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/