The Annual Big Ideas issue of Law Practice Magazine is out. Topics include the inevitability of cloud computing, the Uberization of law, whether our ethical rules stifle innovation, crafting a proper partnership agreement and much more. You can read the articles from the July/August 2015 Law Practice Magazine for free online, but as I have noted in this space before, you probably increase your chances of actually being able to read all of the articles by downloading the Law Practice Mag app so you can read on your favorite mobile device. The app is free to download and the magazine costs $4.99 per issue or $19.99 for an annual subscription.
My "Big Idea" contribution is Your Document Czar. I know there is someone in your law firm who is dying to be given the title of czar, but that person is probably not right for this position. Microsoft Word is a powerful tool that is often very frustrating to operate. Law firms deal with complex documents and should be experts in the creation of documents. Unfortunately, for most law firms, the staff is left mostly on their own to cope with both Word and the firm's document creation policies. Why shouldn't one person be designated as the document creation and automation expert? Some great improvements, like templates, can be created by the expert and then shared with others who can make use of the improvement without having to know the nuts and bolts behind its design.
All law firms should be examining how automated document assembly can improve their workflow and save the clients money. Your Document Czar can take charge of that project as well. I interviewed Barron K. Henley, with the Affinity Consulting Group for this column. “You can use Word for 25 years and your skill level will be the same as it was approximately two weeks into using it,” said Henley. “Many of the features are hidden, so you won’t stumble onto them.”
Maybe the appointment of a Document Czar makes sense for your law firm. If you don't believe me, just ask your staff how much they still struggle with Word formatting issues today and how many different templates they use.