Are you …
An attorney who needs to develop more efficient processes to offer more flat or other alternative fee arrangements?
A lawyer who wants to streamline document creation and editing to turn work around faster?
A paralegal, legal assistant or other law office staff member who’s being crushed under a heavy workload in the face of layoffs or hiring freezes?
If you work in a law office, chances are you do a lot of your daily work in Microsoft Word. After all, documents are central to virtually every law practice. Pleadings, agreements, letters … they’re the tangible “work product” of all that thinking and analyzing and strategizing you do every day.
Yet, even as technology advances, it seems we still create and edit documents the same way we did in the 1990s:
- Find a sample document from a prior matter with comparable facts and photocopy it
- Take a red pen and mark it up with revised information
- Make the necessary word processing changes, including updating dates and other variable information
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 over and over until you reach perfection!
For a long time, we could all say, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” But The New Legal Normal changed all that.
How “The New Legal Normal” changed our outlook … forever
Let’s face it: when you’re billing clients by the hour, efficiency’s not much of a concern. Sure, you’ve still got deadlines and need to put out work product quickly, but fine-tuning processes isn’t something to be overly concerned about.
But The New Legal Normal (courtesy of the recent Great Recession) has forced all of us to rethink everything. A recent study shows that over 80% of law firms are now billing at least some work on a fixed or other alternative fee basis. And those changes are only going to spread to more and more law practices as clients demand cost-saving measures.
The time to change is … yesterday
If we’re increasingly being forced to bill on something other than an hourly basis, then we have to:
- Figure out methods for creating and editing documents faster
- Become more aware of the processes we use in daily work
- Find ways to shave time off routine processes so we can put out more work product in less time (and sometimes with fewer people)
- Eliminate the bottlenecks in how we do things
- Use the tools we have more intelligently
There’s no silver bullet
The temptation here is to think that there’s some tool somewhere that can make it all better in one fell swoop. The bad news is, that’s a fantasy.
But actually that’s good news, because making incremental improvements in the tools we already have (e.g., Microsoft Word) is something you can do without spending money on new software or loads of time implementing it. It’s not only the least interruptive method for improvement, it’s the most cost-effective, too.
Who am I to tell you all this?
I’m Deborah Savadra, and I’ve worked in the legal field in various capacities (legal assistant, paralegal, and software trainer) for over 20 years. I’ve not only created lots of legal documents myself, I’ve helped others at their desks by solving problems they had with their own documents, problems that could be solved with just a bit more skill with Microsoft Word.
Since the Great Recession of 2008, I’ve been subject to the same conditions as you: staff reductions forcing fewer people to take on more work, increasing client demands for discounts, flat fees, and other alternative billing arrangements, and law firms changing (and, in some cases, failing outright) because of the New Legal Normal. I’ve watched co-workers walk past my desk, belongings in a box, because the firm I worked for decided that they required less staff, and those of us who were left found ourselves buried under the increased workload.
As all of this change has been happening around me, I’ve found myself in a “survival of the fittest” environment. I’ve been asked to take on more and more work, so I’ve been forced to develop techniques to shortcut my document creation/editing process. Over time, I’ve managed to assemble an arsenal of these techniques that have slashed my turnaround time in Microsoft Word.
“Okay, this works for you. Will it work for me?”
I’ve taught several of these techniques to my readers at Legal Office Guru, and the response has echoed my experience:
[quote name=”Michelle”]I work for an equipment leasing company and support our legal/documentation department. Thanks to you, my Word skills have significantly improved and saved me a LOT of time and frustration. I now use Auto Text for Company name, address, and managers names and will be on the lookout for more![/quote]
[quote name=”Diane”]I am so glad that I took the time to watch this video. I will use Quick Parts for: Certificates of Service, Subpoenas, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, Notary inserts, Rule 803 notifications, standard cover letters, and on and on. I am so grateful to learn this valuable tool. Thank you. [/quote]
[quote name=”Gina”]I will use [these techniques] for Notary inserts. … I have the various acknowledgements saved as one document and up til now have to open that document, go to the particular acknowledgment and copy and paste. No more, looking forward to next video. I knew [Quick Parts] existed but never took the time to figure it out. [/quote]
[quote name=”Jayme”]Oh my gosh – I’m going to be so much smarter than my attorneys! Thank you! You are a genius with these videos. Keep them coming! [/quote]
“I don’t have time to re-learn Microsoft Word”
The good news here is that you don’t have to learn the entire system at once. Remember, this is about incremental improvements. You can learn one technique in a few minutes in each lesson, spend some time applying it to your documents to save time, then come back and learn another technique. You don’t have to set aside your work for hours or days to re-learn Word. You can learn in bite-sized chunks, apply what you’ve learned in real life, and continually learn new techniques the same way.
What the Assemble Documents Faster Course contains
Right now, during this introductory period, the course contains 30 lessons focusing on things like:
- Creating reusable text assets to deploy in future documents with two mouse clicks
- Getting out of fiddly typing and formatting for words like id. and F.3d
- Inserting symbols like § and ¶ without reaching for the mouse
- Customizing ready-to-go automatic paragraph numbering schemes so you don’t have to manually adjust settings like indents every time you start a new document
- Saving specific Quick Parts like headers/footers to the correct gallery so they’re more accessible
- Embedding self-updating information like dates and cross-references
- Making templates with custom Styles to jump-start documents with essential elements already in place
- Moving Building Blocks from one template to another
You’ll want to be part of this introductory offer
This is the first time I’m offering Assemble Documents Faster, so I’m making a special offer to you. As a Charter Member, you’ll have the opportunity to get your specific questions answered one-on-one. I’ll be demonstrating these techniques in live, interactive webinars where we’ll talk about specific issues you want addressed for your specific law practice and document types. If you’re not able to attend live, don’t worry — I’ll post replays within the course so you can watch them later.
I’m only offering these live “office hours” classes to those who enroll in this special offer. And once I close the doors, that opportunity won’t be available to future students at this price.
To jump-start the time savings you’ll experience with these techniques, I’m also offering a couple of bonus items:
These two items will be permanently available within the course area in a “downloads” module, so you won’t have to search your email inbox for either of these ever again!
What’s the investment?
Because you’re a loyal subscriber and you’ve attended the Assemble Documents Faster Workshop, I’m offering this course to you for a limited time for only $47. This course normally sells to the public for $67, so I’m offering you a discount of $20 if you enroll now.
Think about that. For less than the price of a software manual (they’re often more than twice that price!), you can get an interactive course that’s focused on the specific application of these techniques to legal documents.
I’m offering a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can’t lose
As always, I want to make absolutely sure you’re getting your money’s worth (and then some!) from anything I offer. If you decide within 60 days that this course isn’t delivering the sort of changes you want to see in your daily work, just shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’ll refund your money ASAP. I’m serious. If I’m not truly delivering something that’s helping you, I don’t want your money!
You can’t wait long
Because I can only take so many students into such an intensely interactive course, I’m closing the doors on Friday, March 3, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. Central (US) Time. Enroll before time runs out!