Document Automation 101

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No matter what area of law you specialize in, document creation takes time. Whether you’re drafting an offer letter for a client about to buy their first home or writing up a living will, these documents are dense, technical and one of the most time-consuming tasks you deal with on a daily basis.

Luckily with today’s technology, you no longer have to create these commonly-used documents from scratch. Document automation tools now enable lawyers and their staff to save basic templates of the files they create most often and auto-populate them with their client’s specific case information. Want to learn more about how this process works? Keep reading to find out!

What is document automation?

Document automation is the powerful concept of entering data once, and then utilizing that data many times in many documents – ensuring that important information stays organized. Whether sending an email or taking notes on a client’s case, document automation can draw from previous data to reduce human errors, making the chance for mistakes very small. This means you and the other staff at your firm will spend less time creating documents, and even less time correcting them.

While document automation achieves efficient results for everyday documents, document assembly allows you to quickly manage more complex documents. Assembly uses what you filled out in your previous form to identify what the next form should contain. Document assembly will learn with you and ask questions that are the most appropriate for your document’s need. It’s also easy to exclude irrelevant sections in assembly, making your forms easily customizable depending on the client.

What are the benefits of document automation?

In a world where client service expectations are at an all-time high, spending hours each week creating documents is no longer a productive use of time. But, when small law firms are so focused on creating error-free files from scratch, the time dedicated to other aspects of the job, like serving clients, tends to dwindle. Firms that use document automation software can create documents in seconds – allowing them the time to focus on what really matters, their clients.

What type of documents can I automate?

Document automation and document assembly can be used in a wide variety of areas such as family law attorneys, estate planning, and real estate closings. Within these specified fields, document automation can assist in the creation of blank letterheads, legal documents, templates and much more. Both of these tools will ensure that your small law firm stays on track to not only make a profit, but have a better work life balance and a better relationship with your clients.

Whether your firm is looking to improve client service or reduce document errors, implementing a document automation tool can help solve many of the problems small law firms face.

Visit our site to learn more about document automation. Stay tuned to our monthly Smokeball Academy classes.


By |October 22nd, 2015|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.