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Is your current document drafting process about as efficient as using a Type-Writer?

October 30, 2014
 

When you create a legal document, do you miss your bottle of White-Out? Are you nostalgic for the days when edits forced you to retype the whole thing into the Type-Writer? Not likely.
 

 

In ACL's last post, “Why should associates care about boosting efficiency?” we suggested you take a critical look at how you produce documents. To help you get started, we’ll outline your options, and explain the pros and cons of each solution. You may be surprised to learn you already own some of these.

How efficient is your current document drafting process? You probably spend more time than you’d like on quality control. After all, a single error in a legal document can have costly consequences for your client and firm. As you move toward a more automated approach, you’ll be spending less time reinventing your documents, and on the tedious work of double and triple proofreading, and more time practicing law.

Copy and Paste

Let’s start with the most basic approach. You already have dozens, if not hundreds, of paragraphs from previous documents that can be reused. You can simply copy and paste these into your new document. This approach is quick, but introduces the possibility of errors when required edits are overlooked, grammar is not corrected for the new matter, or important portions of the text are omitted in the copying process. Back to proofreading.

Standardize and Reuse

One step up from copy and paste is a feature in Microsoft Word (2007 version or later), called Quick Parts. Lawyers can store reusable paragraphs in the Quick Parts library, select the desired paragraph from a drop-down list, and insert it into the document with a single mouse click. This is certainly faster than copy and paste, but requires some up-front work and carries with it the potential for errors, as described above.

Automate and Integrate

A big step forward are document assembly systems, such as GhostDraft. This system allows you to build templates for various types of legal documents. When integrated with your case management software, GhostDraft can pull client-specific data directly into your documents based on rules that you specify. This systems is much more powerful and accurate than copy and paste, and only requires a minimal investment in time to build the documents and configure the system. For more information on how your firm can benefit from GhostDraft's Customer Communication Management software, click here.

Content + Process

At the top end of the spectrum are application-specific document assembly systems such as Automated Civil Litigation (ACL) from Korbitec. Not only does this system automate the assembly of standardized and case-specific content, but it also includes all of the forms and documents you will need across the various steps of a case. Your investment in setup time is much lower and the standardized process for completing the forms ensures that nothing is overlooked, and content is always accurate. ACL even corrects for gender, tense and grammar.

So there you have the full document assembly spectrum. Any one of these options is far better than a typewriter, but before you settle on one, carefully consider the trade-offs. The lowest cost or fastest to implement will not always produce the greatest benefits for your legal practice in the long run.

Author of Resource


Simone Fell

Vice President of Marketing

Simone is GhostDraft's Vice President of Marketing. She is responsible for GhostDraft’s brand and communications, articulating the company’s vision to accelerate strategic growth initiatives.  Simone brings nearly two decades of marketing experience, with an exciting vision for GhostDraft’s continued evolution as a market leader for Customer Communications Management Learn more...
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