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Document automation a no-brainer for law firms

Document automation software has become a key tool for law firms, but it is too often underused and left to gather digital dust, says Korbitec Inc. president Alan Bass.

“Law firms have a tremendous need for document automation,” Bass tells AdvocateDaily.com. “In fact, they should all use it because it increases efficiency, reduces mistakes, and allows you to ramp up staff faster and offer better service to your customers. 

“It’s without a doubt a necessity, like Microsoft Word.”

Despite the benefits of document automation software, Bass says he often sees projects either stall, or not start at all after the initial excitement of getting the new product subsides.

For firms that do get through implementation, the skills taught to firm staff erode over time, he notes, particularly if the software isn’t frequently put to use. That means they must relearn how to use the product, which can consume valuable time the software was designed to save, Bass says.

“Law firms will typically get one, maybe two documents prepared and that’s it. The staff at firms don’t know the software as well as the developer and if they do, they don’t use it often enough.  When they then need to prepare another template six months or a year down the road, they have forgotten how to use most of the tools,” he says.

This can be complicated when it comes time to input the documents into the automation software, he adds. For some, particularly those who don’t do it regularly, that process can be hard slugging. “That’s why a great deal of document automation software sits on the shelf after that,” says Bass. “For the most part, it’s not being used, but they’re still paying annual fees.”

Korbitec aims to distinguish its Automated Civil Litigation (ACL) software through its ongoing service and support, Bass tells AdvocateDaily.com. The company continues to work with law firms after the initial sale and remains engaged throughout, he says.

ACL, Bass says, is unique because it equips firms with 2,500 to 3,000 templates of court forms, letters and documents that are used in the litigation process. They also maintain and update this content when the rules change or as and when required.

In addition, ACL will input the firm’s own specific content and do all of the customizations. That means changing, adding to or deleting from the documents, he says.

He believes his company stands alone in providing both the quality of the software and the high level of customer service it offers.

“We do all that work. We customize the software, which saves them a great deal of time. Users don’t have to learn it. And even if they did want to, we do it faster and cheaper,” Bass says.

“We do all of that as part of our service. We input their letters, letterheads, fax cover sheets, precedents, claims and special releases into the software. And when they want to make a change, we change it for them.”

That service extends beyond the litigation practice into other areas of law, he adds.

Korbitec also offers GhostDraft, the document automation engine on which ACL is built, for those firms wanting to do it on their own. Bass says the training for GhostDraft is provided along with support for the initial documents, but firms have the flexibility to work on their own documents.  Further, we will start a firm off by automating their first few documents.

“ACL and GhostDraft make for a very powerful document automation solution,” Bass says.

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