Document Production and Contracts

PDF Software

Able2Extract PDF Converter 10 – Converts PDFs to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. to allow for editing. Easy to use. The online version is free; you have to pay for the higher-capacity desktop version (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms). I have found Able2Extract to be useful for some legal tasks (such as converting discovery requests to Word so that I can type my responses directly into the requests) and less useful for others (such as filling out PDF court forms), because PDF-to-Word technology still has a ways to go. Able2Extract may be overall more useful for converting PDF tables to Excel than for converting PDF documents (especially those with complex structures) to Word.

Adobe Reader 11 – Free downloadable software to read, search through, print, fill out, and write notes on PDFs.

Contract Creation, Collaboration, Negotiation, and Review Tools

Contractually – Upload contracts or use Contractually to create a new one; then use Contractually to collaborate on the contract with others electronically.

DiligenceEngine – Upload contracts to the software and review in seconds, search for specific provisions.

eBrevia – Uses artificial intelligence technology developed at Columbia University to quickly peruse and summarize scanned legal documents, allowing lawyers and businesses to drastically reduce the time it takes to do due diligence and manage and draft documents. Press the “extract” button and the software will lay out the extracted information in an organized manner. In the future, eBrevia plans to add a contract management system to help organize contracts.

Paper Software – Makes it easy to navigate through, search, edit, add cross-references to, review, and negotiate contracts.

Peppercorn – Create contracts, in multiple languages, quickly.

Shake – You enter information and Shake turns it into a contract that you can sign and send on the spot.

Turner – Helps you draft and analyze complex legal documents.

xRef – Plugs into to Microsoft Word and automatically checks for drafting errors, such as capitalized terms that have not been set up as defined terms, words that have been set up as defined terms but never used, duplicate definitions, etc.

Document Automation

At the most basic level, Microsoft’s Quick Parts and Outlook Signatures offer built-in document- and email-building tools to more quickly compose documents and emails. For more sophisticated automation of document assembly, there are many options:

Brightleaf – Helps law firms create templates and automate document assembly. Jared Correia provided an in-depth review of Brightleaf in the September 2011 issue of the ABA’s GPSolo eReport.

CaseRails – Helps lawyers perfectly format legal documents in less time by automating the input of client- and court-specific information, the adjusting of fonts and margins, tabbing, etc.

DirectLaw – Offers a virtual law office platform, client portal, and document automation. Integrates with Clio.

DraftOnce – A web-based service for one- to fifty-person law firms to automate document production, as well as a marketplace for publishers to sell legal forms.

HotDocs – “Allows law firms to automate the generation of transactional legal documents.” 

MacSimplePrompter – Add-in that prompts you for data and assembles your documents for you.

The Form Tool – Relatively inexpensive document assembly program that integrates with Microsoft Word. 

VentureDocs –  Provides both the legal document automation software and the content for lawyers who represent startups.

XpressDox – Document assembly and template building.

Redacting Tools

Redactor for Mac – App to streamline document redaction.

Sources: Jared Correia, “My Generation: Document Automation Tools for Lawyers,” Massachusetts Law Office Management Program, March 8, 2014.