Speed Up Document Drafting by Connecting to Multiple Data Sources
May 30, 2023
Pathagoras, a Microsoft Word add-in that provides no-code legal document assembly, now integrates with Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel for importing data from diverse sources into your documents. Read our new TechnoLawyer Buyer's Guide report below.
Speed Up Document Drafting by Connecting to Multiple Data Sources
Drafting legal documents should take less time than ever thanks to document automation. However, legal documents often need to draw from external data sources for client and matter information. This need for data can slow down the drafting process even when using document assembly software. Pathagoras now provides a solution for faster data entry from multiple sources via Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel.
The Killer Feature
Pathagoras uses "true plain text markup" for document templates rather than a programming language. The markup procedure involves enclosing words and phrases to create "document variables" (information such as a client name that changes with each document) with brackets. The company refers to this process as "Pathagorizing" a document, which operates on a "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) principle.
Pathagoras has long included an Instant Database that stores client data for use in the current document and subsequent documents. The new Acrobat and Excel integrations take this concept further by importing data from any source to populate variables in Pathagoras templates. This integration serves as a lingua franca for your legal documents, letting you:
  • Create intake forms in PDF or XLSX format for clients to fill out and return for importing via Acrobat or Excel.
  • Work with data from billing, practice management, and other types of software, using Excel as a bridge.
  • Incorporate calculations from Excel formulas.
"Pathagoras already had several tools that allowed easy sharing of data between Word and Excel," says Pathagoras President Roy Lasris. "Many of our users who were proficient in Excel asked for additional features that would allow them to create client interviews and make document selections from the very powerful Excel toolbox. We made it happen, while keeping it plain-text easy. And adding the same tools in an Adobe Acrobat environment was icing on the very delicious cake."
Thanks to new integrations with Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel, Pathagoras can import client data from virtually any source such as practice management systems and PDF forms.
Other Notable Features
Because it resides within Word, Pathagoras leverages many of Word's core features. For example, templates can use your carefully constructed Styles. This is especially useful for your firm's letterhead and to comply with court rules. Document handling tools allow you to open any document from any location, an improvement on Word's Open Recent menu. Since all document management systems support Microsoft Word, they can take advantage of Pathagoras for creating new versions, adding Document IDs, etc.
As your Pathagoras templates grow in number, Dropdown Lists let you organize them for fast "two click access." Dropdown Lists can also house clause libraries for intricate legal documents. You can display up to 10 Dropdown Lists in the toolbar. Templates in these Lists can reside locally or on cloud platforms such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, or NetDocuments for access from multiple computers.
Other advanced features in Pathagoras include variables that use multi-select menus and radio buttons, pronoun preferences, logic branches for optional clauses, date calculations, and all conceivable date and dollar formats.
Michael Drumm, founder of Denver-based Drumm Law, often needs to spell out dollar amounts in documents. He uses Pathagoras to automate this for him. "I've been using Pathagoras for the past seven years and I can say it's the single greatest technology change I've ever made in my law practice," says Drumm. "With a little effort, all my pleadings, letters, and more have become automated and I have cut drafting errors by 95%. Anything I can create on an "if/then" flow chart can be easily incorporated into the forms along with custom optional clauses as lengthy and complex as needed."
What Else Should You Know?
Because Pathagoras is popular among solo practitioners, it includes two standalone document management tools — PathSmart and SaveSmart. PathSmart lets you assign a number and nickname to any folder on your computer. With SaveSmart, you can save documents to any folder using the assigned number or nickname. Or you can set rules to automatically save certain document types in specific folders.
Pathagoras offers a 90-day free trial. If you decide to purchase it, you have a choice between a one-time payment or a monthly subscription. All options include unlimited support and updates.
Take a Closer Look at Pathagoras
Meet Neil J. Squillante
Neil J. Squillante founded TopLaw and serves as its publisher. As a young litigator working on a high-profile trial, Neil witnessed the discrepancy between what happened in the courtroom and what the media reported. Neil created TopLaw to provide fellow lawyers and law firm personnel with reliable information. Many consider TopLaw newsletters the only ones they need. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University. At UCLA, Neil served as a Managing Editor of UCLA Law Review.
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