3-minute read, 10-minute exercise
#Efficiency #Effectiveness #HumanIntelligence
You have fantastic precedent documents that you’ve crafted with your unique knowledge, skills and experience. They are invaluable and have helped your practice grow to what is it today.
However, legal tech is disrupting the legal industry. That’s a fact. There’s no escaping this change. You need to manage it. You need to learn to love using automated legal documents so your practice can thrive into the future.
You Owe It to Your Practice, Your Team and Your Clients to Develop Your Existing Precedents into Quality Automated Documents
Before you can automate your precedent, you need to refresh the drafting, so it’s of excellent quality. Look beyond the words on the page and think about all of the processes within your document. For example, you’ll probably have a process for how each party carries out their obligations, how invoicing and payments work, how disputes are resolved. It helps to work through a process by thinking about what a party needs to do complete each process within the document. Do you have a process whenever a process is needed and are the processes complete?
You’ll also need to think about how your document functions. Does it work? How well does it work? A document is only functional if a party able to read the document, work out what they need to do and do it successfully. If any party reads your document and goes “huh?”, your document is not functional. Yes, parties can have disputes about what they need to do, but your document should have a process to manage that. Yes, parties don’t always do what the document requires them to do, but your document should have a process to manage that.
Next, look at the tone and style of your drafting. It should fit with your practice’s brand image and suit your target client. If your target client is a consultant who offers online services, use the tone and style of your drafting to suit characteristics of a consultant who offers online services. Remember that the legal solution that your practice provides to your target client will always be unique because you are not the same as every other lawyer.
Finally, add some human intelligence to your document. Look more closely at the documents you see in your personal life every day and think about what you like and don’t like yourself. Think about what your client needs and what they don’t need and draft your document accordingly. For example, it is likely that your consultant-client will need protections for their work, protections for their reputation and a robust invoicing and payments process. It is unlikely that they need harsh KPIs that were copied from a document that was prepared for a large corporation and its independent contractors.
Use a Style Guide and Drafting Notes to Create Consistency Across Your Range of Documents
Now that you have your document the way you like it, you’ll have a few ideas to help get started with creating your style guide and drafting notes. Your style guide should include your practice’s branding and how you would like your client to experience your legal solution. The drafting notes should include your preferences for all of the elements of your automated documents, including how they should be priced and published. It should also include the features of the automation software that you intend to use across all documents in your range. It is important that you use your style guide and drafting notes with every document that you draft.
Your style guide and drafting notes are dynamic documents. You should regularly update them. Add what is working in your practice and change what is not. Your style guide and drafting notes will then be the keys to creating quality automated legal documents every time.
Get Started with Your Style Guide and Drafting Notes
Take a break from your daily work and spend the next ten minutes productively. Start two new documents, one as your style guide and one as your drafting notes. Now go through and add your ideas to each. These documents don’t have to be in a set format or look beautiful. They do need to be practical tools that you can use.
We have a range of automated legal documents that can be highly customised and that are available for you to use in your practice now. Join the Support Legal community to access these documents, learn from our resources and collaborate, connect, explore and share with other innovative lawyers in our community group.