There is a revolution happening in the legal profession as more and more small to medium-sized law firms are starting to sell legal agreements and contracts via the Internet. In his book “The End of Lawyers?” UK legal technology futurist Richard Susskind predicted a constant shift towards commoditisation in the legal profession. With online document assembly tools like XpressDox for the Cloud, his predictions are now becoming reality. Until recently, document assembly software for the Internet was too expensive for all but the really large law firms. But now all that has changed.
So just why are online template stores gaining momentum in the profession? “It’s simple,” says Chris Pearson, CEO of XpressDox. “Traditionally, lawyers only have so many hours to sell in a given month, but if they sell online legal agreements from their website, they can earn annuity revenue without spending precious billable hours creating each agreement from scratch.”
So how would a law firm go about creating their own template store linked to their website? The first thing they should do is to decide which template they want to begin with. The idea is to create one template first, and to get that up and running smoothly before adding more templates to your store,” says Pearson. “Since end users who will be using the templates don’t have much legal knowledge, each question needs comprehensive help, as well as validation to ensure that users are able to complete the Interview successfully.
For example, if the online Interview asks for a social security number, the software needs to ensure that a valid social security number is entered in that field. Templates are authored in Microsoft® Word, and once completed, are uploaded to the Cloud.
To get going firms simply need a copy of XpressDox Desktop Author—for authoring templates—and a Cloud account on the XpressDox Hosted Server to store templates online. To process payments firms need to choose an internet payment gateway so that clients can make payments via credit card. Usually this is done by a firm’s web site designer who would add hyperlinks on the web site to the XpressDox template that you created in the Cloud.
XpressDox Cloud Server also allows firms to add routing to their templates. For example, you might want to receive a copy of each template that is completed via email. Or you might want the template to be routed to someone (or a number of people) at your offices first so that it can be checked before being sent on to the client. This is very easy to do.
Of course, not all law firms wish to sell their templates online. Some simply want to make questionnaires available on their web sites—for example new client take on forms. This is even easier to accomplish than an online store since it doesn’t require the payment gateway.
“We find that firms who have adopted this technology cite two major benefits: it frees up fee earners’ time for other billable work, and it improves cash flow as payments are received in advance.
“Firms will still need to market their online agreements and templates though, and one way of doing this is to educate their prospective clients that producing an agreement online is cheaper and quicker than the traditional method. And provided the online experience is a good one, clients are likely to tell their friends about the service,” Pearson explains.
With online document technology now being so affordable, many law firms are ‘commoditising’ their profitable repetitive contract work. “In his book, Richard Susskind says that firms that don’t adopt this technology in the future are going to be left behind. That future is here, now,” says Pearson.
For more information on XpressDox visit www.xpressdox.com/online-legal-contracts/
XpressDox takes document assembly to a new level. Not only is it one of the most powerful document assembly systems on the market, it is also one of the most versatile. With XpressDox, users author templates in Microsoft Word for use in a wide variety of deployments, from stand-alone documents to multi-template systems, which run on the desktop, over the network, or securely via a browser from anywhere in the world. This means that firms don’t need to deploy any software for template users, which makes installation and administration simpler and less costly. XpressDox even allows templates to be launched from a hyperlink on an organization’s web site, allowing customers or prospects to fill in their own forms.