getting started

Intro to legal practice automations

Updated: October 22, 2020

Welcome to Community.lawyer, the most powerful "no code" automation builder for legal service professionals.

What is a legal practice automation?

Legal practice automation is the category we use to describe the things made on the Community.lawyer platform. There are three types of things you can make:

  1. Legal Apps: Essentially robust online forms (also known as expert systems or guided interviews). Legal Apps ask questions, populate documents, and can send / pull data from databases.
  2. Workbase: This is our database product. It looks like a spreadsheet but is far more powerful. You can easily create relational tables in a Workbase.
  3. Client Portals: Use Client Portals to create your own platform (i.e. portal) where users can log in, use your Apps, and view some of all the data in your Workbase.

You will likely end up combining Legal Apps with a Workbase. You may or may not end up using Client Portals.

In the end, your "legal practice automations" will include the following basic mechanics: 

  • Ask questions via an online form
  • Apply logic to the responses collected from your online form (e.g. you tell me where you live, the number of people in your household, and your combined household income, I can apply logic to tell you where you fall on the Federal Poverty Guidelines)
  • Populate document templates
  • Pull data from, or send data to, a database

These basic mechanics can help bridge the Access to Justice Gap, create profitable LegalZoom-like products, and elevate the work of attorneys to true legal challenges.

What are common use-cases?

By far, the most common use-case for Community.lawyer is building what's known as a "guided interview that populates documents" (what we simply call a Legal App). As in all things, context is important. This basic structure (ask someone questions, populate documents) can be used for many different things, including: 

Less common, but structurally very similar, are those Apps that ask questions and use the responses not to populate documents but to provide legal advice / information, such as:

How do you build automations? 

No technical experience is required. All you need is a free Community.lawyer account. It is 100% free to build and test legal practice automations (you may need to buy a Community.lawyer subscription when you wish to "activate" your automation).

We highly recommend getting started with this Beginner's Tutorial.

The Community.lawyer University (this website), will teach you everything you need to know. Starting with the most important concept to building automations: variables.

Contact us for support

Talk to a real person, quickly. We're available 9am - 5pm EST.