‘Document assembly’ is one of those tools that most lawyers need, many explore, but surprisingly few take advantage of.
And that is a shame.
Document assembly has the potential to save lawyers countless hours of cutting, pasting, revising, replacing, and editing. With a good system in place, what used to take hours can be done in a matter of minutes.
Document assembly also has the potential to avoid legal malpractice. (Ever forget to include a critical waiver? Ever give a client a Will or a contract with someone else’s name in it?)
The problem with implementing a document assembly system in the past is it involved an almost impossible level of devotion to the task. And it required some serious programming. Most programs were difficult to learn and difficult even to get a conceptual grasp of. Complex coding and hidden fields were the order of the day. They required skills typically not possessed by solo and smaller law practices. So they were bought, but they sat unused. The term is ‘shelfware.’
Not so with Pathagoras™.
Pathagoras is a ‘plain-text based’ document automation system. It is incredibly simple to learn, and incredibly simple to use. Preparing a document for automation is performed using plain keyboard text. All markups appear on the face of the document being automated. You can see what is happening. That makes it easy to edit, test, debug and if necessary, edit again.
Pathagoras was designed and programmed by lawyers with continuous input and feedback from dozens of law offices. This approach has allowed us to make a more user-friendly and functional program for typical law office settings.
We detail many of Pathagoras’ features in the dissertation that follows. We invite you to at least scan these features to get a sense of what we have done to bring document assembly to every desktop.
But if you would prefer to skip the details and just go straight to the website and download our free 90 day trial right now, here is the link.
Here are a few key features that distinguish Pathagoras from its competitors.
- Truly simple variables: Variables are placeholders. They reserve space in your document for what will eventually be ‘personal’ text (names, addresses, quantities, values, etc.). In Pathagoras, variables are created by enclosing a descriptive word or short phrase within square brackets. [Client Name] is a variable. So is [Number of Children]. And variables can be very quickly replaced with the personal text you desire.
Other programs claim that their variables also use a ‘plain text’ structure. However, that doesn’t tell the ‘whole story’. When you commit your forms into their systems, they convert your documents to ‘their’ documents. They transform the simple text that you typed into background fields and complicated coding, making further editing the form difficult. (Starting from scratch is usually easier.)
With Pathagoras, you start simple and stay simple. You start in Word and stay in Word. You never leave your word processing program. Editing is straightforward and uncomplicated. (At this point we should advise that Pathagoras is a Microsoft® Word addin. It does not function at this time in any other environment.)
- Multiple choice variables. Let’s say you want to provide a limited number of choices to the end user. These choices might be the names of the attorneys in your office or the venues in which you typically practice. Use a ‘multiple choice variable’ to accomplish this. List the choices (still between square brackets) separating each choice by a slash.
Examples: [red/white/blue], [York/Gloucester/Mathews/Middlesex/New Kent], etc.
- What about pronouns? Gotcha’ covered. Just use ‘group names’ to tie related variables together. A group name is just a word between two exclamation marks.
Examples: [!client!he/she/they] and [!client!his/hers/theirs]. When one member of a group is selected, all will change together. No need to write the kind of complex ‘If/Then’ coding as other programs require.
- ‘Optional’ text: Sometimes you want to keep a section of text, other times not. But you want it in the document just in case. Enclose any text you wish to make optional within curly braces. When encountered during a document assembly session, Pathagoras will highlight the text, pause and ask, “Keep or Delete?”
- ‘Options’ text. Pathagoras also lets you provide a series of text options within the body of the source document. These options can be a word, a sentence, a paragraph or even several paragraphs. Provide a question for the end user to answer. The answer results in the selection of one or more of the options (or the discarding of one or more of the options) as you have set up. So how hard is this setup? Easy as pie.
- Repeats: When you are designing source text, you typically don’t know if you will need one variable for one child, shareholder, beneficiary, etc., or 5 variables for 5 children, shareholders, beneficiaries, etc. So, use a ‘Repeats’ block. It will ask you at the appropriate time for a number. Then, Pathagoras will instantly create the appropriate copies for you.
- DropDown Lists: These are always on, always active list that appear at the top of the Word screen. They can display up to 10 of your most frequently used folders. Never navigate again. DropDown Lists make short work of finding text you need to create or add to your documents.
- Document Dis-assembly: To assemble text, you may wish first to disassemble a whole document that you frequently use into its component parts. With Pathagoras, document disassembly is just ‘highlight & add’. Got clauses that you picked up at CLE courses, or otherwise might find in other writings? Same steps – just highlight and add.
Instant Database: The easiest database around. Enter values you want to replace document variables. Save. No separate database to configure. We do it all for you. Recall the saved values for reuse in another letter or document for the same client. Never type the same data twice!
Plain text Mail Merge: Others can’t. We can. Again, it starts and ends with plain text. No hidden fields. It is an advanced feature, to be sure, but sweet nevertheless.
Disk navigation ‘by the numbers’: Pathagoras ‘SmartPaths’ feature allow you to type a number, press a hotkey, and instantly open an assigned folder. No more wasted time navigating up, down and across the folder tree. One you have assigned a SmartPath, Pathagoras remembers it.
Much, much more: We have only scratched the surface of what Pathagoras can do. Hopefully this gives you a sense of how much care and thought we put into designing this feature rich, easy to learn, cost effective program.
If we may have just a little more of your time, there are just a few other important things we want you to know about us:
Pathagoras is a document assembly engine. We do not sell forms. The forms you use in your ‘Pathagorized’ system are your forms. The language is your language. We just make it easy for you to automate them.
Pathagoras does not require you to abandon your current files or file structure. Pathagoras easily adapts to the methods that you currently use to store and retrieve documents. Your current folder(s) of forms can remain intact. Each can be used as a Pathagoras ‘book’ without any special configuration, programming or changes.
Our trial period is 90 days. Far beyond any industry standard. And our customer support is second to none. Click here to read what others say about us.
Put your documents to work for you. See how easy and profitable implementing a solid document assembly system can be. Check out Pathagoras.