• go5plus Team

How to optimise your documents' lifecycle

From the team at Bluebird

A law firm’s documents go on a journey and in a large deal, the journey can be very long and complicated. Documents are created, formatted, automated, passed around to multiple parties to review and amended dozens of times before the deal is finally signed.

The lifecycle of a document can last months - or sometimes years – before it is finalised.

The lifecycle will usually start with a document from a previous deal. This may be your own firm’s document or a precedent, or it could be one from another law firm. It might even be an online precedent or a PDF document, perhaps in the form of an old lease that needs updating, which needs converting into Word.

Using an existing document makes sense because it makes the start of the journey much faster and more efficient because you’re not drafting from scratch.

If you correctly convert the document, using a sound template in your firm’s house style, then your document lifecycle is off to a good stable start. Your firm’s Styles are correctly applied, it is automated with cross-referencing and a table of contents. You’re ready to start making amendments on your new deal in a stable, clean and well-formatted document.

But are you doing all that? What if you instead take an old document or an online precedent and simply start working on it. As you work, you will see that some of the numbering isn’t working, or that the font looks weird in places. On PDF documents, if you have just clicked “Export to Word” you will find yourself in a world of pain even faster.

And on a document that is noticeably slow to open and close … corruption is present and alarm bells should be ringing.

Documents being emailed between multiple parties opens them up to multiple problems, some of which are serious. First of all, the various parties have different systems, configurations, Styles and amendment software applications. Some parties may have poor training and document skills and could be pasting swathes of text in without the care and attention you might apply.

The thing to remember when you pick up an existing document is - you don’t know where it’s been!

The start of the document lifecycle is pivotal to the time lawyers will take – and waste – throughout the deal. And if it’s a large deal incurring a lot of chargeable hours, you will also incur a lot of cost as non-chargeable hours are written off because the document lifecycle has started poorly.

But don’t worry, there is a cost-effective solution.

Having an efficient document lifecycle could start with optimising the production process with experienced Bluebird PAs.

  • Creating a clean and well formatted Version 1 to ensure your amendments are going into a clean and stable document. This can be from online documents, PDFs or from old deals.

  • Training good document management skills so you are using safe practices throughout your deal to keep your documents in good shape.

  • Providing a Document Fix & Format service for when you get into trouble. Problems can often be simpler to fix than you think when you know how. We fix and return as quickly as possible.

Go5plus have a range of other solutions to help law firms reduce costs throughout the rest of the document lifecycle.

  • Secure document sharing with other parties through a centralised platform reduces onerous email traffic while still maintaining vital security protocols for your firm.

  • Your teams – both internal and external – can access and work on documents from anywhere, which is crucial for business continuity.

  • Collaboration solutions mean greater efficiency when drafting complicated documents, not only with external parties but also other members of your team.

  • Bundling software can take out the human error from the process and reduce your time spent on producing professional court bundles.

  • A printing solution is one of the most straightforward ways to cut printing costs in half immediately not to mention the positive impact on the environment.

Getting your documents right at the start of the lifecycle is vital, but the rest of the journey is just as important. Having one umbrella solution saves time, money and stress.

What law firm doesn’t want that?