Agilewords Blog

How (Most) Legal Documents Get Created

How Legal Documents Get CreatedYesterday, we looked at how Attorneys can use online tools to review legal documents with clients.

Something we learnt when working with legal professionals to develop Agilewords was the different issues attorneys and clients face when using document collaboration software, for instance, why audits trails are so critical in the review process.

Legal Documents: Risks, Issues, and Security

To get a better understanding of this area, let’s step back a moment and look at how most legal documents are created and why, for many mid-sized firms, this process can be quite convoluted:

  • Email – Most legal documents are sent by email to clients. Some use non-business email accounts, such as Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail, which may block attachments or send them to spam folders. Or the client may not see them, even if it’s in the Inbox.
  • Security – Email is not secure. The client may not have a password on their PC for their email accounts, which can be compromised quite easily as a result. The risks associated with sending legal contacts by email are so high, that most large firms insist on using SSL connections at a minimum.
  • Technical Skills – Many clients don’t not know how to use MS Word's Track Changes. Asking them to comment on a legal document usually results in them creating a new document and entering their comments in there. This means you need to compare two documents (or more) when creating the final contract. It’s easy to slip up and make a mistake, which can prove very costly if it undermines the integrity of the document.
  • Scheduling – Many legal documents are time sensitive. You need the document reviewed by a specific date so you can incorporate feedback and then forward it to the next party. Email is a crude way to do this. Sending multiple emails to the client, which are often screened by their Personal Assistants, is time-consuming. And time lost is money lost.
  • Collaboration – We’ve worked on projects where lawyers circulated documents to multiple parties, all of whom were required to review and sign-off the document. Doing this by email is problematic. Solutions such as Google Docs are another option but what may look easy at first, may prove unworkable. For example, instead of your team using Google Docs, you spend time training them how to use the application, which defeats the exercise.
  • Format – When I speak to those in the legal profession, and ask where they lose time reviewing contracts, most highlight the difficulty in getting comments on time, reformatting text, which has been mangled when circulated ‘round robin’ style from one reviewer to the next.
  • Sign-off – Even when the final document is assembled, there is still one hurdle to overcome. Sign-off! You still need confirmation from all parties. Let’s send the document out again?

How to Review Legal Document Faster

This brings us back to the original question.

How can I review legal documents faster?

For the past five years, we’ve worked with legal firms across the USA examining how they create documents. We looked at the entire document creation lifecycle.

Our team analyzed:

  • How the process could be improved
  • How contracts could be completed faster and
  • How legal professionals could be freed up to work on higher-value tasks

You don’t want your partners copy and pasting Microsoft Word documents when they should be engaged in other revenue-generating opportunities, right?

Lawyers told us that reviewing documents was one of the biggest hidden costs in their daily operations. Instead of working on contracts, they were stuck in low-value tasks that reduced their billable hours.

To address this, we developed Agilewords.

This application lets you review MS Word documents with clients – and get them approved faster – over a secure web connection.

And because there is only one ‘gold’ copy for clients to review, there are no emails to send, chase, and forward. Better still you get instant feedback with an Audit trail, which includes all comments and status updates as, and when, documents are reviewed.

Sounds interesting?

Click here and I’ll give you a personal demonstration. It takes about 15 minutes.

  • Agilewords 101: Review a document and post feedback

    Agilewords 101: Review a document and post feedback Watch this video

  • Agilewords 101: Make online edits and track document changes

    Agilewords 101: Make online edits and track document changes Watch this video

  • Agilewords 101: Invite collaborators to review a document

    Agilewords 101: Invite collaborators to review a document Watch this video

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  • small business grants

    12-14-2010

    Thanks for some quality points there. I am kind of new to online , so I printed this off to put in my file, any better way to go about keeping track of it then printing?

    Reply

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