- What is Document Assembly?
- Why would I want to use Document Assembly?
- Will I really save that much time?
- How are your templates any better than merge tools?
- What's wrong with calling up the last document and changing the names?
- Can I add my own documents?
- I've seen your templates and they aren't what we use.
- Do I have to keep entering contact info time after time?
It is the process of collecting the data from a user and inserting it in a series of documents where needed. Read once, write many. It is also the built in logic that changes number (i.e. Grantor vs. Grantors), gender (his vs. her) and makes paragraph inclusions in the document based on the answers given
If you have a work process that you repeat over and over which involves the same information in the set of documents, you could save 70% or more of your production time. This principle applies even if you only have 3 or 4 documents to produce in the transaction. Think of things like purchasing real estate - all of the documents that your clients sign, correspondence with the mortgage lender, the vendor's solicitor. And don't forget those "little things" like follow up letters to the client and to the referral source!
Let's consider an incorporation of a Nova Scotia Limited Company. Done using conventional tools this takes an experienced assistant about 4 hours. (Most assistants think it is less, but we've tested it.) Using our template set the process takes an hour for an experienced user. Let's assume an assistant is earning $25,000 per annum (so $15.50 per hour) and your firm is doing one incorporation per week. 52 Incorporations X 3 Hours X $15.50 per hour = $2,418.00 per annum saved!
Is that assistant already working overtime at time and a half???
We started out using wordprocessing merge tools, which we thought were pretty cool. They weren't too bad at asking the user for simple information and placing that information in the documents. The downside was that they were relatively hard to use, especially when developing sophisticated things like lists of information from which to pick. As our appetite for this type of enhancement grew we started looking around - and found Hotdocs™. We never looked back. Trust us when we say that we would never be able to afford the time to develop our templates using merge tools - and you wouldn't be satisfied with the results.
This is probably the most used document production technique that we come across. The problem is that you never go back to the original precedent which was so carefully reviewed for content, etc. Some jurisdictions have defined this practice as negligence. While you may proofread carefully for typos and missed "replacements", it is very difficult to know that a paragraph is missing - it was removed from the last file that you did. Frequently that same paragraph goes missing from the next six months worth of transactions done.
Wordprocessing made this practice possible. We're doing what we can to kill it.
Certainly - we encourage it. In fact, Hotdocs™ makes it easy to start with an existing template and create a new template with all of the necessary information for it to work with the existing set. This is an important technique and we're prepared a "how to file" for you to follow for simple text changes.
You can edit our templates to suit your needs if you like (this is within the terms of your license with us). The danger with this practice, though, is that when we update the set and send it to you, our template will overwrite your changes in the process. Better to make a copy of a template first and modify from there.
If you don't want to learn this new skill, we are happy to customize your set for you on an hourly rate basis. Contact us for a quote.
We've developed our templates to meet the best practices in the profession. We've also tried to match the style of practice of the majority of practitioners in our jurisdiction. That doesn't mean that there aren't other ways to get the same process done.
Our templates are an attempt to get you the savings that you want without costing you more than you will spend. We are looking to provide a true bargain. If you find that you can't adapt your practice to our templates, we can modify the templates to your needs. We will, however, encourage you to really examine your current procedures to see if there is really a substantive difference. You might find that you can live with a new way of doing things. Or we may find that what you are doing is a great improvement that we (with your permission, of course) would like to include in our set - in which case you get the improvements included at no additional charge!
No. Some contacts, such as lawyers and lenders, are associated with more than one file. One of the features of Hotdocs™ is that you can define a "pick list" of a class of information, such a lawyers, which can be updated automatically while you enter the information on a file. Once a lawyer is added, the information will be there for the next file on which she is involved. The list just gets bigger and more valuable the more you use the templates.