially automated.

Expedite the Client Lifecycle

Above all, what matters most is operational efficiency.  Tap into the power of law firm practice management technology and you will be able to automate processes including client intake, opening new files, conflict checks, date docketing, and more.  Let your software handle these tasks and your team will be freed up to embrace comparably challenging tasks that require critical thinking.  

Keep in mind, nearly three-quarters of all small law firms indicate they endure challenges in the context of investing an excess of time performing administrative tasks as opposed to billable work.  Opt to automate such tasks with the right software and that much more time can be dedicated to client interactions as well as complex problem-solving.

Recognize the Value of the Human Mind

Some law firm tasks simply cannot or should not be automated.  Resist the temptation to find a computerized solution to every single legal project, opt for human ingenuity when necessary and you’ll strike the perfect balance between automation and human capital.  

Strive to maintain the balance between human capital and automated tools, rely on your team to oversee AI-driven processes, and entrust them to solve problems as they arise.  When in doubt, err on the side of overemphasizing the role of your practice management software as doing so will ramp up your efficiency to the point that your staff is liberated to provide ongoing oversight in the form of quality control that ultimately boosts your bottom line.