There are numerous articles on the merits of automating documents and so for this series I wanted to focus on how you make that a reality. As a lawyer turned document automation specialist and a keen problem solver I've tried a whole host of approaches to automate both my previous firm's and clients' templates.

Over the course of this series of articles I'll be sharing some insights into the approach that we, in the CC Dr@ft team, have identified as best practice and highlighting some of the pitfalls that you should try to avoid when moving towards automated legal processes.

For this first article, I'd like to set the scene and share a bit about my journey to working as part of CC Dr@ft alongside my colleagues Bram Kocken and Alexandra Price.

Before I was involved in document automation I was a practising capital markets lawyer at Clifford Chance LLP. With a Masters in Engineering (focusing on design, manufacture and management) I've always had a passion for streamlining processes and I've built up a reputation as such during my practising years (at one point setting up my own legal tech startup to automate certain standard industry documents). During that time I started experimenting with automation of the firm's templates and that is when my journey began. In my startup days I taught myself to code in several languages and so I was familiar with a lot of the logic and development concepts that sit at the heart of automation. Within two years I had jumped ship to work on legal tech and automation full time and was working closely with Thijs Lommen, a pioneer of document automation in the financial legal sector and a great mentor.

Since jumping ship I've had the pleasure of working with many passionate people, I've tried a lot of different tools and techniques (and made a lot of mistakes along the way) but ultimately, alongside my colleagues have also taken some great learnings and had some great successes. A lot of these we have now captured on our CC Dr@ft development framework which broadly consists of the following stages:

  1. Preparation
  2. Scoping
  3. Development
  4. Testing
  5. Sign-off
  6. Maintenance

For the next article in the series, I'll be focusing on Preparation. I hope you enjoy the series and if you have any queries along the way do let me know and I'll try to address them in the following articles.

Until next time...

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Article Series

How to automate documents - Part 2: Preparation 

How to automate documents - Part 3: Scoping

How to automate documents - Part 4: Development

How to automate documents - Part 5: Testing

How to automate documents - Part 6: Sign-off

How to automate documents - Part 7: Maintenance