H. Edwin Detlie is an Iowa-based attorney operating a solo legal practice out of two offices approximately 100 miles apart. Detlie began using HotDocs in its first release and recalls thinking, at the time, “that HotDocs was the first application that actually did everything that it promised.” With all the functionality added in subsequent releases, Detlie points out that HotDocs has retained its “core stability” and the company has retained its “commitment to customer service.”
“I use HotDocs constantly in my practice,” states Detlie, “and I have developed dozens of templates that help me with my practice every day. The process of preparing and revising templates is intuitive, and every minute I invest on templates is repaid in dozens of hours saved.” Detlie uses HotDocs to generate standard letters, forms, State and Federal pleadings, and briefs, as well as questionnaires that aid him in preparing for hearings. He also uses .pdf templates for State and Federal forms, which he can then add to in Adobe Acrobat. He has been impressed by their Tech Support, which he describes as “exemplary.”
He added, “When HotDocs began offering online document assembly for smaller firms, I knew it was a great option for my two-office practice. I use HotDocs Developer to develop and revise templates, including .pdf templates. I then upload them to HotDocs Document Services, and I can securely access them anywhere, using a browser. It means that my client answers are available wherever I am, in a secure environment. I can complete the interview, entering client information, and download the documents, in Word, WordPerfect or Acrobat format, to my desktop. It required almost no effort to switch over, and I am thrilled at the ability to do the work online to better serve my clients.”
Detlie’s Core Practice Areas
Detlie’s core practice is divided into two main areas: Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability.
Using HotDocs, Detlie prepares mediation brochures for insurance adjustors and defense attorneys in workers’ compensation cases to present an attractive, professional, and compelling case for each client in preparation for settlement negotiations. Detlie has designed some of his HotDocs templates to generate as many as three or four related documents from a single case file. For instance, one of Detlie’s templates generates a hearing questionnaire for a Worker’s Compensation hearing and simultaneously creates a draft post‐hearing brief to submit to the Administrative Law Judge along with a prehearing letter to the client, setting out the date, time and place of the hearing, and reminding the client to meet Detlie at the location 30 minutes before the hearing.
Since the Iowa State Bar Association’s IowaDocs product is also built on HotDocs, Detlie can generate all his Workers’ Compensation forms, such as Original Notice and Petition, settlement forms, and applications for other relief, all from the same familiar HotDocs interface. Given that case law is constantly changing, Detlie can revise hearing questionnaires and briefs to include new cases or principles. Detlie has also designed addendum templates to attach to the various application forms, including case law and the facts which support the client’s application.
Social Security Disability
Detlie’s Social Security Disability practice runs on client contact along with medical records and forms. Just as with the rest of his practice, Detlie’s social security practice is streamlined with HotDocs. “I use a Social Security forms product running on HotDocs,” states Detlie. “I also have a hearing questionnaire in the same template as a pre‐hearing letter to my client and a pre‐hearing letter brief to the Administrative Law Judge who is to decide the case, so that all those documents are generated at once.”
Miscellaneous Practice Templates
Detlie has “a couple dozen other templates” that he uses from time to time, including a United States District Court complaint, a United States District Court brief, a motion for attorney fees with a series of complex cost‐of‐living calculations built into the template, and other documents for United States District Court proceedings.
“HotDocs is central to my practice,” states Detlie, “and helps me do a better job for my clients. I have noticed that the pace of innovation within HotDocs has picked up, and that the recent changes within HotDocs, such as online access to HotDocs, will make it even more useful.”