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How Lawyers Can Reduce Stress by Using Contract Review Software

— August 10, 2021

I can’t stress this enough: to bring value to your clients, you don’t need to burn yourself out.

You probably know that 90% of U.S. legal pros are registered on LinkedIn. If you take a quick tour around their accounts, you’ll see many of them sharing how hard it is to allow themselves to take a break, even when they feel unwell. The following message usually prevails: “It was so hard for me to take a sick leave and let myself have a rest”. Hundreds of I-feel-super-stressed-out-too comments under posts like this prove that work-related stress is a serious industry-wide issue. 

But what makes lawyers’ jobs so stressful? And, even more importantly, how can one fix this while bringing even more value to clients? 

The answer to the first question is simple — it’s deadlines and overwork. The answer to the second question is simple, too. You can try out contract review software to automate routine tasks. This way, you’ll get more control over deadlines and ultimately boost your value in the clients’ eyes.

Tight deadlines and overwork are the main causes of stress 

Unfortunately, many lawyers fall into the overwork trap. According to the ABA Legal Technology Survey Report of 2019, 17% of law practitioners disagree with the statement: “My job allows me to spend adequate time with my family.” Meanwhile, 25% of respondents say they are not taking adequate breaks during the workday. The pessimistic number of 16% of respondents confess to not devoting time for themselves at all. 

There are several reasons for the overwork culture thriving. Lawyers are pressured to meet clients’ expectations and outrun the competition. That’s why they tend to sacrifice their spare time and personal needs to work as much as possible. What’s more, overwork is something lawyers get financial rewards for. According to Bloomberg’s recent piece, law practitioners can receive as much as $164,000 if they keep working 100 hours per week. 

Constant work and the need to come up with effective contract solutions under a tight deadline keep lawyers’ stress levels very high. The conveyor of contracts to draft and review never stops. Meanwhile, the average number of contracts a lawyer needs to process each day is five or more. That’s some 25 contracts per week and a hundred contracts per month.

Man and woman reviewing contract; image by Rawpixel, via
Image by Rawpixel, via

Contract drafting can be stressful not only because lawyers have to use their business and legal expertise to their best ability every single time and are not allowed to fail. It’s also stressful because legal pros usually drown in the huge number of meticulous, low-value, yet extremely time-consuming jobs that stand in the way of more higher-value tasks. According to an anonymous post on Quora, an average lawyer spends as much as about 4 hours a day doing these tasks, namely, proofreading, marking, and editing contracts. This slows down the whole process, which adds to the stress caused by a tight deadline.

How to optimize contract review to tame deadlines and free up time for higher-value work

The good news is that these basic tasks can be easily automated and, as a result, take much less valuable time. That’s why some 58% of law offices are already utilizing document review software. Supervised by humans, such software can analyze a contract of any length in a matter of seconds. It can highlight all the missing terms, mistakes, and inaccuracies. It is also good at tackling broken formatting and numbering. 

Ultimately, contract review software boosts the speed and accuracy of contract drafting and review. This helps lawyers save hours of their work time, get more control over deadlines, and, as a result, feel much less stressed out. 

To wrap up, overwork and deadlines make lawyers’ jobs incredibly stressful. Using legal tech such as contract review tools can help lawyers switch from automatable formatting tasks to finding the best legal solutions for their clients. By extension, it also gives lawyers more time for so much-needed rest. 

I can’t stress this enough: to bring value to your clients, you don’t need to burn yourself out. All you need to do is to optimize your work by delegating basic yet time-consuming contract drafting and review jobs to legal tech. This way, you can focus on the things you are best at — creative and strategic tasks — and improve your productivity and well-being.

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