Documents are the lifeblood of a law practice. The preparation of motions, appeals, forms, agreements, contracts, probate forms, civil litigation filings, and thousands of other legal documents exact countless of hours of effort on the part of attorneys and legal staff each year.
Law teams constantly draft and change matter-specific document, often starting with a similar document from another client file, and using a copy/edit process to change pertinent details to match the case at hand. This approach is known to be used in many practice areas.
The manual process is slow, tedious, and error prone. Errors in legal documents are embarrassing at best, and at worst may result in malpractice charges or even disbarment.
Document automation – also called document assembly – software has been around for well over 20 years, and is in use in many document-intensive industries, including banking, insurance, manufacturing, and legal. Are attorneys and paralegals at your firm are still using a manual document creation process? If so, it’s time to consider document automation as a way to improve efficiency and profitability.
What is legal document automation?
The technology behind document automation keeps advancing, but at its core, document automation is the process of taking the documents and forms you use every day and converting them into dynamic templates that can be used in the future to create and prepare new documents. The document automation software guides the user who is creating the document through an interview in order to input the crucial information for populating the variables in the templates.
Document templates eliminate the errors that come from cutting and pasting. Each field, signature block or caption can be populated instantly and accurately from a database of information specific to the client and case, generating ready-to-print documents with simple filling in the blanks and mouse clicks.
Better understand the benefits of HotDocs for your law firm with your free copy of LegalTech’s Document Management and Assembly Buyers Guide.
Benefits of legal document automation for lawyers
There are many benefits to legal document automation software including:
Defined templates in document automation tools allow firms to closely adhere to approved business rules set by internal or industry authorities. Enable template version control to ensure all users or systems that produce documents use the latest, most compliant version. Many firms have rigid style guides governing Promote standardization to ensure that all assembled documents comply with internal brand guidelines including paper size, fonts, margins, spacing, printing and binding, and other standards.
Enhanced customer service
Today’s clients are technologically savvy, and will be more likely to engage a firm that offers self-service. Document automation demonstrates that your firm is savvy, too. Rapid delivery is something clients increasingly expect and demand. An easy to use document preparation process that involves the client provides a better experience and improves client loyalty.
Improve productivity by speeding up the document creation process by automating repetitive work. In a recent podcast discussion on Legaltech News entitled “How Document Automation Tools Can Help You Maintain Productivity in a Virtual Environment,” Korey Lawrence of AbacusNext and David Brickman of Rocket Docket shared the sad facts from a law firm benchmarking exercise. Using the traditional copy/paste/edit method to create a new document took on average three hours and incurred six errors in punctuation, spellings, omissions or printing.
Improved document accuracy
The use of well-designed templates speeds up the process of document creation, and helps lawyers ensure their documents are compliant and contain the correct details. In the law firm benchmarking example described above, the same document created using HotDocs was complete in fifteen minutes and 100% accurate.
In the end, legally and technically accurate work is the goal. Legal technology is advancing legal workflow management, and document management is a proven solution. Legal document automation helps eliminate human errors that can creep into manual processes while reducing wasted time and associated costs, protecting your firm against legal issues stemming from inaccurate, non-compliant content.
See HotDocs in action to learn how organizations are leveraging document automation and document assembly to increase efficiency, reduce risk, and eliminate errors! HotDocs is the market leading provider of document automation software with more than one million end users in over 11,000 client companies globally.