Anyone who has ever been involved in precedent development and administration knows the pain of having to move from one document automation system to another. Often hundreds, if not thousands of precedents will need to be analysed, grouped, culled and converted manually while the administrators learn to use the new system. Weeks (sometimes months!) of frustration later precedents are converted at great cost to you and your document developers.

Whilst manual analysis and conversion isn’t impossible, it is prone to human error. In one of our latest blog posts we talked about the “we’ve always done it this way” attitude. Just because you’ve done the analysis and conversion process manually in the past doesn’t mean there is no help at hand. This is why we developed DocAnalyser

Analyse your precedent content and code visually using PowerBI or SSRS.

What is DocAnalyser?

DocAnalyser monitors your precedent quality and content. It reports on a range of content in your precedents such as Word fields, document variables, version numbers, custom properties and styles. It even report on particular strings of text that you may be interested in.

You could say that DocAnalyser is your precedent auditing tool. As a content analyser it can report on faults and inconsistencies in your precedents. Providing you with valuable insight into problems before your users alert you to them.

DocAnalyser can be configured to co-exist with other document and precedent management systems, and is tightly integrated with iManage.

Auditing results can be viewed using our prefabricated reports or via your own analytics your way. Having the ability to visually see comparative data about your documents is an invaluable insight.

Conversion

Once DocAnalyser has analysed your document and precedent content, it’s possible to map a reconfiguration to convert your precedents to a new environment. DocAnalyser is often used to convert precedents across to Mosmar’s DocAssist solution.

Most importantly, conversion of your precedent content can be done in bulk as well as incrementally.

What are the savings?

The savings from automating the precedent conversion process is immense. Mosmar was able to convert 4500 precedents in 3.5 hours at one site. And during the analysis process, we were able to identify over 2900 precedents which were either no longer used or required; reducing the number of precedents requiring full conversion, testing and uploading to 1600.

The simple ability to cull disused precedents and identify inconsistencies in documents in mere hours is tremendously valuable to project teams operating under strict deadlines and budgets.  

Are you interested in converting?

Precedent conversion doesn’t need to be  a nightmare. We are the document experts so if you’re interested in converting or conducting precedent content analysis, please contact us for a no obligation demonstration. 

Document drafting and precedent tools can be a nightmare for both users and developers. They need to be configured and developed in painful ways that require specialist knowledge in document production and often multiple programming languages. As a result the document automation process is often complicated, expensive and difficult to manage for law firms.

Having experienced all of the above firsthand in law-firm environments, we developed DocAssist to be remedy to these issues.

DocAssist by nature is a no code, no macro and no template system that allows operators with little to no coding experience to generate beautifully styled precedents in no time. What are some of the cool features of DocAssist though? Well, that depends on whether you are an end-user or a precedent developer/editor.

Features for Lawyers and End-Users

Select Paragraphs

Lawyers want to make informed decisions by knowing what changes will happen to their document.  With DocAssist end-users are able to expose all options available to them, so that they can make an informed decision about their options.

Maintain Contacts
Writeback

Your end users will see the time that is saved by collecting information in a document (like a Lease Agreement) and using it immediately in subsequent documents, such as collecting the Lease date, Property Address, Rental Term etc. You can also create “Data Sheets” for your end users to collect matter related data in DocAssist database, essentially using your document drafting tool as an extension to your PMS!

Contact Lookup

DocAssist not only integrates with your address books on your PMS and Outlook, it also allows you to build contact relationships to your matters on its own database. Clicking the ellipsis button on the contact field on the pane will bring up the lookup dialog. From here, you can choose your contact, add a new contact or amend details of an existing contact.

Outlook precedents

Our current end users LOVE Outlook precedents.  Much of their time is spent corresponding via email, with a lot of it also repeatable. 

Clause Bank

Integrations
  • DocAssist will know about the clients/matters that are created in your PMS, and it will also know about the workspaces in iManage. Clicking OK on the DocAssist pane will launch the iManage save dialog with the correct workspace already selected, and with the profile filled out (document description, author, document type).
  • If you’re using a different DMS then the save button can be configured based on your specific requirements.
  • Clause Bank makes it easy to add pieces of content into documents. Precedent Bank provides users with quick access to their precedent repository.

Features for Precedent Developers/Editors 

Index Sync Grouping

This is the ability to link Select Paragraphs together.  IE answer a question on page 1, and it can automatically answer any number of ‘linked’ other paragraphs together.  And with no coding required. This is just one part of the no code, no macro functionality behind DocAssist.

Outlook precedents

Our email precedents are so simple to configure that anyone who can operate Microsoft Word can create an email precedent.

Simple deployment

Pop new DocAssist documents into a specific folder/workspace in iManage, and they are immediately available to end users via the Precedent Bank dialog. 

If you’re not an iManage site, no worries! Your precedent deployment is still as east as 1, 2, 3. Pop them into the specific folder in your DMS and make sure your Precedent Library is configured for its path. Your precedents will be available to users via the Precedent Library dialog.

Styles and formatting

DocAssist precedents are just Word ‘documents’.  Which means all the styles and formatting they are familiar with are there.  Precedents can be linked to underlying style templates, which are again just Word ‘documents’.  So managing styles across the entire precedent bank is incredibly easy. 

Our developers have been working away and we are proud to announce that on 18 January 2020, we released our latest version which includes some great new features.

New features

◼ Custom Repeaters – Repeaters to support other controls outside of contacts and Users
◼ Ability to return integer (number of days) base on two different dates
◼ Make Precedent Library available in Outlook
◼ Ability to set the email subject based on matter data
◼ Quick Search tab added to the DocAssist Pane
◼ Allow Pane Wizard to include Optional and Select paragraphs

Feature changes

◼ Improve DocAssist speed and screen refresh
◼ Improve Index Sync Mapping between dropdowns
◼ Improve Writeback on controls populated from an Index Sync Group
◼ Improve control order and visibility when utilising the Pane Wizard
◼ Improve Repeaters when added to the DocAssist Pane
◼ Ensure that the conversion prompt is supressed when DocAssist runs an InsertFile Command
◼ Improve Message when Clippings is first used, to let users know that the clipping is being loaded
◼ Ensure that when user clicks Clippings that a clipping is not already selected, and requires a user to make a selection first before it shows the preview.
◼ Improve nested content controls
◼ Improve Multi Select paragraphs
◼ Improve Multi Select Contact Control
◼ Improve Optional Paragraph to ensure that numbering is not left behind when users answer ‘No’

iManage Feature Changes

◼ Improve refresh of clause controls – so refresh only happens when a new document is created

I recently received a fantastic question from a prospective client. They invested considerably in their PMS, DMS and document automation (with a different provider) and they wanted to know what value DocAssist could add to their existing or transition process.

There are many compelling answers to the question of “Why DocAssist” and they depend on where you fit in the law firm ecosystem. In the case of this client though there are two major factors:

  • Integrating with existing systems
  • Transitioning to a new automation system

PMS and DMS Integration

Every firm’s process of integrating their systems is unique. But we’re here to help!

For iManage Sites

DocAssist has standard iManage integration. We also offer a number of features specifically for iManage sites including Clause Bank and Precedent Bank functionality. Our iManage integration is fully compatible with Work10.

For NetDocuments Sites

We have a number of NetDocuments clients who successfully use DocAssist at a national scale. These clients were the driver behind one of our most exciting clause bank solution, Clippings. We have standard integration with NetDocuments which allows you to utilise its full DMS functionality when creating and saving documents.

Other DMSes

Given the volume of work we do there are always clients who do things outside of the norm. We’re really proud of our DMS integration process. We understand that practice and document management systems are what makes most law firms tick. So whatever your document management process is, we have you covered.

PMS Integrations

DocAssist has its own SQL database. So when it comes to PMS integration, if we can access a SQL database, we can easily and populate our own database. Your ‘source of truth’ remains your PMS but we also have the option to write data from your documents back to the DocAssist database. Meaning we can create extended data on your matters without touching your PMS.

Our clients currently use DocAssist in conjunction with:

  • Aderant Expert;
  • ELITE 3E;
  • Affinity and;
  • Open Practice.

Document Automation

We know how difficult it is to code and maintain documents. Part of the driver for the development of DocAssist was to give our clients an easy to maintain precedent development option, particularly to those who don’t have in-house precedent developers or coding knowledge.

Our solution doesn’t require any coding experience. Anyone can automate a document using DocAssist. It’s all based on standard content controls which we expanded on. The advantage of using DocAssist as opposed to other automation systems is that DocAssist precedents are more viable in the long term because:

  1. Once set up DocAssist documents require minimal conversion if you change your data source or DMS
  2. They require minimal effort to maintain as there are no templates (.dotm documents), even to maintain styles

Many sites either use DocAssist and another system as a hybrid system. Others use DocAssist to phase out their legacy precedents before fully launching DocAssist to their firms over the space of a few months. This makes the change management and user acceptance aspect of projects a lot more manageable.

Transitioning

Transitioning doesn’t need to be painful. We developed a tool which can assist in the analysis and conversion of any existing templates. It’s called DocAnalyser. This tool helps analyse existing documents and presents findings in easy to understand SSRS or Power BI report. These reports assist precedent developers with their conversion process. Additionally, we can assist you with the development of custom macros to convert existing precedents. Most importantly, DocAnalyser isn’t limited to DocAssist users. It can be used as an ongoing auditing tool to report on merge fields, macros, templates, styles and even content in precedent libraries.

Whether you are new to document automation or you are in-between systems, DocAssist and the Mosmar team are here to help.

Earlier this month the Hanseatic Bar Association in Hamburg won a court case to essentially ban AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered consumer legal platforms from providing legal services without lawyer input.   Although the case is being appealed by Wolters Kluwer, it does raise some good questions about the art of modern legal practice. While we’re unlikely to see such a ban in Australia, how much should legal practice be automated?

I am not a lawyer, but I’ve worked in the legal industry for long enough to appreciate how seriously lawyers take legal advice. In my first few years in the industry I assumed that the legal professionals I dealt with were being culturally protectionist of their field of work and that a shift in innovative thinking was the solution to our problems. Almost 10 years on, I still think that innovation is the key to improving lawyer and client experience. However, my opinions around mass automation has shifted considerably. 

While I am still a firm believer that AI and other assistive technologies are essential for the modern lawyer (and profitability!) I see the concerns in removing the lawyer from the “lawyering”. Excluding a professional from their “practising” not only makes for an unhappy lawyer but can also create barriers in customising processes for their clients’ unique requirements. Using data-sets of known factors to create a standardised contract sounds great, but ensuring the contract meets every nuance of a client’s personal or business situation must still be achievable.

Rigid workflows and fully automated systems look great on paper, they reduce the risk of skipping essential steps, key dates and submissions considerably. But how well do they work in practice? How many times have you been directed to complete a step in a workflow that you are not ready for? How often do you find yourself trying to skip ahead on a process because you don’t yet have the necessary answers, only to end up with documents that are incomplete or inaccurate?

This was one of the key factors in the development of DocAssist; giving the lawyering back to the lawyer. Being an interactive yet non-intrusive precedent process, DocAssist gives legal professionals the ability to draft documents without limiting them in their word-smithery.  It is an automation tool that doesn’t automate to the heavens and back, but guides and directs and interacts just enough to enable a lawyer to make educated decisions on a document’s output.  DocAssist understands that requirements change and it empowers lawyers to interact with their document continuously over time. This can be so vital with highly negotiated contracts and professionals that are time poor.

The uptake of DocAssist is often initiated by legal teams rather than IT for this very reason. And we know from experience that the document technology projects which have the highest rates of success are often those that are championed directly by lawyers and knowledge departments (sorry IT!). I no longer see this as a protectionist attitude, rather an understanding that legal professionals know exactly what can and can’t work for their work culture and client needs.

New Features

  • Introduction of document data caching – meaning values of content controls are always available whether inside select or optional paragraphs
  • Batch Processing tool to allow a group of DocAssist documents to be generated against a set matter and author
  • Tool to Deconstruct/Reconstruct Repeaters for ease of updating and maintaining repeaters
  • Addressee’s email address will auto-populate into the To box when DocAssist emails are created
  • Option to retain the Outlook email signature in DocAssist emails
  • Ability to start a new precedent automatically in filtered mode – to only take the user to incomplete content controls
  • Centralised management of DocAssist licences by allocating licences to specific users, in DocAssist Admin utility
  • Auto Allocation of DocAssist Licence to Users if they have DocAssist installed, use Word, are unlicensed and there are enough licences available.  Otherwise, the administrator will have to allocate the licence manually using the Admin Utility
  • Centralised management of DocAssist licensing key via DocAssist Admin utility
  • Licencing warning appears 5 days from when the licence is due to expire
  • Contact Lookups include the ability to multi select and return a delimited list of contact names with optional delimiters and final delimiter.  EG Rebecca Painter, Pratik Mehta and Demi Agraz.
  • Ability to control whether an iManage Clause Bank content control will refresh automatically when it is accessed in a document.  A configuration setting is available to choose it to automatically refresh clause content from iManage or leave it as static in the document after insertion.  – <AutoRefreshClauseControlOnClick>True</AutoRefreshClauseControlOnClick>
  • Suppress the refresh of a Repeater Control when a user clicks on the control in the document.  It will only refresh by clicking the Add button (+) to add a new repeater or when moving through the Repeaters using the arrows on the DocAssist pane.  This can be turned on/off using a setting in the configuration file
  • DocAssist pane will only refresh when choosing an option from a Select Paragraph, if there are controls that appear on the pane, as a result of the selection made
  • Ability to add controls that are hidden on the pane and during navigation.  User will not be prompted in the document or the pane.
  • View User and Edit User details added to the DocAssist Pane, if the necessary settings are added to the DocAssist configuration file (Settings.xml) and ability to make certain User attributes read only – both across standard User fields (ie First Name, Last Name) and extended data fields (inside the data XML)
  • DocAssist emails can be sent in draft mode.  Depending on settings in the settings.xml file
  • DocAssist emails retain their numbering

Feature Changes

  • DocAssist prompt pane orders controls correctly when they are introduced during select paragraph process
  • Clippings dialog scales correctly on high DPI monitors
  • Mouse wheel movements will not interfere with dropdown controls in the prompt pane
  • Prompt pane always shows up to date data from the matter when writeback is used
  • Money controls that calculate totals will update automatically in the prompt pane
  • Repeater controls when added to the Prompt pane will have a Title heading assigned
  • Removing a Repeater option will remove it as a relationship from the matter
  • Controls inside a repeater will writeback to the database
  • A Letterhead will get inserted, if a matter is not selected, if there is an Author selected
  • Improvements in dialog sizing and location when changing resolution
  • Enhancements to improve scaling on multi select paragraphs dropdown
  • Enhancements to improve selection and saving of changes in Admin Utility
  • Improve signoff
  • Improve how repeating users or contacts after being added to the document, are being deleted and updated in the database and document
  • Updated Rich Text Control default message
  • Improve scaling of text control labels in the DocAssist pane
  • Improve scaling of toolbar icons in the DocAssist pane

Feature Changes specific to imanage users only

  • Clause Bank dynamically updates with additions to folders and documents
  • Worksite context setting to offer more options when opening or saving a document to Worksite
  • Work 10 only – Precedent Bank, Email Precedent Bank and Clause Bank can point to a Work10 folder in addition to a Work10 workspace
  • Work10 only – Update functionality for Work10 to allow using location and lists to be added to a document from ClauseBank
  • Work10 only – Improve searching in Clause Bank

Ways to manage standardised clauses is one of the most common requests we get. Standardised clauses are important for accuracy, firm representation and consistency.

We’ve developed two sets of Clause Library options for DocAssist users depending on their existing systems as well as firm requirements. These options are:

  • Clippings and;
  • Clause Bank

Both solutions are available with the DocAssist’s Word and Outlook Add-ins.

Clippings

Clippings is the standard clause library that comes as part of your standard or premium DocAssist implementation. The way we describe Clippings is “Auto-text but better”.

While Clippings are just .docx files saved in a directory, there are two major differences between the standard auto-text functionality and our solution:

  1. You have the ability to save your clippings to up to three locations with separate security policies applied to them:
    • Personal
    • Shared
    • Global
  2. Clippings allows you to preview and search for clauses in a compact user interface before inserting them into your document, without having to search for it in a different location.
Preview of Clippings interface with a preview of a clause stored in a “Personal” location.

Clause Bank

Clause Bank is a functionality developed specifically for firms who utilise iManage. It has been integrated with their latest release (Work10) in order to provide users with seamless access to their curated clause library managed by the KM or Precedents department.

Like Clippings, Clause Bank allows users to select relevant pieces of text, tables or images saved to a central repository.

Like Clippings, ClauseBank allows users to search for and insert accurate clauses into their documents with the click of a button.

You can also create your own library of curated clauses by adding them to your favourites. 

Clause Bank interface showing curated folder structure

What’s right for me?

There are many compelling reasons to use either Clippings or Clause Bank. Most firms using iManage will utilise both.

For those firms, the main use case for having both is to provide users with the flexibility to access either their personal or departmental clause options via Clippings as well as the firm-wide curated clause library.

The advantage of using both is that it allows users to personalise Clippings (ie modify clauses) and keep them in their “Personal” Clippings location. It also allows departments to maintain their own clause libraries  without having to go through IT, KM or Precedents departments.

For non-iManage sites, Clippings can be a powerful utility where security policies can be applied to the Personal, Shared and Global locations to dictate Read/Write/Modify permissions. This way KM/Precedent departments can still have the power to curate Global and Shared locations, but provide users flexibility to modify and use their preferred clauses via their Personal location. 

The option that is right for you depends on your firms policies and preferences.

New Features

  • Introduction of document data caching – meaning values of content controls are always available whether inside Select or Optional Paragraphs
  • Batch Processing tool to allow a group of DocAssist documents to be generated against a set matter and author
  • Tool to Deconstruct/Reconstruct Repeaters for ease of updating and maintaining Repeaters
  • Addressee’s email address will auto-populate into the To box when DocAssist emails are created
  • Option to retain the Outlook email signature in DocAssist emails
  • Ability to start a new precedent automatically in filtered mode – to only take the user to incomplete content controls
  • Centralised management of DocAssist licences by allocating licences to specific users, in DocAssist Admin utility
  • Centralised management of DocAssist licensing key via DocAssist Admin utility

iManage Feature Changes

  • Clause Bank dynamically updates with additions to folders and documents
  • Precedent Bank, Email Precedent Bank and Clause Bank can point to a Work10 folder in addition to a Work10 workspace

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