Gowlings Law Firm Maximizes Efficiencies and Standardizes Processes
Today, to stay competitive, law firms must deliver exceptional value. Many firms do so through unique service offerings, various ways to deliver traditional services or alternative billing methods. Document automation, or document assembly, is a means in which many firms have leveraged technology to deliver value through better service and lower costs. Document automation creates documents smartly, increasing speed, accuracy and consistency in document production.
Gowlings is a leading international law firm with over 700 legal professionals serving clients from 10 offices across Canada and around the world. In 2004 Gowlings recognized that they could bring value to their clients by leveraging GhostFill, the previous generation technology from GhostDraft, for their debt recovery practice. They utilized this solution for file intake, workflows, and document automation and production.
Selecting Customer Communications Management Software
When it came time to review new technologies for portfolio management and automating other practice areas in the firm, Gowlings selected GhostDraft, GhostFill’s next-generation document assembly software. Gowlings then ported over several applications to the GhostDraft document assembly platform. GhostDraft helps to dramatically reduce the time to produce legal documents while ensuring consistency and accuracy. The legal documents Gowling’s generates using GhostDraft include standard client correspondence, court forms, complex corporate documents, and contracts.
“GhostDraft is fundamentally database aware, which isn’t the case with competing document assembly tools, and is why we chose to move over to this platform”, said Mark Tamminga, Partner and Leader of Innovation Initiatives at Gowlings. “GhostDraft’s ability to present an integrated development environment is an extremely powerful model. Using GhostDraft Studio, all our documents live in a common repository, rigorous styling rules are applied, and thousands of documents can be effectively looked at as if they are a single entity. These features are extremely valuable to us.”
The GhostDraft implementation was atypical since Gowlings incorporated the document assembly software into three different applications. Tamminga decided to work on the implementation as the sole Gowlings resource while maintaining his full-time management responsibilities and was able to complete the integration of GhostDraft into the three applications in less than a year.
Gowlings’s users did not have to be trained to use GhostDraft. It is integrated into the applications their lawyers and assistants were already using to produce legal documents. About 70 people at the firm use GhostDraft regularly, and this group is expanding rapidly.
GhostDraft is able to produce about 90% of Gowling’s legal documents in Tamminga’s practice area. The user acceptance testing is on-going and Gowlings makes minor changes to templates as needed. Since its implementation in 2013, Gowlings has generated almost one million documents using GhostDraft and has over 1,500 templates in production.
GhostDraft Future Uses
Gowlings is evaluating GhostDraft for a number of complex corporate document environments where there is no database information or portfolios of files but will allow users to interactively create documents by collecting information through a web page. They will use GhostDraft Prologue, a web-based data input application, to help set precedents for these longer, more complex documents. This will allow several users to contribute to the same document but will eliminate the likelihood of errors in grammar, tense, branding, etc. This application of GhostDraft Prologue will not only eliminate errors but will also save the firm time and money.
Working with the GhostDraft Team
Gowlings views the GhostDraft team as their document automation partner. GhostDraft looks to Gowlings for suggestions and incorporates their input into the product roadmap. The implementation of Gowling’s recommendations not only addresses their needs but also benefits the entire GhostDraft community. They are pleased that their requests are most often integrated into the product and that a solution is always reached. Gowlings has a very close working relationship with the GhostDraft team and finds them to be very responsive and thorough.
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