With headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, Husch Blackwell is a law firm of approximately 700 attorneys in 19 offices across the U.S. The company delivers legal solutions coupled with business and industry insight to help clients address their most complex business challenges.
A few operational areas inside the firm were experiencing bottlenecks, as staff had to perform time-consuming tasks to complete work. Some members of the company attended a conference where they learned about Robotic Process Automation (RPA), saw how automation technology was being used, and realized it made sense for their business. With use cases in mind, Husch Blackwell’s pipeline for automation ideas began to grow.
Husch Blackwell talked with different companies about how they managed their bots before running its own proof-of-concept (POC) scenarios. Instead of focusing on easier processes, such as automating accounting invoices, which is often implemented first by other companies, the firm specifically tailored its automation program to fit within the legal environment. This was something that had not been done before by any other firm. After looking at scalability, security, and the departments that were mature enough to manage their own bots, Husch Blackwell began automating processes specific to its law practice.
• Conflict checks
• Potential litigation alerts
• 100% Automated e-mail alerts of potential clients
• 800 Hours saved annually
• 13 Automation ideas in the pipeline
One of the first bots implemented focused on the firm’s conflicts check process, which involves examining computerized lists of clients and cases to determine whether a lawyer has ever represented a party with conflicting interests to the new clients. Automating this process as a set of bot tasks freed employees from scanning email or a database for the information needed.
“Get RPA in the door, find some key wins, and use that to gain momentum. Then it’s easy to get people in the
business to listen.” — Blake Rooney, Chief Information Officer
When one of the firm’s managing attorneys expressed interest in getting information about potential litigation quicker, the RPA team figured out a way to use a bot to scan a daily email the company received and highlight potential litigation. The bot then took the information and ran it against the firm’s client list to pull out more information, such as the relationship manager assigned and when he or she last worked with the client.
“RPA empowers employees to do their jobs because it’s consistent, repeatable, audited, and acts as a force multiplier since they can do more.” — Gene D’Aversa, Director of Project Management IT
This digested information was then packaged into another email and distributed to the related internal department so that team could take a closer look at the likely prospects needing legal services. Although this bot is relatively new and the business impact hasn’t been measured yet, the potential of the bot to help the company obtain new business is expected to make a big impact.
Husch Blackwell is in the process of adopting IQ Bot, the only cognitive bot that incorporates vision skills to add structure to unstructured content with the ability to get more accurate over time. Once implemented, it will be able to process courthouse documents in different formats, extract needed information, and perform whatever automation is desired. Before IQ Bot, processing email attachments from different courts could take one person hours, if not days.
The firm has 13 ideas in the automation pipeline, and its RPA team meets regularly to discuss which ideas have merit and the highest return on investment. Husch Blackwell is starting to investigate opportunities to improve inefficiencies in knowledge management, the area that helps retain and win new business. It also plans to send its process improvement and automation architect to offices to keep evangelizing RPA and get employees excited about it.