Build or Buy? How to Choose Legal Document Assembly Software
One reason some law firms hesitate to start using document assembly software is because they don’t fully understand how it works. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?
The problem with this thinking is that you end up missing out on an easy way to save money and make your processes more efficient—and achieve the golden goose of fewer hours spent on paperwork, more hours spent on billable work. There’s a reason Richard Susskind named document assembly as one of ten disruptive technologies altering the face of the legal profession—it really works! Here’s how:
Created in the late 1970s, document assembly software has only recently really started catching on with lawyers. It automates the creation of legal documents that are used repeatedly, like wills, leases, contracts and letters. The goal is to replace the time-consuming and repetitive manual completing (read “copying and pasting”) of documents with a template-based system. After you select a template, the software asks a series of questions and uses your answers to populate the template and provide you with a finished document, thereby saving you time on document preparation.
Seth Rowland and Rose Rowland, of legal technology consultancy Basha Systems, LCC, divide document assembly software into two categories: Buy and Build.
With “buy” software, a system of pre-crafted legal documents gives you the ability to select a document, answer a series of questions, and produce a finished document in less than 15 minutes. These systems make document preparation about as fast and simple as it can get.
“Build” software offers a do-it-yourself approach. You build your own automated templates, using your own words, your own rules and your own intake forms. Some systems allow you to build templates on your desktop, while others are web-based solutions. Build systems require more time initially but offer an excellent option if you prefer to customize language in documents.
The kind of document assembly software that will work best for your firm depends on your preferences, but rest assured you will find software available that will work for you and can be customized to fit your exact needs.
If you’re interested in testing the waters before committing, start with a free trial of JurisDOC software, and see how it can be useful in your practice—saving time and turning that time into money. Find your free trial at https://www.jurisdocpro.com/download.