Most law firms maintain a brief bank or forms library. Operating from prior work as a starting place has been a long-established work practice in many workplaces. As I previously noted in my Law Practice Magazine column Your Document Czar (July/August 2015), the way law firms produce documents is evolving as document assembly tools enter the workplace. We also can appreciate some risk with using “the last time we did this” as a starting point instead of using an established best practice starting point.
Whether you’re going to automate the creation process or manually generate a document, every lawyer in every law firm should be operating from a flawless standard starting point. I’m far from alone in noting that law firms should invest in creating “gold standard documents” as this common starting place for the lawyers in the firm.
Certainly there will be a continuing need for handcrafted and unique pleadings, briefs, contracts and other legal documents. But many of these creations may be improved if the drafter always starts from a gold standard. When we talk about the future of law, Implementing the Gold Standard, the subject of my column in the May/June 2017 issue of Law Practice Magazine, is a common sense practice for law firms.
No matter what your view of the future, this is an important practice for your law today as well as for the future. What policies do you have in place to make certain your unique documents being created now are preserved as a future gold standard?