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.

Aakash Mehta, Demi Agraz and Pratik Mehta

Our legendary MatterSphere team attended VANTAGE APAC Regional Conference over 24-25 September at Sydney’s Hilton.  As Thomson Reuters product and implementation partners it is always good to meet clients face to face in an environment where we can demonstrate our latest and greatest customisations and product suites. It’s also a good opportunity for us to get feedback and learn from the ecosystem  of users, developers and other partners.

It was refreshing to confirm that MatterSphere is still going strong in the APAC region. Despite online rumours it was obvious from the sessions and conversations with Thomson Reuters team that there is a significant amount of investment going in to continued development of MatterSphere for the UK and APAC market.

Perhaps the most interesting topic of the two day conference was presented by Shine. Jodie Willey and Kelly Addison presented their innovation project, Claimify. We were proud to be in the room for this presentation as Mosmar was one of handful of partners who collaborated on this project. It was a good opportunity for us to see our hard work come to life and also see firsthand the feedback and commentary from other MatterSphere sites on the innovative way Shine developed the MatterSphere Client Portal and database to enable deep learning tools that give their clients and lawyers better insight into the potential outcome of their cases. It’s the first project of its kind globally and we were excited to have taken part in it.

Jodie Willey and Kelly Addison presenting Claimify

Vantage is always a special conference for us. It brings together like minded clients and partners who use the same tools to do very different things. It’s exciting to see the innovation that goes into the development of 3E MatterSphere in house at firms like Shine. We look forward to catching up with everyone again at the next conference!

When I have conversations around change and innovation one of the most common objections I hear is “we’ve always done it this way”.  It is one of the most dangerous phrases when it comes to business and I work hard to ensure that the businesses and individuals I deal with understand both the tangible and intangible reasons for change. Often I break up these reasons to three categories that all ultimately result in the same thing; change for the greater good. And of course, simple to adapt and adopt solutions also help with this cause. This is why we developed DocAssist as a “solution for the people” and not just for those who code their days away…

Keeping up with technology

While it’s true that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, this reductionist point of view no longer rings true with most businesses. Technology is developing rapidly and the longer businesses leave their technology upgrades, the harder it becomes to ever make that leap. If you’re business hasn’t digitalised its processes not only are you missing out on amazing new technologies such as AI and data analytics, but you are also putting your business data at risk.

A simple example of this is a personal experience I had a number of years ago. The small town I was living in at the time suffered a great flood where almost every business on the main strip was submerged for 2 days. While most of the physical damage done to the businesses was covered under insurance, a number of businesses including the local optometrist lost all of their client related data which was still maintained manually on pen and paper.

Drying patient files… The simple act of creating a digital database and storing data off-site could have easily protected the decades old patient files.

How can DocAssist Assist: DocAssist’s writeback feature can help you retain important data in its own database, so you can not only use the data again and again but you can also report on it. DocAssist also integrates seamlessly with other solutions (such as a PMS or
CRM), creating a secondary repository of contact and other client related data.

Keeping up with the changing workforce

It’s been cited in numerous research articles that the new generation of workforce value their time, space and flexible working conditions. Chaining them to a desk is not going to create a productive GenY/Z, and an unproductive workforce is not profitable. Businesses are responsible for creating an environment where their employees are able to perform their duties in physical and mental comfort.

How can DocAssist Assist: As a business tool DocAssist provides users with flexibility to change their documents and collaborate with colleagues as required. Unlike other document automation solutions you are not “stuck” with your answers, you can come back and change your options as required and see your document evolve in real time. It’s interactive nature means you won’t need to complete an entire interview
form to see the changes in your document. It all happens IRL!

For those working on the go, DocAssist also offers an off-line database, which means you can continue to access your clients, matters and contacts even if you’re not “on-site”.

Keeping up with changing customer expectations

The driver behind changing business environment is often changing client expectations. Clients are increasingly expecting to have control over their data. And like internal teams, they expect to collaborate with their lawyers when it comes to drafting documents. While digitalisation of data collection and document drafting solutions has somewhat eased this process (for both clients and lawyers), issues such as data integrity and security are still on the top of everyone’s list of concerns.

How can DocAssist Assist: In the simplest terms, a draft DocAssist document can be shared with the client in any secure means necessary for review. Because DocAssist’s main data entry and collection functionality relies on content controls, third-parties can be given some access to complete missing information on the document using only Microsoft Word. This data can even be written back to the DocAssist database once the document is received back from the client.

Additionally, data collected from client portals can also be integrated into the DocAssist database for use in the automation process.

What is your firm doing to adapt to new and emerging technologies?

Janders Dean makes up an important part of the legal technology and innovation ecosystem in Australia and overseas, and #JDHorizons is a date that most inhabitants of this ecosystem save in their calendar well  in advance year after year.

This was the second time we were invited to sponsor #JDHorizons in Sydney. We were blessed with two days of Spring in the middle of Winter with marvellous views of Sydney Harbour, accompanied by a carefully curated program of speakers.

What we liked about the Conference
  • Curated speakers
  • Promotion of diversity
  • Large number of female speakers
  • SheBreaksTheLaw launch
  • Cocktails at 10am doesn’t hurt anyone except your brain
  • Fantastic opportunity for up and coming university students
Why we’ll be back
  • We like the delegates – a great mix of people with common industry, innovation and a collaborative mindset
  • It’s fun and relaxed
  • The topics are relevant, not just to Delegates but to Sponsors too
  • The values of the conference align with outs (diversity, inclusion, wellbeing)

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

by Nissy Abraham, Developer, MOSMAR

The previous versions of iManage up to 9.x provided us with the ability to add dll references for iManage which enabled us to customise word in VBA to use iManage functionalities. We could capture iManage events in Word VBA using the corresponding references.  But this is not the case in Work 10, where there is no possibility to get those Worksite events and properties in VBA unless through the plugins and RESTAPI’s.

The iManage Work extensibility framework enables you to create .NET plugins for iManage Work 10 for Office.  Using these plugins, you can extend and customize the functionality of the iManage Work 10 for Office add-in.

iManage Work 10 for Office plugins are .NET assemblies loaded by the iManage Work 10 for Office add-in to extend and customise its functionality.  The plugins are downloaded automatically from the Work 10 application Server for each distribution. They can catch the events when an action is performed on the application or a form is about to load, modify the document metadata, retrieve the Office document object, and so on.

Creating a Sample Plugin for Microsoft Word

Sample: Hello World

This plugin displays a “Hello World” message whenever Microsoft Word starts.

  1. Install iManage Work 10 for Office (version 10.0.1 or later).
  2. In Microsoft Visual Studio, create a new Visual C# project with unique Class Library (.NET Framework) namespace, for example,
  3. Add references to iManage Work 10 for Office libraries iwto.dll and IWInterfaces.dl. These DLLs are available in the install directory of iManage Work 10 for Office.
  4. Add a reference to System.Windows.Form under Work10OfficePlugin by right-clicking
    1. References-> Add Reference ->Assemblies ->Framework ->select System.Windows.Forms.
  5. Rename the default C# file cs to HelloWorld.cs
  6. Create a .NET class for the plugin in cs, for example, WordPlugin1. This class must derive from iManage.Work.Tools.PlugInBase

Include the following in the plugin host event in the Initialize method.

HelloWorld.cs

 using System;

using iManage.Work.Tools;

namespace Work10OfficePlugins

{

public class WordPlugin1 : PlugInBase

{

public override bool Initialize(IPlugInHost host)

{

PlugInHost = host;

PlugInId = “myId”;

host.Startup += this.onStartup;

return true;

}

private void onStartup(object sender, EventArgs args)

{

System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox.Show(“Hello World!”);

}

}

}

Sideload the plugin in the Development environment:

  1. Create a resource file by right-clicking the project txt by right-clicking the project Work10OfficePlugins-> Add -> New Item -> Text File -> Add.
  2. Specify the MAC address of the development machine. Up to 20 MAC addresses can be provided in this config file.
  3. Right-click sideload_config.txt and select ->Properties -> Build Action -> Embedded Resource

sideload_config.txt

{

data: {

“macaddresses” : [ “00-0C-29-D4-BD-92”, “C1-12-83-07-3D-4C” ]

}

}

 

  1. Digitally sign the assembly:
  2. Right click the project Work10OfficePlugins -> Properties -> Signing -> Sign the assembly ->. Choose a strong name key file ->  New
  3. Add a Key file name of your choice, for example, plugin
  4. Protect my key file with a password
  5. Enter a password and select OK
  6. Build the project by right-clicking the Work10OfficePlugins project and selecting Build. Ensure that there are no errors in the build.
  7. Navigate to the project directory where the compiled assembly Work10OfficePlugins.dll is.
  8. Copy Work10OfficePlugins.dll to %localappdata%/iManage/Work/plug_ins.If the plug_ins directory is not available, create it and then copy the assembly into it.
  9. Register the plugin:
  10. Add the wplugins.manifest file by right-clicking Work10OfficePlugins and selecting Add -> New Item-> Application Manifest File -> Add
  11. Add the following assembly details in the wplugins.manifest file

 wplugins.manifest

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″ ?>

<configuration>

<word>

<entrypoints>

<entrypoint class=”Work10OfficePlugins.WordPlugin1″ resource=”

Work10OfficePlugins.sideload_config.txt”>

<assemblyIdentity name=”Work10OfficePlugins” version=”1.0.0.0″

publicKeyToken=”” language=”neutral” processorArchitecture=”msil” />

<provider name=”iManage”>iManage Office Plug In #1</provider>

</entrypoint>

</entrypoints>

</word>

</configuration>

  1. Copy the file to wplugins.manifest %localappdata%/iManage/Work/plug_ins.
  2. Start Microsoft Word. The “Hello World ” message is displayed.

Deploying the plugins

In the development environment, plugins are loaded to iManage Work Server using a sideloading mechanism as shown in the above example. Sideloaded plugins are authorized to run on up to twenty computers, identified by the MAC addresses of their network cards

In the production environment, the plugins can be registered and uploaded to iManage Work Server by the administrator using REST APIs or iManage Control Center

Using iManage Control Center

iManage Control Center (iCC) enables the administrators to upload iManage Work for Office plugins to iManage Work Server.

The developer creates a zip file which contains the plugin assembly files and manifest file and sends it to the administrator. Using iCC application, the administrator defines security settings on the plugin, and uploads it to iManage Work Server.

Creating Manifest File

You need to provide the information about your Office plugin to iManage Work server in file manifest.yaml. Identify a unique ID for your plugin and create the following manifest file in the YAML format as

manifest.yaml

# Information about Office plugin

id:           UniqueIDForMyProject

name:         Sample Office plugin

publisher:    XYZ Inc.

version:      ‘1’

# Name of the extensions

desktop_extensions:

– iwtoTestPlugIn.WordPlugin

– iwtoTestPlugIn.ExcelPlugIn

– iwtoTestPlugIn.PowerPointPlugIn

– iwtoTestPlugIn.OutlookPlugI

 

iManage Work REST APIs

The iManage Work REST APIs enable users to perform operations such as viewing documents, browsing workspaces, and searching for documents on the iManage Work server through the HTTP protocol. Several operations that are performed through the iManage Desktop client applications can be performed and/or automated using iManage Work REST APIs.

More information regarding Work 10 upgrade is available from

https://imanage.com/support

 

Need Help?

Please get in touch with MOSMAR should you need any help with your Work 10 upgrade.

We have years of experience with this product and know the intricate details of how to go about your upgrade.

Feature Changes

  • iManage Work10 integration
    • Save to Workspace
    • Precedent Bank
    • Email Precedent Bank
    • Clause Bank

    • Clause Bank – build on your document by inserting DocAssist clauses[/caption]
  • Certain Contact attributes can now be read only – both across standard Contact fields (ie First Name, Last Name) and extended data fields (inside the data XML)
  • Enable the removal of the Sign button from the DocAssist pane if not required at a particular site
  • Modify Gender field in Contact table to accept more than 2 characters
  • DocAssist prompt pane will now always refresh correctly to show user controls and date controls
  • Add Contact dialog updated so that users are always able to get multiple lines into the Address box
  • Enable users to action lowest level dialog without dialogs overlapping
  • Enable Edit Contact form on high DPI monitors (over 100%)
  • Renaming content controls dialog will always apply the changes
  • Improve the speed in which money controls apply calculations
  • Precedent Bank no longer forces the initial save
  • iManage profile no longer returns “0” when the Addressee of the document is blank

The Mosmar developers have been working hard lately to integrate iManage Work10 into DocAssist and it is now available in our latest release.

For all our wonderful existing clients, please get in touch for the upgrade files.  If you are new to DocAssist and would like more information, we’d love to hear from you.

Here are a few teasers of what the integration includes:

Precedent Bank – launch a new DocAssist precedent

Clause Bank – build on your document by inserting DocAssist clauses

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