Filevine’s Document Generation Tool—friends can call it DocGen—lets you create beautiful, professional documents with the click of a button.

But many Filevine users aren’t aware of the power at their fingertips.

Why is DocGen a game-changer?

It saves time.

Without automated documents, legal professionals invest a tremendous amount of time creating and formatting new documents. At best, you have a template which you manually change, maybe by toggling between multiple programs to gather all the right information. Then hopefully you save the new version to the right folder.

But with DocGen, you click a button, it pulls information directly from your files, and saves the resulting document in the right place.

Reduce human error when you automate your documents.

With traditional drafting techniques, human error can cause problems in several ways. You can make a mistake while drafting the letter. You can use the wrong template. You might transpose the wrong information from your case files. And you can save it in the wrong place, or forget to save it at all.

With DocGen, the correct and most recent template is right there in the case files for all to use. The drafting and transposing is done for you. And it’s automatically saved right where you want it.

Document automation gives your firm a unified, professional voice.

Most importantly, it helps you hone and develop your voice as an organization. No matter who creates the document, you can rest assured that the resulting product meets your standards.

Whether you’re communicating with clients, opposing counsel, or others, make sure you're proud to have your firm’s name on each document.

Here are 7 ways to maximize the benefits of Filevine’s DocGen:

1. Just get started

If you haven’t set up a DocGen template before, you might feel intimidated by the prospect. This help document will walk you through the process. As always, if you run into trouble, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at our Help Center or check out one of our weekly live trainings.

Start small and work up from there. The most popular automated documents include:

  • Potential client intake forms
  • New client welcome letters
  • Representation letters
  • Pleadings
  • Interrogatories
  • Notices of deposition
  • Contracts
  • Establishing trusts
  • Mass claims
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Powers of attorney

2. Expand possibilities with a Multi-Template Button

You can add a separate DocGen button for each kind of document. But as you rely on the tool more, this can get cluttered.

Instead, try out the Multi-Template Button. It brings up a list of possible templates to choose from. Put one in each section of your files, and rest assured that everything is covered.

Hint: put the button in the same place in each section, either at the top or the bottom, so everyone on the team knows where to find it.

3. Keep everything automatically organized and easy to find

Choose a folder where your new documents will be automatically filed. We legal professionals are mere mortals: we can’t be expected to always file documents correctly. Take away the guesswork by setting up an automatic destination.

Make them even easier to find by marking new documents with an automatic hashtag. For instance, you can set it up so whenever you create a pleadings doc, it’s marked as #pleadings. This way, you can search for that hashtag and bring them right up.

4. Don’t forget the PDFs

Did you know you can turn PDFs into DocGen templates too? The process is a little different from Word and Excel files. Instead of typing the replacement codes directly into the document, you insert ‘fillable fields’ into the PDF.

Some forms, like government documents, might already come to you with these fields already present, making the process that much easier. For others, you can use tools like Adobe Acrobat to insert them.

Once you upload the PDF in Doc Generation Setup, select it and click on the cog above it. Then run through each field and insert the replacement code you want.

5. Go deeper with mail merge formatting

If you’re already using DocGen, you know the power of those {{curly brackets}}. But did you know your replacement fields could go deeper?

Merge fields are a more advanced formatting technique used in mail merge for Word and Excel documents. You can use them with Filevine’s DocGen to determine exactly how you want your data to show. For instance, you can make a name show up in all-caps, change a number into a percentage, or make dollar amounts show up with a $ and commas rather than plain numbers.

To see how to use common merge fields click here.

A hint with all replacement codes: when you’re looking at the field codes in Filevine, see the little clipboard to the right of the modifier you want to use? Click that to copy the modifier, so you can plug it in wherever you want.

6. Use conditional formatting for greater personalization

With merge fields, you can also introduce conditional formatting. This creates an if-then equation that changes the document based on information in your case files.

For instance, you can alter gender pronouns based on the relevant person’s gender in your case files. They’re also often used to get rid of unwanted spaces and commas when there isn’t anything in that field in your case files.

Microsoft hosts a number of tutorials about mastering mail merge formatting for those who want to go deeper on merge fields.

7. Make different templates available for different clients

With the tools in Customs Editor, you can make specific versions of your templates show up for different clients, based on information in their files.

For instance, you can make client documents automatically match their preferred language. When your client’s primary language is Spanish, DocGen can automatically generate Spanish versions of all the documents you use to communicate with them.

To set up different versions of templates for different clients, check out ‘Additional Field and Widget Options’ with Custom’s Editor.

Wherever you are on your legal tech journey, DocGen can give your practice a boost.

Remember to keep your templates updated by deleting old versions and uploading new ones. Add more templates into the process as you go along. And make sure everyone on your team understands how to harness the power of automatic document generation.