Using the right software can boost a law firm’s efficiency while preventing costly errors in filings, says Alan Bass, president of Korbitec Inc., a Toronto-based software development company that provides technology products to the Canadian legal profession.
“If a legal assistant — often the key person who generates most of the paperwork in a firm — can do 10 times the document assembly work with our software, the cost savings become noticable,” Bass tells AdvocateDaily.com.
Korbitec’s ACL software provides document automation for litigation, as well as a task-management system that helps lawyers manage timelines and prevents files from being neglected, reducing the risk of missed deadlines.
“The Task Manager has really taken on a life of its own, but it’s probably one of the best legal task-management systems in the market,” Bass says.
“When you consider it’s included in the price of our software, it makes the decision to adopt easier,” he says.
“Firms adopt our software for two major reasons: to become more efficient — because the documents can be assembled quickly and easily — and to minimize risk,” Bass says, adding the program is sensitive to jurisdiction, addressing requirements on a federal level as well as provincially in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and just starting to explore Quebec.
The largest number of claims against civil litigation firms are related to time and deadline errors, and the ACL software contains a feature that can email reminders to staff of approaching deadlines, Bass says.
“I know of multiple firms in several provinces that have mandated the use of ACL to track dates,” he says. Rule 48.14 of Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure states if a matter is not set down for trial within five years, it will be dismissed without notice by the court, Bass says.
A major cause of document error stems from copying and pasting, a tactic that’s avoided with ACL, which assembles every document as new with proper names, gender roles and grammar, Bass says. Additionally, no metadata is embedded in the document.
Sometimes errors occur because incorrect forms are used, often because a clerk or lawyer selects an old document as a template, copying and pasting information without realizing that the form was outdated, Bass says.
“ACL is regarded as a very reliable source for court forms, as we supply and maintain them as new forms are added or as rules change,” he says. “Avoidable errors on court forms is just not a cost-effective practice.”
Bass says ACL instantly makes staff more efficient because the software assembles documents faster and more accurately than they can with their current methods.
“For example, a statement of claim that would normally take a legal assistant 15 minutes to complete can be done in seconds using our software — it’s that fast,” he says.
ACL can also assemble multiple documents simultaneously, meaning that a common motion, which could include the notice of motion, motion record, a consent and an order, can be completed in less than a minute.
Bass says back pages, which could take up to 30 minutes of unbillable time for a clerk or a lawyer not familiar with the process, are automatically assembled with ACL.
One can only imagine how much money large firms with many lawyers could save,” he says.
Because the software enables efficiency, law firms can grow in terms of files, without adding additional staff.
“There was a time when perhaps every lawyer had their own assistant, but that’s rapidly changing. When we hear a story about a legal assistant who’s able to take on another lawyer’s work thanks to ACL software, that’s a powerful statement,” he says.