It’s been almost 20 years since I first started using Microsoft Word in the legal environment. The firm for which I was employed transitioned from WordPerfect, THE legal industry document production software, to Microsoft Word—mitigating compatibility and integration issues. All the migration and conversion tools available today were nonexistent back then. We manually converted and styled documents one by one upon request to ensure consistency, stability and efficiency.
Twenty years later and the requirements have only become more stringent. Improved software security protocols and programming demand adherence to conversion and styling best practices. Yet, law firms still struggle with enforcing best practices compliance for document conversion and styling standards. And document instability and corruption is increasing significantly because law firms resist implementing appropriate guidelines.
Some of the resistance to compliance with best practices can be attributed to document sharing between co-contributors. However, many law firm personnel lack the training to properly create and edit legal documents using Microsoft Word. And since the economic downturn in 2008 which prompted cuts to administrative support personnel, attorneys, who have traditionally lacked the skillset, and desire, to create and modify documents correctly, are being incorporated into the document production process—requiring even more training for more personnel. In order to ensure the efficacy of Word-created legal documents, law firms must enforce document creation best practices. And in order to enforce compliance with document conversion and creation standards, law firm personnel must be trained to support these requirements. The Bottom Line: Training benefits your organization in three significant ways:
Improves productivity: Administrative support personnel can get more done.
Increases efficiency: Administrative support personnel can get things done more quickly.
Minimizes downtime related to managing unstable or corrupt documents.