They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That definition probably wouldn’t satisfy a psychologist, but comes pretty close to describing the modern practice of law. Attorneys open the computer every morning and start trying to efficiently transform well-worn models into client-specific solutions and finding everything is just that little bit off the existing model and before they realize it, they’ve put in enough time that they might as well have started the document from scratch.
But automation can turn those static models into dynamic frameworks.
PatternBuilder, a new application natively integrated into the NetDocuments platform, offers a no-code solution for lawyers and legal teams to build automation out of their own expertise and processes. The product launches this morning and will be an add-on within the DELIVER solution — which also means the app works with all the existing NetDocuments features including all the platform’s security and compliance tools.
“Our customers are asking their technology providers different types of questions compared to just a few years ago. They are increasingly looking to scale their business and seek a competitive edge, which means automating and streamlining document processes and workflows,” stated Josh Baxter, NetDocuments CEO. “PatternBuilder is our answer. Built directly into the NetDocuments platform, organizations of all sizes will be able to leverage this new capability while inheriting all of the security, governance and accessibility benefits of being in the cloud.”
This should go without saying, but this isn’t a “fancy mail merge” that lets lawyers quickly swap in names and numbers. PatternBuilder can add entire clauses using conditional logic.
Take an executive employment agreement. The app will ask for the name and address, but will also ask other pertinent questions you set up. Could there be stock options? If so, build this into the app:
When you get to that area of the form it will ask about stock options and if that’s part of the deal it inserts this clause and asks for necessary additional information. If not, it skips right on by. And if you’re not keen on numbers, the system has a built-in logic engine that assists in turning user inputs to perform advanced calculations for issuing stock options — or applying tax regulations, calculating income eligibility, or computing risk scores.
Instead of looking for the model that addresses every specific scenario, just add everything into the decision tree and the system is ready to produce repeatable and error-free drafts for any situation.
As NetDocuments put it, “users can build online forms to capture data, execute calculations for on-the-fly number-crunching, and even automate completion of third-party PDFs for commonly used government and corporate forms.”
That last bit is particularly cool.
That’s scanning in the government’s I-9 form and turning it into a template so it can be populated automatically too. Because PatternBuilder allows for the creation of document sets so a single workflow can automate all the documents required. The system can connect approvals and reviews through automations too.
Breaking the cycle of constantly trying to square peg round hole static models is the lawyerly dream. NetDocuments seems to have a solution to this insanity with PatternBuilder.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.