AI Legal Assistants Are Bringing Law Into 21st Century
To say that the legal claims process can be exasperating for many is nothing new. But with customer services collapsing across every sector over the course of the past year, it’s fair to say that the frustrations associated with legal proceedings and support are felt more acutely.
This disruption couldn’t have come at a worst time to many law firms. Customer experience has become an even more important battleground for lawyers, especially in the personal injury sector. Clients just don’t want to be tied to communicating between 9-5; they want customized information and tools adapted to their specific requirements; and, most importantly, they want their issues resolved as quickly and easily as possible.
However, scaling the specialist support to meet such client expectations is immensely difficult, especially for smaller firms. For those following traditional working practices, this can feel like choosing between your clients’ or employees’ wellbeing.
A human-like, automated experience
Unwilling to choose between the internal and external experience of my firm, we looked at how emerging technologies – specifically artificial intelligence (AI) – would enable us to scale our service to meet growing client demands, while also relieving some immediate pressure from our case managers by automating lower-value, repetitive tasks.
However, it was critical that we didn’t let our client engagements become mechanical and impersonal. After all, when someone asks you to take their case, they have to trust that there is someone that’s going to fight – and win – for them. That basically eliminated traditional chatbot and RPA solutions from our search; we didn’t want our clients getting stuck and frustrated by a limited decision-tree process. Instead, conversational AI felt like a perfect solution that could offer our clients a more human-like experience.
Hiring a digital legal assistant
Working with our partner, Amelia, an IPsoft company, we developed a digital legal assistant that would not only support our clients, but also improve the employee experience across our eight offices. Also named Amelia, the conversational AI-powered assistant has taken on the administrative duties for hundreds of intake workers, case managers, paralegals and attorneys across the firm. This has helped us improve client experiences and minimize delays, while empowering our managers to focus on building better cases.
But what does this look like in practice? There’s three key roles that our digital legal assistant has taken on:
- Customer Inquiry Agent – Amelia has become the first point of contact for our clients over the phone. She identifies the claim and then automatically connects the client to the team member that is handling the case. Amelia is currently handling 20,000 phone calls per month from start to finish, which represents 65% of all calls, end-to-end. Over the past year Amelia has been involved with over 1.5 million visitors. We are impressed with the reaction of our clients and visitors. These interactions continue to improve and create an environment whereby our visitors’ needs are being met. In addition to improving the experience and time to resolution for client enquiries, Amelia also has saved our firm morethan $10,000 monthly by acting as our after-hours phone system in place of contracting an answering service. The other benefit to our visitors is fewer handoff delays. The conversations are completed in one transaction. When we look at Amelia as one of our Intake Specialists, she is responsible for 12% of our overall new case signups.
- Case Manager Assistance – Amelia is also supporting our busy case managers by handling most of the questions that come through the website and client portal. She now supports our site’s 40,000 monthly visitors, which in turn has alleviated our case managers’ workloads. Providing this immediate support has really enhanced our customer service program and made us a lot more competitive, particularly against the conglomerates to whom scale doesn’t seem as great a challenge.
- Customer Portal Support – In addition to providing customer service, Amelia also empowers our clients to navigate their Client Portaland keep their records up to date with everything that could support their case. For example, to build a strong case we ask our clients to input their information into an electronic health journal every day, as this helps case managers track injuries that may not be apparent immediately following an accident. She also monitors the information inputted into the health record and will escalate any significant updates to the case manager to intervene as required. This has improved the accuracy of patient records, while also giving precious time back to our case managers to focus on building a solid case for our clients.
A new age and a new experience of law
The legal industry is still very traditional in its ways of working. Yet, what felt like an exciting, but the potentially risky venture has proved to be integral to the success of our law firm over the past 12 months. At a time when competitors were struggling to handle the volume of customer service enquiries, with the flaws of outdated processes exacerbated by teams scattered by the pandemic, our digital legal assistant continued to support our clients 24/7 without disruption. If that doesn’t prove ROI, I’m not sure what does.
We’re just at the start of our journey with AI. I’m confident that we’ve just scratched at the surface of what’s capable. Indeed, one of our next ventures will be to create a new sophisticated avatar for our digital legal assistant in my own image. Hiring Amelia has made me excited about the future of our industry; with digital legal assistants, we are calling time on law’s stuffy imagine and giving our clients the customer service that they deserve in this digital age.