Blogs

Within this section you’ll find our general musings and updates, along with a Spotlight section where we shine a light on individual members.

Our strategic partner LTC4 supports new initiative to establish best practices for document competency

The Effectiveness Project team announced today that it has completed the first version of Document Competency: What Every Legal Professional Should Know for Effective & Efficient Drafting in Word, designated as a best practices guide. This version represents 18 months of work from the team and incorporates feedback from academics, vendors, lawyers, and other legal professionals.

The best practices guide is the team’s first step in creating concrete, phased guidance on document competency. It is part of a broader initiative to create a framework that will help legal professionals at large and small firms, in corporations, classrooms, and courtrooms, and elsewhere in the legal profession understand best practices for efficiently creating an effective legal document. LTC4™ (the Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition) plays a key role in supporting this project.

“The goal of this project is to shift the conversation from mere efficiency to effectiveness, so that we may challenge how we think about document creation in our industry,” said Tony Gerdes, Effectiveness Project Team Co-Lead, and Director of Knowledge and Innovation at Offit Kurman, P.A. “LTC4 already has application-agnostic learning plans to encourage efficiency, so the focus on effectiveness provides the ideal complement to LTC4’s offerings. I look forward to seeing how our work will make a difference.”

“We hoped to create a guide that would prompt people to think critically about every aspect of the document-creation process and improve it,” said Sherry Kappel, Effectiveness Project Team Member, and Evangelist at Litera. “Expectations for document creation are evolving. Legal service providers who efficiently use Microsoft Word and embrace its power will consistently and predictably create better documents. I believe this project will help.”

“I was inspired to launch this project because I care deeply about the duty of technology competence and improving legal practice through simple, everyday technology like Microsoft Word,” said Ivy B. Grey, Effectiveness Project Team Co-Lead, and Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at WordRake Holdings LLC. “By creating specific guidelines and focusing on a part of legal practice that everyone does, we can provide support for the technology competence mandate to have an impact.”

About the Best Practices Guide

The best practices guide establishes a common starting point for improving the document-creation process and provides a framework for effective, efficient document drafting that an array of stakeholders can use in their existing document-creation workflows. Through this project, the team aims to move document drafting out of the untouchable realm of bespoke work to the world of knowable, predictable, repeatable work that lawyers can evaluate and improve.

The guide is based on modular structure for document drafting divided into eight stages: confidentiality and document re-use; planning, structure, and organization; research, support, analysis, and argument; creating content and delivering information; collaborating with reviewers and authors; reviewing, editing, and proofreading; finalization; and on-screen review. The approach gives legal professionals specific, yet flexible guidance.

The content is offered in three ways: an interactive website; a downloadable PDF; and eight individual modules that can be used to build stand-alone units for training and education. It is free and open for review, available at: https://ltc4.org/effectiveness-project

After establishing best practices for document drafting, the next project from the team hopes to set standards for the appropriate time-to-value ratio for document-creation work and to empower clients to ask for more in the delivery of legal services. In this next project, the team hopes to teach legal professionals to question the work they do and actively seek more efficient methods to maximize their time on valuable (and billable) tasks, thus igniting a desire to continuously improve.

About the Effectiveness Project Team

The Effectiveness Project is an international working group of legal professionals—with support from LTC4--collaborating to establish best practices and baseline skills for creating effective legal documents.

The team is led by Ivy B. Grey, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at WordRake and Tony Gerdes, Director of Knowledge and Innovation at Offit Kurman, P.A., and Contributing Member of LTC4.

The Effectiveness Project team also includes Rachel Baiden, Global Technology Training Manager, Squire Patton Boggs; Adrian Bailey, Chief Architect, DocStyle, LLC; Chris Cangero, Chief Executive Officer, DocStyle, LLC; Dave DiCicco, Senior Director of Product Management, LexisNexis; Florentina Field, Co-Founder of Prelimine, Litigation Attorney; Jacob Field, Co-Founder of Prelimine; Sherry Kappel, Evangelist, Litera; Colin Levy, LegalTech Evangelist and Blogger; and Dyane L. O’Leary, Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Director, Legal Innovation & Technology Concentration, Suffolk  University Law School. Additional contributors include: Alma Asay, Founder, Allegory; James Gillis, Estates and Trusts Attorney, Offit Kurman, P.A.; and Douglas Lusk, Founder, National Society for Legal Technology.

Learn more at https://ltc4.org/effectiveness-project/


Download the Document Capability Matrix

The DEG Document Capability Matrix is designed to catalogue and visualize the capabilities of your document center team. It should be used to communicate, analyze, and visualize trends – teams should commit to assessing capabilities every quarter to visualize progress made, or anticipate risks up ahead.  You can read more about it here

if you would like to view the Document Capability Matrix you can download it here


New Committee Members

Two new members have joined the Document Excellence Group Management Committee.  They are Heather Morrow (Director, Project Management and Training at Loeb & Loeb LLP) and Karen Kucinski (Manager of IT Training at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz).  There details will be added to the Management Committee page soon but if you would like to see who else is on the committee you can do so here.


Save the Date - Document Excellence Day 27th October 2021

The next Document Excellence Day will take place on 27 October 2021 (please note new date).  Like last year, this will be a virtual event, enabling us to connect with our friends and colleagues around the world.

Watch this space for more information. Full Agenda and Joining Instructions will be available soon.


Document Capability Matrix - Download

In April 2020, DEG Members Donna Dailey (KDW/NY) and Sharon Decker (Ropes & Gray/NY) facilitated a virtual roundtable discussing the Future of the Document Production Center. Each offered insights, techniques and considerations they use running their firms’ respective centers – an incredible session! Yet, each expressed the very same concern: given the talent and tenure of their centers’ members, what will we do when these skilled professionals retire?

Enter the DEG Capability Matrix and Career Paths Working Group. This small assembly of DEG members went to work crafting a comprehensive planning and preparation tool, designed to

  1. identify current capabilities of a document center
  2. anticipate future requirements and gaps and
  3. catalogue potential career paths for those entering the role of a document center professional. The tool, once aligned to a firm’s specific team, can then be used to communicate needs and plans to firm leadership.

Specific ways the matrix can be used include but are not limited to:

  • A long-time member of the team plans to retire; what capabilities will be lost? What succession plan will you need?
  • You have a very strong team, yet no individual team member is capable of providing coaching. How will you address on-boarding new joiners? What capabilities can be developed? What capabilities must be hired?
  • Your Document Center has been asked to service additional capabilities from emerging practice areas. Add the Capabilities required to the fully-editable matrix (if they are not already listed there), assess the team to determine the capabilities you must develop or hire.

In summary – this matrix is: 

Designed to catalogue and visualize the capabilities of your document center team. It should be used to communicate, analyze, and visualize trends – teams should commit to assessing capabilities every quarter to visualize progress made, or anticipate risks up ahead.

In summary – this matrix is NOT: 

Designed to be an HR tool as the focus is less on the individual and more on the collective skills of the department and of the team. It is also designed to aid in identifying the core competencies of the center in terms of meeting the demands - current and future - of the service it provides to the firm.

We encourage you to download the tool, review the Guidance Worksheet then edit to align it and confirm current capabilities of your team. The DEG is here to help you identify your next steps and build your future center.

Download the Document Skills Matrix


Agenda - Document Excellence Day 2020

The Agenda for the Document Excellence Day on 7th October can be downloaded here - however please bear in mind that it is subject to changes and alterations.

Document Excellence Day Agenda 2020

 

 


Sponsors - Document Excellence Day 2020

With grateful thanks to our event sponsors.


Online Session - 19th August 2020

Join us on Wednesday 19th August 11:15 Eastern Daylight Time (08:15 PDT / 16:15 BST) for our next online Event.  More "How To's, Hints and Tips", and a sneak preview of the Document Professional Skills Matrix that we will be presenting on 7th October.  You can join on the day by clicking here or add it Outlook.

For more information and joining instructions email info@docexcellence.com


Online Session and Launch of our New Shared Expertise

 

Join us on Thursday 23rd July 11:15 Eastern Daylight Time (08:15 PDT / 16:15 BST) for our next online Event on "How To's, Hints and Tips", and the launch of our Shared Expertise Initiative.  You can join on the day by clicking here or add it Outlook.

Join Clare Waller (DocsCorp), Consuelo Rockliff-Stein (Cole Schotz), John Attinger (Capensys) and Julie McCarthy (Tikit) to discover some of their favourite Microsoft Office time savers, and where you can find them and many others in our new online Shared Expertise.

For more information and joining instructions email info@docexcellence.com

 

 


Coming Soon - Shared Expertise

Look out for the launch of our new Shared Expertise initiative – a collection of hints, tips and how to do’s created and shared by the committee and members.


Online Event - 24th June 2020

Connecting, consulting and collaborating in a virtually connected world

Four next meeting we have two speakers who will give us their tips for working in a virtually connected world - Dorigen Sykes is a busy training services provider to law firms and other professional organisations and Mat Winser is the Lead Learning & Development Specialist at an international law firm. There will be an opportunity for you to ask them questions too.

You don't need to register for this event.  Just add the event to your calendar by clicking HERE.


Document Excellence Day - Wednesday 7th October 2020

After much consideration we have decided that to ensure we can support and interact with our membership during this time the Document Excellence day will be hosted as a virtual conference. Plans are progressing and, while it will be a very different experience, we know that , with your help, we will be able to run interesting and interactive sessions. Plans are underway to ensure that sessions will be run to allow for members from varying time zones to participate.

More details to follow soon - so watch this space !


Can you help?

As a non-profit organisation we rely on volunteers to allow us to continue our work. Our current global membership is made up of individuals like yourself who have a huge interest in document excellence, best practice, and the future roles we play in a changing world. Our current membership stands at almost 1,000 members representing 400 organisations worldwide across the legal sector and other professional services.

We want you to expand your network, share your knowledge, and in turn, help our members develop their own skills.  To achieve that we need your help, in the UK, the US and worldwide, no matter how big or small your contribution. Could you help us by doing any of the following?

  • Join a working party – to help organise an event or develop and document best practice in a specific area
  • Write an article – is there something that interests you or that you feel strongly about that you would like to submit for inclusion in our newsletter or on our website
  • Help us develop a series of hints and tips which will be included on our website
  • Join the management committee
  • Help with admin, distribution, proof reading, etc etc

you think you can help or would like to explore this more please complete this short questionnaire and we will be in touch very soon.


Making the best of online meetings

Read the Article by Annette Brown from Milbank on how to get the best of online meetings.  You can download the article HERE.


More Online Events Coming soon

More details will be published for these nearer the time. All the meetings will begin at 4:30 BST, 11:30 EDT, 10:30 CDT, 8:30 PDT but we'll start 15 minutes earlier for networking.

Thursday 23rd July

Wednesday 19th August

Thursday 24th September

 

 


Members Survey 2019

We are pleased to present the results of our 2019 members survey giving a snapshot view of current software projects and plans for the future.


Setting Up Standard Styles - Webinar

Want to learn more about the UKDEG Standard Styles Framework?  Join us for an educational webinar on Thursday 6th June at 3:30 pm (BST).  Following the success of last year's UKDEG Styles workshop in London, we are delighted to offer this webinar to members across the UK and beyond. Marianne Armitage (Ocorian and Standard Styles Committee Lead) will take an in-depth look at:

  • What are Standard Styles and why use them
  • Planning for Standard Styles
  • Constructing the Styles

Whether you've already adopted the standard and want to get the most out of it, you're on your journey towards this, or you're just starting to consider whether Standard Styles are right for your organisation, this webinar will have something for you.

Recording is now available within the Styles Getting Started section of the website.

 


Spotlight on our members

Following the launch of our Spotlight series, we continue to shine a light on our members; what challenges they face, what advice they have for those starting out... even where they'd be if they'd chosen a different path.


Document Excellence Day registration open

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the next Document Excellence Day.  Thank you once again to Tikit Limited for sponsoring this annual event.

It will be held on Wednesday 10 October 2018 at BT Centre, London and will be followed by an informal drinks and canapes reception.

Agenda to follow, but topics (subject to change) include:

  • Questions for Microsoft
  • The “Paper-Lite” office
  • Disruptive Technologies
  • Exploring Office Themes
  • Creating Accessible Documents

The event is open to UKDEG members only.  To join the group, please visit www.docexcellence.com/register.  This event is normally oversubscribed so places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Please note we reserve the right to limit the number of attendees from any one organisation should the event become heavily oversubscribed.


Do you have a question for Microsoft?

As part of our ongoing relationship with Microsoft, we have the opportunity to ask them anything we'd like to know about Word or the wider Office suite. With many questions on our minds, this year's Document Excellence Day will feature an "interview with Microsoft".

While there will be time for some audience Q&A on the day, we'd like to send across as many questions as we can in advance to give them ample time to investigate and get the real scoop.

We think this lends itself to a wide spectrum of related topics, from forward thinking about the roadmap and where particular features are going next, to reflecting on the evolution of Office, to the behind-the-scenes processes, and more.

For example:

  • How are new features decided upon
  • What inspired the addition of co-authoring
  • How long will text form fields be supported as a legacy tool
  • What prompted the move to .docx
  • How are bugs reported and prioritised
  • Why doesn't track changes play nicely with complex numbering
  • How many teams/staff work on the Office side of things

We're sure there's plenty you're curious about – send us your questions.