Seth Rowland has recently published two very insightful articles on Document Assembly and Return on Investment.

Here are some excerpts:

Now is the best time for lawyers to redouble their automation initiatives. Document automation is the art of doing more with less (more work in less time) — with the potential of leveraging higher profits out of a shrinking staff. The best cost-cutting initiative is an investment in document automation.


For over a decade, I have preached that with document automation, firms can leverage legal talent with multiples that far exceed that of hourly billing.


Document assembly, properly understood, is a means to systematize the practice of law. Under such a system, you could achieve the same results, or better results, in a fraction of the time.

John Heckman had this to say about these articles:

The premise behind this approach is very simple (and I have seen it work very effectively with clients).  Lets say you normally bill a client 5 hours to prepare all the wills and associated documents connected with estate planning.  If you charge $300 per hour, that’s $1,500.  So you invest in Document Assembly and tell your clients you are reducing the amount you charge for will preparation to a flat fee of $1,000. But meantime, due to the efficiencies of your document assembly routines, it only takes 2 hours to prepare the package, and virtually all of that can be done by a paralegal. All the attorney has to do is make a couple of tweaks and bless it.

So the end result is that your client is happy because he has saved $500. Meanwhile, your effective hourly rate has gone from $300 an hour to $500 an hour. You will very rapidly recover the cost of setting up the system and from there on it is all gravy.

These are both very insightful articles into how investing in document assembly is very worthwhile – it makes your clients happy because they save money, and it makes you happy because you can do more in less time.

The bottom line seems to be that document assembly really is the future – it’s good for both you and for your clients.