How Law Firms Can Benefit from Key Features in HotDocs

April 9, 2019  |  Document Assembly, Document Automation, Document Generation, Document Services

Law Firms Can Benefit from Key Features in HotDocs

Are you making the most of HotDocs? Here are five great features that make it more efficient for your firm to generate documents:

1. Maintenance of Standard Clauses

Updating clauses that appear in more than one type of document (e.g. jurisdiction and enforcement clauses) requires changing every document that contains those clauses. This makes maintaining clauses administratively taxing for law firms.

With HotDocs, you can maintain such clauses in a single location. When you need to update a clause, you don’t have to make the change more than once. From that point on, the new wording will appear in every document that uses that clause.

Maintaining standard clauses through HotDocs preserves all the functionality of a normal HotDocs template; HotDocs reflects both static text and the answers you give in the interview (e.g. client name, address, and contact details) in the inserted standard clause. This means, HotDocs can easily tailor the standard clause to each assembled document (in addition to saving administrative effort maintaining standard clauses). It’s just another way HotDocs makes drafting documents efficient.

2. Execution Pages and Signature Blocks

It’s often time-consuming and error-prone to check that execution requirements for different parties have been correctly observed, particularly when you’re dealing with international clients or parties with different legal forms.

HotDocs eliminates these concerns by automating the inclusion of signature blocks and execution pages. A HotDocs template can select appropriate execution pages based on the data you provide during the interview and repeat those pages to match the number of parties signing. It also labels each signature block with the appropriate requirements.

With a template developed this way, you can take on many parties with different execution requirements; just provide the parties’ details and let HotDocs select the correct execution pages.

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3. Control of Options Requiring Special Action from the Drafter

Legal documents often require the drafter or reviewer to take special action when drafting. For example, a proposed contract might require approval from a partner because of the sums involved, or a matter involving multiple jurisdictions might require consultation with local counsel before the draft can be completed. When preparing documents by hand, law firms rely on the drafter or reviewer to notice when action needs to be taken, which is always prone to human error.

HotDocs reduces or removes this possibility of error by controlling which options you can select when preparing a document and presenting alerts (and other information) for you to act on before proceeding. Entering answers in the interview that require special action prompts HotDocs to present alert text with the required action. HotDocs may require you to confirm that you’ve read the text before allowing you to continue. If you’ve selected prohibited options, HotDocs may require you to change one or more of your answers to complete the draft. You can also dynamically insert warning text in the assembled document (e.g. on a cover sheet), which lists any required actions. If you need to take more than one action, HotDocs can create a companion document to accompany the assembled draft that notes which actions need to be completed before the draft can be approved.

4. Automated Proofreading Tasks

When you manually create documents (especially long ones), you expend a lot of effort on proofreading to ensure precision and professionalism. The time it takes to handle these issues can become excessive and interfere with your productivity.

HotDocs eliminates many proofreading tasks by handling minor wording details during document assembly. With HotDocs, you won’t have to worry about the following issues: ensuring the appropriate use of singulars and plurals for party references; using correct date and number formats; and updating cross-references and Tables of Contents to reflect the newly assembled document.

5. Ensuring Consistency of Reference to Parties

It can be challenging to ensure consistency (as it relates to parties) across multiple documents, especially when different drafters edit them. However, HotDocs makes sure party references are consistent through your documents.

Simply input a name (sometimes a long-form and short-form name) in the interview, and HotDocs will automatically populate all documents with the appropriate name(s). This reduces user error when duplicating the name. If another drafter needs to create a related document sometime down the line, HotDocs allows them to reuse some or all of the original drafter’s answers. This ensures consistent references throughout all documents.

Could your firm use a tool like HotDocs to boost efficiency? Schedule a free demo today to find out how HotDocs technology will transform your firm.

Next time you’re working in HotDocs, make sure you’ve tailored these settings to your practice. With HotDocs, your firm will efficiently produce accurate and professional documents.

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