Overcoming Resistance to Document Assembly

It’s common for us to speak with an attorney who wants to bring cloud-based document assembly, such as DraftOnce, to his or her law firm, but who wonders how to get other attorneys on board with new technology. Here are three of the most common objections we hear and our suggestions for overcoming them.

1. We bill by the hour. Why would our law firm want to implement a tool that reduces billable hours?

Short Answer: To better serve a larger number of clients.

If it typically takes an hour to put together a standard document for your client, it would only take 10 minutes with DraftOnce. There are two benefits here, increasing client satisfaction and increasing the number of clients you can handle.

The less time spent on searching and replacing in that old standard-document template, the more time can be spent actually focusing on client matters. In other words, from your client’s perspective, you’ve just increased the value added by your law firm. Happy clients become long-term clients and produce new clients through word of mouth.

2. We have some attorneys in our law firm who refuse to give up their Dictaphone/typewriter/shorthand assistant. How can we convince them to change?

Short answer: They won’t change, so don’t waste time trying to get them to change.

Leave them to their old ways. Focus on those who want to try document assembly, look for early wins and use the wins to convince other colleagues who may be on the fence.

Woody Allen still uses a 50-year-old typewriter to write all of his scripts and scissors to cut and paste his scripts together. That may work for Woody Allen. It may even work for a few partners. It won’t be efficient for most attorneys, and it’s no way to compete in today’s legal market.

We recommend beginning with one practice area or type of standard document first and roll DraftOnce out to other areas over time. It’s a transition—it can happen as slowly or quickly as you want.

3. Our documents must be secure and we don’t trust the cloud. Can we just put DraftOnce on our server?

Short answer: The DraftOnce servers are more secure and reliable than your firm’s servers.

Our cloud servers have more security and more redundancy than nearly any law firm could put in place. Using software run from your own servers may seem more secure than a hosted solution, but it’s a false security.

DraftOnce has customers ranging from one-person law firms to the federal government. Our security has been reviewed and accepted for use by large auto companies, nuclear utilities, and many other high-security customers. All of our servers are in the USA. Each DraftOnce account is its own, separate database—that means, your database is walled off from everyone else’s. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. In short, access to our server is very locked down. If you need more on this, we’re happy to show you or your security firm what we have in place.

Technology is changing how law is practiced. Cloud-based document assembly is a positive change.

Document Assembly with E-Signatures: DraftOnce Integrates with RightSignature

Even the best writers reuse material from time to time (see this entertaining montage of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s recycled lines). For businesses and law firms, writing documents and contracts from scratch is expensive and time-consuming and re-writing them from prior versions is prone to errors. Instead, maintaining a single master version of a document and revising it for each particular scenario — a process known as document automation — delivers huge efficiencies.

Now, with RightSignature integration, DraftOnce users can easily send a finished document to its intended recipient for a legally binding e-signature. After completing a document in DraftOnce, users click a “Send with RightSignature” button to automatically send the document directly to the recipient. Each signer receives an email with directions to sign, just like a normal RightSignature document, and the signed copy is automatically returned to the sender’s RightSignature account.

Chris Martoglio, CEO of DraftOnce, says:

“Integrating DraftOnce and RightSignature creates an exceptional paperless office combination for our clients, bringing together legal document assembly and electronic signatures in a seamless cloud solution.”

DraftOnce Dynamic Fields vs. RightSignature Merge Fields

How are Draft Once dynamic fields different than RightSignature merge fields? RightSignature Reusable Templates can contain merge fields, which are designed for the addition of phrases and short text to a document before sending. Merge fields are placed on top of the underlying document, which does not change. Ideal uses for merge fields are data elements such as: Client Name, Order Number, Date of Delivery, and Contract Amount.

DraftOnce also does this, and in addition inserts large blocks of text into the document, reflowing all subsequent text and updating section numbering, tables of contents, and page numbers. DraftOnce is ideal for creating new documents with large sections of dynamically generated text.

Using DraftOnce and RightSignature together, businesses with recurring custom document needs can boost efficiency and eliminate mistakes with powerful document automation. After all, even the best writers recycle material from time to time.

Online Law Firms – Lessons Learned On The Way to 500,000 Documents

We Saw a Problem

Two years ago we launched the predecessor to DraftOnce, FormLizard. Today, FormLizard is used by companies, schools, non-profits, and governments around the world. Our first paying customer, a BMW dealership in Australia, continues to use FormLizard. As the number of subscribers grew, we noticed a lot of attorneys started to use FormLizard to add the convenience and efficiency of online law firms to their practice, but didn’t get far with it. So, we wrote to them, called them, and went to see some of them to learn what we needed to do to make FormLizard a better app for them.

Online Law Firms- Convenient and Efficient

The attorneys with whom we spoke told us that they know they need to compete with online law firms, but they don’t want to lose the face-to-face connection with their clients. They said the recession has slowed the pace of new clients calling, and said that their time spent networking to get new clients was lost billable time. They wanted better ways to attract new clients. We heard real concern about how the combined forces of online services, outsourcing, over-supplying law schools, and un-bundling of services will change the profession of law.

Armed with this knowledge and more insights from Erin, our co-founder who was at the time making her way through law school (she’ll be licensed in Indiana in two weeks), we began designing how we could use the proven FormLizard platform to better serve attorneys. We had learned, and often reminded ourselves, that the app must to the following:

1. Empower attorneys to be more convenient for clients to work with.
2. Empower attorneys to be more efficient by spending time on legal matters not filling out forms.
3. Reduce mistakes in legal documents such as those caused by search and replace and not clearing meta-data
4. Be low-cost, easy to use, and 100 percent web-based.

DraftOnce for the Online Law Firm

Some months later, after meeting these and other requirements, we released the beta of DraftOnce to support online law firms. Today, it’s the only totally online, simple-to-use, document assembly tool for attorneys to work directly with their clients.

It’s not just for completing forms, it’s a way to communicate securely online with clients. DraftOnce is a platform that adds new dimensions to legal practices. It allows attorneys to deliver professional legal services all online, all in-person or some combination of online and in-person. In short, it’s a tool that helps attorneys more efficiently engage their clients and better serve more of them. We like to say, it empowers attorneys to be as convenient as Amazon.

Today, our attorney customers have used DraftOnce to prepare over 500,000 documents. We are continuing to add the most asked for features including custom CSS styling, client dashboards and more field formats. If you have thoughts about what you want to see, just let us know. Write to us at support@draftonce.com.

How To Get Started With draftonce Document Assembly

Our #1 tip for getting started

Putting in place new technology for your business often becomes evening and weekend work. Biting off too much at the start can doom the effort. So, here’s our number one tip for geting started with draftonce (and most any new technology)—start small and add more over time.

Begin with just one or two of the templates you want to use; your highest use documents. Then use them. Don’t worry about adding more templates right away. Rather, use draftonce when you need to turn out those documents. Each time you do, you’ll be freeing up more time, which you can then use some of to add more templates and interviews to draftonce and save even more time.

You’ll find that the more you use draftonce, the more innovative ways you’ll find to build it into your business.

Public Access or Private Client Access

There are two approaches for letting your customers access interviews. The first is setting draftonce so that anyone can create their own account. Turn this on in the Preferences panel. When you do, the “Don’t have an account?” box appears on the User Login box.

The second approach is private access. Uncheck the Access Preference checkbox in the Preferences panel and create a new user for each client you want to have access. After entering their email and temporary password, click the checkbox indicating they are a Public User. This way they’ll only be able to access interview pages you’ve marked for Outside/Client Access.

To learn more, go to the draftonce Support Center or reach us anytime at support@draftonce.com

Procurement – The Case for Document Automation

The Problem

The quality of many solicitations and contracts is amazingly poor. Bad writing, weak and contradictory terms, and sloppy formatting are too common in procurement documents; the result of years of ad-hoc edits, half-completed rewrite efforts and use of word processors to assemble the documents. Poor quality contracts and solicitations increase risk and price, lengthens procurement cycle time, and are a poor reflection on the business.

No one has the time to undertake such a massive rewriting effort. So, most organizations make due with what they have; confusing, inconsistent and costly procurement documents.

The Solution

The solution comes in two parts:

1. Draft new procurement templates
2. Use DraftOnce.com to author all documents

At Blue Burro, we do the heavy lifting. We’ve drafted and negotiated hundreds of utility contracts with nearly every major supplier. We use this experience to write new solicitation and contract templates, create new document formats, and work with your Procurement, General Counsel and operating units to ensure what we write works great. We are experts in taking samples of prior contracts and solicitations, and redrafting them into clean, highly readable, correct templates.

DraftOnce.com, our Cloud solution, provides a low-cost, secure, easily deployed, near zero-learning curve solution for authoring procurement documents.

The Approach

Using whatever documents you have as a starting point and combining it with our proprietary Reference Set and approach, each term is tailored to your specific needs. Our specialists pore through documents to create a base of understanding of your current terms, procurement types, contract forms and more. We present, in a series of in-person or online workshops, our recommendations and drafts regarding everything from number and scope of templates to detailed wording changes, contract drafting styles and risk analyses.

Schedule and People

Start to finish, we can redraft your procurement documents in a few weeks to a few months, including the time we spend with with you in reviews. Smaller scope assignments, including one-off solicitations and contracts, are often completed in just a few days. Your Blue Burro team consists of two Contract Specialist one taking the lead, and the other providing QA reviews, and a Configuration Specialist for setting up DraftOnce. The optimal client team consists of procurement leads in the areas of spend being addressed, general counsel and the head of procurement. As needed support from engineering, operations, IT, finance and risk is typical.

Simply the Best Document Authoring App

When creating a new document, it’s natural to take the path of least resistance. DraftOnce is that path. It’s a web application that has a “zero-learning curve” web interface for authoring contracts and solicitations. There’s nothing to install, it works in a browser, and has passed numerous security reviews. DraftOnce ensures compliant documents are always produced. Further, DraftOnce is an excellent knowledge management tool allowing new hires to be productive almost immediately.

Case Study

Read the case study on how DraftOnce was implemented at a large electric utility.