From a TechnoLawyer Exclusive article published on June 15, 2010. TECHNOFEATURE: REVIEW: XPRESSDOX DOCUSSEMBLY By Seth G. Rowland, Esq. Synopsis Document assembly conjures up thoughts of expensive software that often becomes shelfware once lawyers realize that they cannot figure it out without professional help. Document assembly consultant Seth Rowland has helped many firms that decided […]
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Category: Document Assembly
Despite the fact that it is relatively inexpensive, and increases productivity dramatically, law firms haven’t rushed out to buy document assembly software. In fact, the majority of lawyers don’t even know that document assembly software exists. So why hasn’t document assembly become mainstream?
In his book The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, international legal futurist, author and technology consultant Richard Susskind refers to technologies that have potential to transform companies, industries and markets into drastically different entities.
“It’s taken a long time but document assembly is gaining acceptance as law firms realize knowledge re-use in the form of templates has a payback period of a couple of months,” says Chris Pearson, director of O2Smart who have recently launched a document assembly software system called XpressDox Docussembly™.
“Automation software is smart — it can be trained to do complex functions like difficult math calculations or guide users though logic choices based on prior answers,” says Dale Marvin of Intelligent Words. With document assembly software Dale says, “You don’t use ‘find and replace’, ‘cut and paste’, rigid merge fields or other antiquated methods of assembling your documents.”
When templates have been created using a programming environment such as Microsoft® VBA, the obvious risk for a firm is that the programmer leaves and their replacement takes some time to learn how the documents were created. Often it is simply easier for a new developer to create document templates from scratch, thereby nullifying a firm’s investment.
An industry ‘guru’ recently wrote that document assembly is the next big wave for law firms. Those firms that use it will prosper and those that don’t will lose out. But there are also those who don’t think document assembly is necessary, who have the perception that Microsoft® Office Word can create templates just fine on its own. In which camp are you?
The official XpressDox Cookbook contains various recipes for different aspects of XpressDox. It is intended to complement the User Reference. The latter document is comprehensive in that it covers all of the XpressDox commands and functions, but does so to a limited depth. The Cookbook is designed to give in-depth coverage of certain commonly used aspects.
If you’re new to XpressDox Docussembly™, or to document assembly software, you may benefit from looking through this quick start guide. In it we briefly describe what is document assembly, how to create and run a sample template, the Template Author’s Toolkit, and more.
Document assembly software adds value to word processing through the concept of a template, which has the variable parts of a document identified (or marked up) differently from the static parts. In this way, when a template is subsequently used (or run), the user is asked only for the variable data, which is then inserted into the template at the correct places, producing a completed document.