Double your productivity.
The proliferation proliferation /pro·lif·er·a·tion/ (pro-lif?er-a´shun) the reproduction or multiplication of similar forms, especially of cells.prolif´erativeprolif´erous
n. of legal forms on computer media--floppy disks, hard disks, CD-ROM CD-ROM: see compact disc.
in full compact disc read-only memory
Type of computer storage medium that is read optically (e.g., by a laser). disks--is of great benefit to lawyers, but most of us would much prefer our own forms on computers so those old, familiar documents could be used over and over again.
If you've been looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. such an ideal document assembly software package for your law office in a DOS or Windows environment (1) (upper case "W") Refers to computers running under a Microsoft Windows operating system.
(2) (lower case "w") Also called a "windowing environment," it refers to any software that provides multiple windows on screen such as Windows, Mac, Motif and X Window. , your search is over. "HotDocs," developed by Capsoft Development Corp. (732 East Utah Valley Utah Valley is a valley in North Central Utah located in Utah County, and is considered part of the Wasatch Front. It contains Provo, Orem, and their suburbs, including Spanish Fork and American Fork. Utah Lake is a natural shallow fresh water lake in its center. Dr., Ste. 400, American Fork, UT 84003; tel. (801) 763-3900; fax (801) 763-3999), is a powerful computer program that lets you turn your word-processing documents into what HotDocs calls reusable re·use
tr.v. re·used, re·us·ing, re·us·es
To use again, especially after salvaging or special treatment or processing.
It's relatively easy to create a template (1) A pre-designed document or data file formatted for common purposes such as a fax, invoice or business letter. If the document contains an automated process, such as a word processing macro or spreadsheet formula, then the programming is already written and embedded in the using HotDocs. You prepare one by inserting HotDocs variables and instructions into your documents in place of client-specific text and wherever optional text occurs. Thus, in the Paul Jones Paul Jones can refer to:
in full American Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. television network. It began when the expanding national radio network NBC split into the separate Red and Blue networks in 1928. Corp. complaint for age discrimination, you substitute Plaintiff' for "Paul Jones" and Defendant" for ABC Corp." The specific date of employment termination in the Jones case becomes a "TermDate" HotDocs variable.
For each item specifically related to a client's case, you substitute a "generic" reference or label. HotDocs will keep track of the labels you use for those variables, search the entire document, and substitute a new HotDocs "merge-code" for each client-specific word or phrase.
The program makes it easy to convert your word-processing documents into templates. Simply open the document you want to convert and click the HotDocs button that was added to your Paul Bernstein is a CPA (Computer Press Association, Landing, NJ) An earlier membership organization founded in 1983 that promoted excellence in computer journalism. Its annual awards honored outstanding examples in print, broadcast and electronic media. The CPA disbanded in 2000. , practicing attorney, and law office automation consultant in Chicago. He can be reached on the Internet at paulbern@atlanetorg. The opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not reflect an endorsement of any product by TRIAL or ATLA ATLA Association of Trial Lawyers of America
ATLA American Theological Library Association
ATLA American Trial Lawyers Association
ATLA Air Transport Licensing Authority (Hong Kong)
ATLA Avatar: The Last Airbender . word processor's button set during installation of HotDocs. The HotDocs Library dialog box A movable window that is displayed on screen in response to the user selecting a menu option. It provides the current status and available options for a particular feature in the program. will appear. Click on the "Create" option, give the new document template a title and a file name, and click "OK" HotDocs creates a new template and copies the text from your document into it. You are now ready to automate To turn a set of manual steps into an operation that goes by itself. See automation. the template.
As noted, the first step in automating a template is to replace variable text with HotDocs variables. A HotDocs variable creates a "merge field" where variable information is merged into the document. A variable also causes HotDocs to ask for that information when the template is used to assemble a document.
You insert HotDocs variables by selecting the text you want replaced and clicking the HotDocs Variable button. Variable types that can be chosen are: text, dates, numbers, multiple choice, true/false, computations, and personal information.
Your document can also include sections of text (such as optional paragraphs) that are not included every time the document is assembled as·sem·ble
v. as·sem·bled, as·sem·bling, as·sem·bles
1. To bring or call together into a group or whole: assembled the jury.
2. . You designate des·ig·nate
tr.v. des·ig·nat·ed, des·ig·nat·ing, des·ig·nates
1. To indicate or specify; point out.
2. To give a name or title to; characterize.
3. this text as optional by selecting it and clicking the HotDocs "If' button. A section of optional text will be included in an assembled document only if the user wants to include it.
Building the Document
When you use an automated au·to·mate
v. au·to·mat·ed, au·to·mat·ing, au·to·mates
1. To convert to automatic operation: automate a factory.
2. template to assemble a document, HotDocs will automatically ask all the required questions--with each question in its own dialog. Once you have entered the information the template requires, HotDocs merges your answers and carries out your instructions to produce an editable document. If a piece of information appears many times, you can type the answer once and that information will automatically be merged into each place where it is to appear. The document can then be printed, saved, or edited.
As you enter specific information about a case to create a document, that information is saved in a database called an "answer file."
This powerful system provides an organized library of your standard forms that you can merge-code without the usual complexities of the merge-coding techniques that word-processing programs require. In addition, the system enables you to use the answer file to create other documents.
The answer file stores the answers entered when the first document for the client was assembled and also stores the names of the corresponding HotDocs variables. The answer file can be used later to assemble the same document without answering the questions again. Even better, if you have been careful to give similar variables in all your templates the same variable names, you can also use the prior answer file to assemble new documents based on other templates.
What that means is that in the template of your standard settlement demand letter to opposing counsel (or my "Here are my standard interrogatories Written questions submitted to a party from his or her adversary to ascertain answers that are prepared in writing and signed under oath and that have relevance to the issues in a lawsuit. that I have filed in court and for which I expect answers in 28 days" letter), if you provide HotDocs variables such as PlaintiffName," "DateOfAcc," "DefendantName," and "TreatPhy," you can use the answers you previously typed into the computer when you created the initial complaint filed in court. However, if your HotDocs variables in the original pleading Asking a court to grant relief. The formal presentation of claims and defenses by parties to a lawsuit. The specific papers by which the allegations of parties to a lawsuit are presented in proper form; specifically the complaint of a plaintiff and the answer of a defendant plus any were different from the HotDocs variables in the letter (for instance, "PIName" in the complaint and "PlaintiffName" in the letter), this wonderful result would not take place.
It is imperative that you plan very, very carefully when creating HotDocs documents. Here's how you can do so with any area of law practice:
* Use Windows. HotDocs has a DOS version; however, you will find that using Windows to create a HotDocs document assembly system is the better way to go--graphical user interface-based software is more powerful and easier to use.
* Learn how HotDocs works. Using HotDocs is not as complex as inserting merge codes into a document using a word-processing program. However, you will have to read the manual (which is short bill excellent) and do some experimenting to get the idea of how to use the product. Expect to take about two to three hours to really understand what to do and how to do it.
* Analyze and organize your documents. You must select the documents you want to use with HotDocs. Try to select documents that have a similar format or approach.
Depending on the area of law you practice, you may have to consider recording parts of your documents to make the process easier. Remember, you can add complexity at a later date. Analyze your documents, select the best ones for the initial group of documents to be processed, and then organize the documents into a logical order.
* Create your first HotDocs template with care. Spend some time with it. You may want to reorganize re·or·gan·ize
v. re·or·gan·ized, re·or·gan·iz·ing, re·or·gan·iz·es
To organize again or anew.
To undergo or effect changes in organization. the layout. I've found that for day-to-day correspondence in a personal injury practice, it is best to put a great deal of information into the "re" section.
So, my "re" will include text (and the corresponding HotDocs template "markers" for each of the following: client's name, defendant's name, date of accident, file number, court case number and defendant's file number. The "re" can get a bit large however, this planning will enable you to block, copy, and paste the "re" from one master (form) letter onto a different master letter.
Thus, one form letter may be the standard "settlement demand" letter, another to opposing counsel can be the "Here are the interrogatories" letter, another can be the "Where are the answers to those interrogatories" letter, and so on. The "re" in each letter will be the same and will include the same template merge codes. By carefully planning the first document this way, all standard pleadings pleadings: see procedure. , documents, correspondence, and other forms can be put into HotDocs format quickly and easily via the "copy and paste To copy files from one location to another or to copy text and images from one document to another. All modern operating systems and applications have a copy and paste capability that is typically selected from an Edit menu. See cut and paste and Win Copy between windows. " procedure.
* Set a reasonable timetable for the project. If you think this is so simple that you can put scores of documents into the HotDocs format in just a few hours, you're mistaken. It takes time to put each document into the proper format and to check your work by creating a client-specific document from the HotDocs template.
Like any project of this kind, the debugging (programming) debugging - The process of attempting to determine the cause of the symptoms of malfunctions in a program or other system. These symptoms may be detected during testing or use by real users. " process can be a pain in the neck and does take time. Don't set unrealistic goals or timetables. Be patient.
* Create hard-copy printouts of all form documents. Having the documents in HotDocs format is the goal, but to make the system work well, you should also print the documents and keep them in binders for coworkers who will use the computer to create documents. Be certain that on the bottom of each printed form document you have the complete path, file name, and other information needed to immediately find the document's computer file.
* Use the system. You will be building and adding to your document assembly system for years. The more standard documents you can load into the system, the better off you will be. Everyone in your office must use the system. Everyone. No exceptions.
* Work toward the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to create such an all-inclusive, vast library of HotDocs templates that 90 percent or more of your document generation can be done in seconds rather than minutes or hours.
If you have consistently used identical HotDocs variables in all your documents, you may eventually want to create a very comprehensive client-information questionnaire document. The answers from this initial questionnaire will, under ideal circumstances CIRCUMSTANCES, evidence. The particulars which accompany a fact.
2. The facts proved are either possible or impossible, ordinary and probable, or extraordinary and improbable, recent or ancient; they may have happened near us, or afar off; they are public or , provide the answers to all variables in all documents in your document generation system. Thus, by matching new documents with the answer file based on this first template, documents will be generated in a flash.
Version 3.x of HotDocs for Windows is available in a 16-bit version as this article is being written and probably in a 32-bit version around the time this article is published. The product runs inside all major Windows word-processing programs. These include WordPerfect 5.2, 6.0a, and 6.1; Microsoft Word A full-featured word processing program for Windows and the Macintosh from Microsoft. Included in the Microsoft application suite, it is a sophisticated program with rudimentary desktop publishing capabilities that has become the most widely used word processing application on the market. 2.0, 6.0, and 7.0; Microsoft Write; and Lotus Ami Pro See Word Pro. 3.x. The DOS version is designed to work with WordPerfect 5.1, 6.0, and 6.1.
Version 3.0 for Windows was introduced in December 1995 and provides several additional exciting features including:
* faster assembly of documents from WordPerfect templates due to using a built-in "engine" rather than depending on the word processor,
* document management due to compatibility with DOCS Open and SoftSolutions document-management software, and
* "prompts" of up to 1,024 characters that you can insert into the question-and-answer format of HotDocs to instruct in·struct
v. in·struct·ed, in·struct·ing, in·structs
1. To provide with knowledge, especially in a methodical way. See Synonyms at teach.
2. To give orders to; direct.
v. those operating the computer as to what client-specific information is required at that point in the particular document.
HotDocs is working on creating strategic alliances to provide documents in HotDocs format. STI STI systolic time intervals. , the vendor of the case-management program "CaseMaster III for Windows," integrates a version of HotDocs right into its program so that you can take information directly from your case-management program and create documents with that information. Total practice management systems like this one are the wave of the future.
The end result of this automation effort is that you can singlehandedly prepare documents at any time in practically no time at all. And remember--any lawyer can do it.
HotDocs is not the only document-assembly software product on the market. But in my years of experimenting with these programs and trying to make them work the way I want them to, it is the only one that I have been able to use successfully. Nevertheless, I recommend you work with an outside third-party HotDocs expert to "HotDocs" your documents--the experts know what they are doing and can save you time and money.