My generation: document automation tools for lawyers
If you're constructing documents from templates and clause
libraries with the capacity to make global changes, you'll be
generating those documents much faster than you would by making
edits manually, or via homespun remedies. I recently interviewed HotDocs' chief
technology officer Lowell Stewart concerning some additional
advantages of document generation (you can listen to that audio, here). But my sense is that I'm likely
preaching to the converted. Most lawyers want to manage their
documents better. They just don't know where to start.
Fortunately, there are a number of applications available, at
various price points, and across platforms. There is the
aforementioned HotDocs, which is used in the legal environment.
But, at an even more basic level, most lawyers have built-in
document- and email-building tools that they are unaware of.
Between Microsoft's QuickParts and Outlook Signatures, tools are already in place
(delivered by a near-ubiquitous office suite system) for lawyers to
more quickly work up documents and emails.
Tool is a relatively inexpensive program that integrates with
Microsoft Word. For those with more upscale tastes for document
generation and management applications, NetDocuments (reviewed here) and Brightleaf (reviewed here) are popular choices, as is Worldox. And,
lest the Mac set feel left out, these are some popular programs in
that line: XpressDox, Turner, DraftOnce, MacSimplePrompter, FileMaker
Pro and Daylite, which is more of a practice
management utility with some limited document management features.
Most attorneys use Daylite in conjunction with HotDocs, which
is available on the Mac. (If you're looking for
more information about using Apple products in your law firm, check
out LOMAP's new
resource hub: LoMac.)
Let's face it: Working is lame. Working too hard is even lamer.
If you can effectively leverage document generation tools, you'll
be able to move through, and onto other, projects more quickly.
Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office
Management Assistance Program.
Published February 13, 2014
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Cynthia E.
MacCausland or Vice Chair Damian J.