Johannesburg – June 22, 2016 – In many industries, efficiency is the key value proposition of business process automation. But for law firms and in-house legal departments, risk mitigation may be a bigger selling point—codifying mission-critical processes so every knowledge worker across the firm follows a structured procedure designed to minimise human error and ensure compliance with internal policies and external regulations.
Automated Document Assembly Is Key
For many organisations, especially law firms and corporate legal departments, the most important business process of all is document creation, a subset of the greater process automation movement. Document automation systems, such as HotDocs, enable practitioners to transform existing legal documents into templates that generate transactional versions of the underlying documents. Using HotDocs, a domain expert can transform virtually any kind of structured, rule-based legal document—a contract, will, trust, NDA, etc.—into a template.
Risk Mitigation via HotDocs
Regardless of the tremendous efficiency improvement document automation offers (HotDocs customers report up to a 90+% reduction in time and labour required to produce transaction-ready legal documents), perhaps the most compelling reason to automate the generation of your legal documents is risk mitigation. Simply put, document automation systems yield higher quality documents than the old cut-and-paste, search-and replace methodology. And better documents mean less risk.
How a HotDocs Template Works
In use, a HotDocs template gathers all the information necessary to generate a document or set of documents using a sequence of interactive data gathering forms, called an interview. It’s the interview that mitigates risk in the document automation process by minimising human error, enforcing compliance and codifying best practice for staff members. Answers for an interview can come from multiple data sources or can be keyed in manually. Individual fields can be validated for range, thus ensuring that answers fall within prescribed limits. To further assist system users, help resources can be designed to provide field-specific guidance, all in an effort to produce perfect, transactional legal documents. Once an interview is complete, generating the documents is push-button easy. Once generated, the documents can be profiled into a document management system or routed through a workflow for stage approval. This key feature—your organisation’s ability to integrate HotDocs interviews into existing workflows – further reduces the incidences of human error making its way into executed, legally binding documents.
Who Uses HotDocs?
To date, 80% of the Am Law 200 and 16 of the top 30 UK law firms, not to mention thousands of small-to-medium-sized law firms and corporate legal departments across the world, use HotDocs document automation software across a wide range of practice areas. HotDocs templates might be used to generate simple documents, having just a few variables, or highly complex documents, having hundreds of variables, intricate business logic controlling the inclusion/exclusion of language blocks and sophisticated signature blocks, requiring nested, repeating business logic.
Use Case: Legal Department in Corporate Services Firm
A corporate services provider had a difficult problem stemming from its lack of control over its contract generation procedures. When putting together a deal with a new customer, the company’s independent sales reps would often choose an out-of-date document or, in some cases, choose the wrong document altogether. Furthermore, the company found that its sales reps, which were distributed nationally, were making unauthorised edits to contracts in order to win business. As one company representative pointed out, the practice was “great” for top line revenue but “devastating for contract control.” To solve the problem, the company deployed a sophisticated HotDocs template. The application’s interview forces sales reps to comply with the company’s own contracting policies. As a company representative put it, the interview was designed in such a way that it left “no margin for error.” In addition to solving the company’s internal compliance problem, HotDocs provided several additional advantages. Training sales staff on the automated contracting process is quick and easy, and generating new contracts as transactions occur is much more efficient and virtually risk free.
Use Case: Legal Department in Global Bank
One of the world’s largest banks has integrated HotDocs into a sophisticated loan origination workflow that leads relationship managers through the complex data-gathering interview for its commercial lending business. The system, which is largely built on HotDocs, reduces the time it takes to generate a commercial loan from three days to under an hour, enables the loan committee to quickly review data sets (rather than wade through lengthy, written explanations by relationship managers) and enforces compliance to internal and external regulations in thousands of branch offices around the globe. Beyond reducing human error and enforcing compliance, the system is also designed to reduce fraud, especially in regard to collusion between relationship managers and customers. The system, which utilises a proprietary BPM (Business Process Management) system, imposes strict data entry/editing rights management to prevent modification of terms after initial data submission and subsequent approval by the loan committee. For an enterprise with thousands of loan officers generating millions of loans worth billions of pounds, gaining control of the lending process with HotDocs has yielded dramatic results. Collusion cases have all but disappeared, the percentage of bad loans has gone down, and legal circumstances resulting from human error have decreased. The net is less risk and greater profit.
In today’s litigious environment, risk abounds in a variety of places. For many types of risk, the best prevention is process automation. The good news for organisations experiencing risk stemming from legal documentation, there’s a tried and proven solution. HotDocs is the long time global leader in document automation technology and whatever your document generation risk may be, there’s a very good chance HotDocs can help.