HotDocs + Actionstep = Interviews + Workflow

The advent of HotDocs Cloud Services (the online equivalent of their enormously popular desktop document assembly platform) opened the door to meaningful integration with other cloud software systems. Actionstep was the first to put its hand up and the first cloud-based practice management system to support HotDocs interviews and document assembly.

Over the years law firms and template developers have invested a huge amount of time coding up HotDocs templates on the desktop. These templates contain a vast amount of intellectual property and the thought of migrating these to another platform would be daunting and risky. However with the launch of HotDocs support in Actionstep these desktop templates can be uploaded directly to the cloud and used as-is. The document interview displays in a browser window and the assembly takes place in the cloud. The output documents are automatically stored in the correct folder in the matter after the assembly. No need for any desktop software.

The HotDocs templates play alongside Actionstep’s native document assembly (based on .docx templates).

Press Release

April 29, 2014

HotDocs Cloud Services is a Document Generation Platform as a Service (DGPaaS) designed to deliver interactive HotDocs interviews into 3rd-party applications targeting vertical niches. The strategy behind Cloud Services is based on the notion that many different types of applications require complex document-generation interviews delivered on point within structured processes, but that most such web applications lack the ability to handle complex, highly interactive interviews, let alone use the resulting data to generate complex legal documents.

Data First vs. Document First

There are lots of tools out there that allow you to create web forms for gathering information, including BPMs, CCMs, ECMs . . . You get the idea. But virtually all of them take a data-first approach. In other words, you first decide what data you want to gather and then place a field for each data item on a form. This approach works fine for many applications, but falls far short in respect to automated-document-generation applications, which require a much more sophisticated approach to data gathering, a document-first approach. In other words, with document generation, you first build business logic into the document. Then, you build a sequence of data-gathering forms (an interview) that asks all the right questions at all the right times.

Actionstep, A Cutting-Edge Legal Practice Management Application

Actionstep is a legal Practice Management technology that is unique in its ability to allow legal professionals to create ad-hoc workflows around specific cases or matters. Not only does this approach give legal professionals more flexibility in managing their practices, it also increases efficiency and yields better work product. In addition to allowing a law firm to create custom workflows, Actionstep includes many pre-built workflows that can be used “as is” or modified to meet specific requirements.

Like virtually all legal practice management tools, Actionstep allows users to create data-gathering forms. However, Actionstep also allows its users to integrate HotDocs interviews directly into workflows, a functionality that takes Actionstep to an entirely different level as a tool for managing a law practice.

Read the rest of the article on the HotDocs blog….

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