With AutoDocs, you can fully or partially automate the assembly and delivery of documents which are high volume, but low value, risk and complexity. This can save the Legal Department countless hours and allow it to focus on more impactful work, while delivering to internal clients faster, and with high consistency.
Given the benefits, it is worth spending some time ensuring each document automated with AutoDocs is configured correctly, with these steps:
- Select an appropriate template
- Prepare the template for AutoDocs
- Create custom fields
- Design a request form
- Add the request form to your Internal Client Portal
- Upload your template
- Configure your template
- Publish your template
- Make your template live
Select an appropriate template
When selecting a template for automation using AutoDocs:
- Choose templates that are appropriate for AutoDocs' automated document assembly design. These will generally be shorter, simpler, high volume documents where the documents created from those templates do not vary significantly from each other. Examples include:
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Data protection addendums/agreements
- Simple letters
- Renewal documents
- Ensure the template is in .docx format
- Wherever possible, use standard fonts - non-standard fonts may be converted to standard fonts when uploaded to AutoDocs
- Avoid complex formatting where possible
- Ensure the document is not password protected or otherwise protected from editing
Prepare the template for AutoDocs
Before commencing the AutoDocs process, prepare your template for automation by identifying each variable in the template that you wish to be populated using AutoDocs. The example below shows the variables identified in a simple renewal letter.
Create custom fields
For AutoDocs to be able to populate a variable in a template, your internal client needs to provide the information corresponding to that variable in an intake request. That information can either be collected via:
- Standard intake fields; or
- Custom fields.
The standard intake fields available are: Matter Name, Matter Manager, Division, Sub-Division, Category, Sub-Category, Date Required, Description, Value, Currency and Send Notifications.
In many cases, variables you wish to populate will go beyond those standard fields and accordingly you will need to create custom fields for those variables.
Click here to learn how to create custom fields. Remember to apply these fields to the details page of the intake form and AutoDoc they relate to.
Design a request form
Next, create a legal intake request form for your template, in which you must ask the internal client to answer questions to populate each variable in the template you have selected (with some minor exceptions referenced below).
When designing a request form for AutoDocs, we recommend:
- Where possible, minimizing the number of questions you ask the internal client that are not essential to populating the template
- Making sure the questions are self explanatory as the internal client will not have the context of the document - they only receive it after the request is submitted
- Ensuring that all questions that you do ask the internal client are marked as 'required' - if fields are left as optional and an internal client does not provide an answer, this will appear blank in the document generated
- In most cases, deactivating the document upload fields in the 'Documents' tab (as in most cases, the purpose is to deliver a document to the internal client, not have them upload a document into the request)
- Ensuring that you populate template values in the 'Templates' tab
Click here to learn how to design a request form.
Add the request form to your Internal Client Portal
All Professional tier subscribers who have access to AutoDocs also have access to the Internal Client Portal. Given that AutoDocs will allow internal clients access to general documents that may be confidential or proprietary in nature, we recommend that all AutoDocs are deployed via the Internal Client Portal, to ensure that internal clients are authenticated users.
Click here to learn how to set up your Internal Client Portal
Upload your template
Upload your template to the legal intake request you have configured by navigating to the 'AutoDocs' tab and clicking 'Upload Document'.
Configure your template
Once your template has uploaded, you will see a number of available actions appear. To start configuring your template, click the 'Configure' action, which will launch the AutoDocs Editor in a new window.
Tip: If the AutoDocs Editor does not launch, check that your browser is not blocking pop ups.
Once the AutoDocs Editor launches, you will see your template in the editor interface. Now is a good time to check that you are happy with how the editor has recreated your template (e.g. formatting, fonts, etc).
On the left hand side of the AutoDocs Editor, you will see AutoDocs Variables. These are the variables that you use to place in your document to be populated by responses from your internal client. There are 3 types of variables:
- Standard intake field variables - each of these variables will be named in the AutoDocs Editor - for example, "ContactName" is the name of the internal client, "ContactEmail" is their email address and "Name" is the Request Name
- Background variables - these include a small number of variables which the internal clients did not need to respond, but which exist in relation to any legal request, including "DateReceived" variables (available in 3 date formats), "Number" (the request number generated by Xakia) and "RequestType"
- Custom field variables - each custom field variable is presented using its unique identifier as shown in the Custom Fields tab. If you hover over a custom field variable, hover text will show you the label you have given to that custom field, so that you can easily identify what it is.
To insert variables into your document, you can:
- place the cursor where you would like the variable to be inserted, and then click on the variable;
- select text you wish to replace and then click on the variable, which will replace it; or
- drag and drop a variable into the correct location.
Once you place a variable into the document, you will see it populate that location in the document with a variable code.
Tip: Once a variable code is added to a document, it is important not to change it. Changing it may break the document automation. If you place a variable in the wrong place, delete the variable code entirely and reinsert the variable in the correct location.
You will also see that in the AutoDocs Editor you have a number of document editing tools available in case you need to make edits to the template itself.
Tip: Although the AutoDocs Editor supports editing, we recommend that you use this functionality only for minor editing. Major document changes should be done outside the AutoDocs Editor.
Publish your template
When you are happy with your document configuration, publish your template by pressing the 'Publish' button. Once you have done this, the template's status will change from 'Draft' to 'Published', meaning that it is available for automation in AutoDocs (but is not yet live).
You may then close the AutoDocs Editor and return to the AutoDocs tab in your legal request.
Make your template live
To deploy your template to create documents, click 'Settings' and a slide out will appear to allow you to configure your deployment.
The 'Document Output' setting allows you to determine the format you would like documents created by AutoDocs to be delivered in. You can choose:
- native format (i.e. .docx)
- PDF format
Tip: If you choose PDF format, you will also be asked if you wish to save a reference copy of the document created. If you choose to do this, a copy of the generated document in .docx format will be saved in the legal intake request, but will only be visible to Xakia users (not internal clients). This is to ensure that the Legal Department has a version of the document in editable format if required.
The 'Send to' setting allows you to determine whether the document(s) created are:
- sent directly back to the requester (internal client), in which case they are made available to them both by email and in the Internal Client Portal; or
- are sent through to the Legal Department as attachments to the legal request.
The 'File naming' setting allows you to construct a unique and identifiable file name for each document created by AutoDocs, which may be made of up to 3 parts. For each part, you can choose from 4 configuration options:
- free text (e.g. "NDA")
- unique number (in which case the legal request number will be included in the filename)
- form label (which allows you to select one of the variables that the requester provides an answer to as a part of the filename - for example, a counterparty's name or document name variable)
- the date the legal request was created.
Once you have configured each of the above settings, you can make your template live by toggling the 'Template live' setting, which means that documents will start being generated from legal requests received.
Configuring an AutoDoc is a multi-step process and accordingly, testing is essential. As a Xakia user, you may not be able to log into the Internal Client Portal in the way your internal clients do, but you can simulate the experience by going to the legal request URL.
Testing your AutoDoc is as simple as:
- filling in the legal request you have created
- checking that the legal request you receive in Xakia is as you expect
- checking that the document output you receive is correct (both from the perspective of the internal client and the Legal Department)
- simulating unexpected internal client behaviour (e.g. failing to fill out fields, inserting unexpected responses, etc)
Tip: To properly test an AutoDoc, we recommend testing is undertaken by someone other than the person who configured the AutoDoc and by someone outside the Legal Department. This will help identify unexpected behaviours and immediate opportunities for improvement.
After you are satisfied with testing, deployment is as simple as making any changes identified in testing and letting your internal clients know which legal intake request to use.
If you require more information or support, you can get in touch with the Support team here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.