Why Document Assembly?February 6, 2019 by Beth Forte
Here are three great reasons for your firm to use a document assembly application.
1. Risk Management.
In many firms, the method for creating a new document is to search for an old document which is similar to the one being created, and save it as a new document. Once the new document exists, a “find and replace” is done to update the content to the current client/matter. This poses two major problems. First, repeatedly saving new documents based on old ones causes the documents to degrade over time, resulting in damaged documents. Secondly, and most importantly, the new document potentially contains metadata from the previous client/matter, not to mention the fact that sometimes the “find” doesn’t locate every variation of the old information.
By using a document assembly application to create documents, you get clean matter data every time you create a new document. The document is client/matter specific and free of old metadata. Since the content is coming from a stored database location, the content is consistently formatted every time it is used.
2. Up to Date Content.
Using the “save as” method for creating new documents often causes the new documents to have out-of-date language or content. This is, of course, a common problem when the firm has updated standard language (and of particular concern when the document is a court filing that has missed a change to content based on updated legal precedent.)
Using a document assembly application where the language is stored in clauses allows firms to easily update a specific portion of a document when changes are needed. The new content is then immediately available to all users for creation of new documents. The content stored in the document assembly clause also can pull data from a shared matter file, resulting in more consistently accurate documents. (See “Risk Management” above.)
3. More Efficient Use of Time.
The “save as” method for creating new documents is a time-consuming process where the person creating the document must find an old document similar enough to be a good starting point for the new document. This search process usually takes considerable time. After a suitable document is found, then a find and replace must occur to update the data in the new document to reflect the current client/matter.
While the initial investment of setting up a document assembly solution is labor intensive on the front end, it saves exponential time over the long run, giving your firm the ability to quickly create cleanly formatted, client/matter specific documents with little effort. These documents are reproducible with much greater efficiency, allowing more time for other duties or adjustment to attorney/assistant ratios.
Assemble-It is an application which is integrated with both Microsoft Word and MatterLink, providing matter-specific data to documents by placing it in Word content controls. The ability to link a document to a matter also allows for ease of updating a document if the matter details change prior to the finalization of the document.
Using Assemble-It is easy enough that anyone can create documents with minimal training. Assemble-It also allows users to create their own clauses and clause libraries for their own frequently used content. It allows for the storage of any content which can be inserted into a Microsoft Word document, including but not limited to text, images, tables and shapes.
Project Manager and Application Specialist
Published: February 6, 2019