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Advanced Document Automation Capabilities Without the Complexity

By Neil J. Squillante | Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is a popular document assembly product rewritten with more accessible authoring tools embedded in Microsoft Word and a modern browser-based experience for end users (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including cloud billing and practice management software that now includes full business accounting, eliminating the need for a third-party solution. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

Document automation software has long promised to accelerate legal document creation while reducing errors. However, in the effort to empower end users, the authoring tools have traditionally added layers of technical complexity that impede wide adoption. With the launch of a new platform, a document automation pioneer seeks to make authoring more accessible so that anyone in any law firm can automate any document.

HotDocs Advance in One Sentence

AbacusNext rewrote its venerable document assembly software to create HotDocs Advance, which offers a modern user interface and authoring tools that run inside Microsoft Word.

The Killer Feature

HotDocs Advance consists of HotDocs Author (this replaces HotDocs Developer) and HotDocs Advance web application (the template repository and drafting tool for end users).

"HotDocs Advance is the new simple, scalable, and modern document platform from the market leader in document automation," says senior product manager Nigel Richards. "We have taken our vast years of experience building our market-leading products and crammed that knowledge into the all-new HotDocs Advance, providing our users with an unparalleled platform for creating and consuming HotDocs templates."

HotDocs Author resides in a tab in Microsoft Word's ribbon. From here, you can turn existing documents into templates using the HotDocs Field Editor, a palette similar to what you would use to apply styles. For example, you might select a party's name and convert it to a "Content Placeholder," a dynamic text field that can later be populated by the end users who run the template. You only need to create a Placeholder once as HotDocs Author finds all the other locations.

AbacusNext is especially excited about the ability to use complex, interdependent logic that built the HotDocs reputation without having to write code. Instead, creating rules resembles formula building in Excel, thus lowering the barrier to entry to the most powerful aspects of template creation.

These advanced template options include grouping related questions, conditional True/False or If/Else/Or logic to skip irrelevant provisions, connecting to auxiliary templates to add boilerplate language, mathematical calculations, and multilingual documents.

As an example, a template for an employment agreement can offer different provisions depending on the employee's compensation, title, and geographic location.

Other Notable Features

End users access dynamic interactive HotDocs interviews via a web browser. Each interview consists of form fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc. with progress indicated by green checkmarks. There's no need to fuss with formatting. The template repository now includes role-based permissions to selectively present templates to users, reducing the friction created by sorting through irrelevant templates.

HotDocs Advance Workgroups add to the platform's collaboration capabilities. Workgroups permits multiple users to collaborate within a template simultaneously, while maintaining audit trails of user activity and changes. You can even edit answers to quickly correct an error in a document.

According to AbacusNext, HotDocs Advance's modernized user experience can reduce drafting time by up to 90%.

What Else Should You Know?

HotDocs Advance can be deployed on-premises or as a cloud service. Integration capabilities include Active Directory to automatically define workgroups and permissions, connections to document and practice management systems for auto-populating data, and the ability to embed templates on your website for dynamic, self-service document generation. The new architecture that facilitates these integrations will make it easier to incorporate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and smart (blockchain) contracts. Explore HotDocs Advance and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | TL NewsWire
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