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  • Writer's pictureJulie Saliba

Getting engagement on your automation project

Ensuring your document automation initiatives get buy-in and user adoption

You’ve invested a huge amount of time, energy and resource in your automation project.

But this is only half the story.

Its success depends on engagement and user adoption from its intended userbase in your law firm or orgnanisation.

How can you ensure this is a thread throughout the project life-cycle so your investment in legal technology does not fall flat at the first hurdle?

We asked our team of document automation experts at for their thoughts:

1. Identify the right project

Use DMS usage stats to understand where the commonly used precedents or templates are. Then speak to lawyers to work out an automation strategy that will give maximum benefits for minimum automation complexity and development time. Choose a "Goldilocks" document or suite that is not too simple nor too complex and use a phased approach to deliver benefits quickly and keep the momentum and enthusiasm going.

2. Identify the right team

Buy-in at partner/senior management level is vital to ensure success, but also consider the wider project team. Look across the organisation to identify a range of enthusiastic and motivated individuals, from trainees to associates to partners. Each has a role to play championing document automation to their peers and giving valuable feedback based on their own perspective. For those logging time, consider a separate billing code with targets so that their time invested is recognised and rewarded.

3. Automate what matters

Deliver value to the userbase by automating frequently used options that are time consuming and/or difficult to draft. Speak to lawyers to establish drafting pain points and template owners about their wish lists, usually arising from the userbase.

4. Collect pre-and post-automation stats

Statistics are powerful, especially when used in conjunction with other qualitive techniques such as user quotes. It’s helpful to have a benchmark on which to compare the automated results. For example, you might ask how long this work would take to complete without automation and compare against the drafting time of an automated version. Combining that with usage statistics and extrapolating that over weeks/months also provides some great messaging opportunities to evidence project success.

Another useful statistic to focus messaging on, is the amount of amalgamation that has taken place. Whether that is combining 30 precedents down to just 5 templates or cleaning up consistency errors, try and keep track of how much value automating has added.

5. Align communications with high-interest initiatives

Make sure your messaging and communications are in the right place, for the right people to see. Position materials in areas that attract those who are consuming legal technology content. This could be your innovation hub newsletters, or tech incubator updates or even a physical presence at an internal roadshow.

Consider other "hot" non-tech initiatives such as efficiency or recoverability drives to align messaging with the organisation's wider strategy and gain traction.

6. Use peer to peer messaging

Involve evangelical partners and lawyers in launch messaging. Get them to demonstrate to others how the automated template improves their drafting efficiency and quality and client service. Use stories to connect and influence.

7. Shout (widely) about it

Use whatever means at your disposal to keep document automation on the firm’s radar. Internal chat groups, intranets, firm-wide newsletters and demos are all ways to spread the message about the success of your projects. Some of our customers also have a steering group of partners that help as document automation ambassadors.

Consider creating videos and using sound bites from practice areas. People enjoy content in different ways, so look to bring that alive in as many formats as possible to reach as wide an audience as possible in your organisation.

8. Change management

There are other things that can be done to aid buy-in from a change management and user behaviour perspective depending on the culture of your law firm or organisation. This could include ensuring the links to the automated versions are in the same place or as easily accessible as the flat (unautomated) precedents or even removing access to unautomated versions completely. Adding a module on automated precedents to the new joiner or trainee and lateral hire training programmes is also a great way to get newcomers off to a good start!

Getting engagement is one of the key aspects of a successful document automation project and influences how well other legal technology projects will be received. Getting the right template, mix of people and communications strategy all help to increase awareness, usage and maintain engagement.

At, we are experts in helping law firms create and implement legal technology and document automation projects. If you would like to speak with one of our team about how we could help your law firm or legal team, contact us here:

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