As an attorney, you probably have a template library. It’s filled with contracts, wills, complaints, NDAs, business formation forms, or even employee onboarding forms. Those templates probably have blanks or highlighted texts to remind yourself where to plug in that new client information. While a “mail-merge” style approach to generating new forms and documents works, it’s slow and inefficient. Automating documents helps high-performing and fast-paced practices become even more efficient.

What is Document Automation, and Why Do You Need it?

Generally, document automation is software that uses predefined templates to generate completed documents with previously input data. It allows you to auto-fill data into designated places on the form, then save completed templates to your client files. 

Automation allows you to complete dozens of files in just a few minutes. Not even Barbara Blackburn, the world’s fastest typist (212 wpm), could complete that many documents that quickly. Even if you have a fillable Word, PDF, or Excel file, document automation can save you hundreds of hours annually. 

In addition to saving time, document automation also saves you money and helps you scale. Less time spent on document generation means more time spent on billable hours. Document automation also enables practices to streamline new employee training, allowing them to ramp up to higher-value work quicker. Plus, document automation is a key practice to running a paperless firm. 

So How Do I Automate My Documents?

Unless you have familiarity with coding or Excel formulas, it’s best to use automation software. But even with some of those, having a basic understanding of coding or logic helps. Especially if you’re uploading your own templates to the platform. 

It can get complicated quickly. But, document automation can be a powerful tool in your arsenal when integrated with other document management platforms. 

Introducing PatternBuilder, by NetDocuments

PatternBuilder is a no-code document and workflow automation tool, allowing you to automate your legal processes and effortlessly generate custom documents. And because PatternBuilder is natively integrated into the NetDocuments platform, you’ll be able to use it with all NetDocuments’ features, including all of the security and compliance tools. You’ll be able to build and run automations while retaining all the benefits of NetDocuments’ existing document management capabilities. A powerful combination!

With PatternBuilder, you can translate your expertise into workflows by automating document templates and apps to better support your day-to-day work. For example, you can create apps to intake requests, deliver NDAs, draft sales contracts, and more. You can even streamline business operations like engagement letters.

Next Level Automation

Level up from “find and replace” or looking for highlighted texts in Word documents. In seconds,  PatternBuilder lets you populate user inputs or even enter them into Word or PDF documents. You can even automate completion of third-party PDFs for commonly used government and corporate forms. This means you can scan any government form and PatternBuilder will turn it into a template to be populated automatically (this is particularly useful for those in immigration law). Creating document sets in a single workflow generates document packages in just a few clicks.

Conditional Logic

PatternBuilder uses conditional logic, giving you options to include specific text in your assembled document if certain conditions are met. This allows you to incorporate your rules and logic into auto-populating documents, saving even more time. Instead of using separate templates for specific scenarios, you can just create a decision tree for templates. PatternBuilder will then create repeatable and error-free drafts for any situation.

Demo Video 

Jake from NetDocuments recently gave us a demo of PatternBuilder by NetDocuments and how it works. Take a look at the video below to see a walkthrough he provided our Legal Tech Advisor, Zack Glaser.

How to Get It

NetDocuments is a cloud-based content management platform with over 20 years of experience in helping secure, organize, and collaborate on your documents and matters. NetDocuments offers an end-to-end platform for document organization, management, and so much more. If you’d like to learn more about NetDocuments and how PatternBuilder can help you automate your documents, visit their website to read more or to schedule a free demo. If you’d like to learn even more about PatternBuilder, check out their press release.

Curious about what else NetDocuments can do for you? Check out our full review, where you can see a features list, other demo videos, and community comments. Remember that Lawyerist readers get an affinity benefit through the review page.

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Last updated January 26th, 2024