Law Firm Leaders Discuss The Benefits of BigHand Document Creation

Michelle Greene, Manager of IT Support at MLT Aikins LLP, and Wanda Henry, Software Applications Specialist at Otten Johnson, discuss the benefits of using BigHand Document Creation for their legal document production needs.

Michelle: I think a big piece is consistency. You know, one of our goals as a firm is to be one firm and when you're spread across six different offices it can be a little difficult. So, leveraging BigHand Document Creation to provide a consistent look and feel working, with our brand and even implementing documents that, you know, we want people to use.

The one example I have is every lawyer has their favorite retainer letter. At one point, it was determined that we should have a firm retainer letter. Now lawyers are directed, or assistants are directed, to go in and pick your choice of one of three retainer letters. When we're engaging a client, it doesn't matter who you are, what province you're in, might be few little idiosyncrasies in the letter based on the client needs, but it's a consistent document that's going out now. It forces people to keep going back to the same place. This information is in there, as opposed to searching the document management system looking for a document that can be recycled for their purposes.

So having information like that available in the dock in the Template Management System, really does, you know, force people to continue to go back there remind themselves what's in there. The positive piece in that is it forces people to think, what else could we put in there? What else could we standardize?

Wanda: Well, I would echo what Michelle said about trying to get things in one place in those templates, so people keep going back there and getting fresh content that, as I said earlier, might have been updated since the last time it was used, and to get people using styles and documents, because I think made a huge difference in legal document creation.

As far as best practices, you know, I find legal documents and how they're going to be used to be the best driver of a best practice. For example, it's a good idea to get documents out of compatibility mode. But if opposing counsel is going to generate the final document and they're working on word 2003, your firm is on word 365, then leaving it in compatibility mode might be a better choice for that particular document. I tend not to like really think of best practices as like, "Oh, here's a list." I kind of like the idea of letting that document and how it's going to be used drive the best practice for it.

Efficiency gains, you know, just like a DMS, any of those solutions - they really are time saving things. When it comes to Word like there are ways to do like, for example, a table of authorities, you can do it through Word, but tools now are really getting better and better. They are designed to save time and I can honestly say we really haven't been disappointed in the ones that we've purchased. They really are time saver.

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