Posts Tagged ‘LexisNexis’

A Fresh Start for HotDocs

This week LexisNexis divested itself of the HotDocs software group.  It sold the assets the group to Capsoft UK.  In a post on LinkedIn, titled “Capsoft Buys HotDocs Software Business from LexisNexis,” Loretta Rupert, Senior Director of Community Management wrote:

LexisNexis is divesting HotDocs to its leading global distributor Capsoft. This divestiture is in keeping with the LexisNexis strategy to provide a family of complementary products in the legal market. HotDocs is a very popular product with many satisfied customers but no longer fits with the Practice Management product line. The sale to Capsoft allows HotDocs customers to benefit from continued support and product development to meet their evolving needs.

Capsoft is the largest distributor of HotDocs software globally and has over 13 years experience with the technology. As LexisNexis continues to transform its lineup of offerings to focus on the company’s core competencies, Capsoft is singularly equipped to maintain and enhance HotDocs software and support for you.

LexisNexis is retaining its Hot Docs Automated Forms business that utilizes HotDocs Player and unique LexisNexis content. To do this, LexisNexis is licensing HotDocs software to support Automated Forms and to resell the HotDocs software in certain markets.

The official Press Release is quoted in full below: Official Releae

EDINBURGH, Scotland & NEW YORK, Nov 17, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) —-Capsoft, a leading international provider of document automation software and services, and LexisNexis, a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions, today announced the sale of the HotDocs(R) software business to Capsoft. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Through retention of its Automated Forms group, LexisNexis will continue to provide HotDocs-enabled forms and precedents with solutions such as Lexis(R)PSL, LexisONE(R), lexis.com(R), Lexis(R)Library, LexisNexis Total Practice Advantage(TM), and other LexisNexis(R) Automated Forms sets.

Law firms, banks, insurance companies, government agencies and other large businesses use HotDocs document assembly software to quickly and efficiently generate customized documents such as contracts, sales proposals, government and court forms, legal documents, loan applications and medical forms. The technology streamlines these processes to deliver faster document creation, lower costs, improved document accuracy and a valuable knowledge base of an organization’s most critical documents.

Over the past 13 years, Capsoft has been distributing and implementing HotDocs software in some of the largest law firms and financial institutions in the UK, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific Rim.

Russell Shepherd, CEO of Capsoft, said, “For Capsoft, this is a natural progression and one that I am very excited about. As an established distributor of HotDocs, we know the product inside and out and are extremely well placed to invest in the continuous development of both the software and the support offered to new and existing customers across the world. I look forward to enhancing our longstanding relationship with LexisNexis through the ongoing provision of HotDocs software.”

“As LexisNexis continues to transform its portfolio of offerings, we believe that Capsoft—as the largest distributor of HotDocs software globally—is singularly equipped to maintain and enhance HotDocs software and support for that product’s customer base,” said Alison Manchester, vice president of content management services at LexisNexis.

About LexisNexis(R) LexisNexis(R) (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis(R) and Nexis(R) services. A member of Reed Elsevier (NYSE: ENL)(NYSE: RUK) (www.reedelsevier.com), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 18,000 employees worldwide.

About Capsoft Capsoft is a privately held company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The business was formed in 1996 to provide document automation services to large corporations and law firms. Capsoft now provides software and services to hundreds of law firms across the globe, and provides business critical software and services to many large corporations, including some of the largest banks in the world.

SOURCE: LexisNexis

EPMS: A Tool for Estate Planners and Elder Lawyers

I have generally kept this blog free of product promotions and endorsements (not to mention split infinitives).  Basha Systems LLC has recently added a treasure trove of information to its main website (www.bashasys.com) and a new subdomain (http://estateplanning.bashasys.com) and added products to the web store (http://store.bashasys.com).  I encourage you to look at those sites for your edification and our possible remuneration.  But I should let you know that Basha Systems LLC is in the process of transformation from focusing predominantly on technology consulting to a product development company.  Don’t worry … we will continue to provide consulting services. It pays the bills; its fun; and it gives us ideas for product development.

In the past several years, we have helped launch Interactive Legal Systems LLC’s “Lifetime Estate Planning System,” also known as Wealth Transfer Planning (“WTP”).  We have designed and built a commercially available probate system in conjunction with the Nebraska State Bar Association, which is used in over 120 law firms.  We have served as advisor to the Minnesota State Bar Association in the development of a suite of forms that will soon be made available as a member benefit. We built a “Record Room Management System” and “Litigation File Management System” add-ons for Time Matters.  We are currently developing under contract to ILS a comprehensive elder law planning system for elder lawyers.

And yesterday, we officially launched a new product in conjunction with Interactive Legal Systems.  The Basha Systems “Estate Planning Management System” for the software formerly known as Time Matters® is a complete system for estate planners and soon for elder law attorneys that builds on the best features of Time Matters® and HotDocs®.  The original conception was to turn Time Matters into a data source to feed the client interview in WTP.  Based on discussions with numerous attorneys, the client and spouse contact form styles evolved into a complete estate planning management system built as a feature package on top of the software now known as LexisNexis Front Office powered by Time Matters. If this area is of interest to you (or your clients), please take a look at our new subdomain, and in particular (http://estateplanning.bashasys.com/timematters).

The EPMS system represents hundreds of hours of work for three programmers with specialties in HotDocs®, Time Matters® and Javascript/HTML. And yet, the system can be installed in under 30 minutes, with a live web-based training class to follow immediately.  Basha Systems has taken its own Kool-Aid® and invested substantial “non-billable” hours to produce a high-quality product.  Take a look and let us know what you think.  Or contact us, to arrange a live-demo.

Future of Document Assembly

For better or worse, the future of document assembly is on the Web. The web offers cheaper maintenance, quicker updates, and a more consistent look and feel. The web is also the most cost-effective on total cost of ownership (“TCO”).  The catch is that startup costs are much greater for web deployment of automated templates.  Particularly since most law firms wish to “dip before they dunk”, the presence of desktop or networked document assembly solutions is critical to the development of automated content.  In the past five years, millions of dollars have been invested in innovative web-delivery of automated document creation systems.  By contrast, the investment in client/server based document assembly software has been minimal.

The sole exception has been LexisNexis’s continuing development of the HotDocs platform.  Korbitec, once the leading rival to LexisNexis, has ceased further development of its powerful GhostFill document assembly engine.  No other viable vendor has stepped up to fill the gap and compete head-on with LexisNexis.  LexisNexis deserves real credit for investing resources in building an ever-more powerful version of HotDocs.  They should be encouraged to keep up the good work and rewarded with license sales.  As I have written in my review of HotDocs 2006 posted in Technolawyer, the HotDocs platform has been transformed into a toolkit that can do some amazing things to manipulate data and forms.  However, in the absence of a viable direct competitor on the client/server space, there needs to be a clear reason for LexisNexis to continue to innovate.

Before I talk about the future, let me talk about the present. Let’s look at the pricing of document assembly software.  HotDocs Standard desktop costs $300 and HotDocs Professional costs $850 per license.  What that means is that for a small user base (1-10 users) your software investment is very small. As the user base increases beyond 50 users, the cost of software starts to become a factor. The reality is that most document assembly installations start out as departmental efforts (under 20 users) or occur where the firm purchases a form set (in which case the “player software” is free). By contrast, online software starts at $12,500 and goes up to $100,000 for the server software.  These fees do not include the server hardware, the consulting services configuring (and securing) the webserver, or the usage fees charged by a number of vendors.

It is this GAP which forces many users to look at the “cheap” software and get locked in.  This benefits LexisNexis which offers both cheap HotDocs desktop software and a much more expensive HotDocs Server product.  The cost, however, is that the web-based developers (Business Integrity, iXio, Exari, Perfectus and others), have template development environments that offer alternative design philosophies some of which may be better suited to your firm or company.  But because the startup (or prototype) costs are so high, such software is only available to the AmLaw 100 law firms and large corporations.

The FUTURE of document assembly.

Microsoft, with the release of Vista and Office2007 has closely aligned its software with the web through Sharepoint webservices, integrated throughout.  The 2-ton gorilla in the room is Microsoft which is starting to move into the “vertical” space and recognize the needs of legal.  Microsoft Legal is currently using Business Integrity’s DealBuilder product, which means that they have had an opportunity to evaluate closely a very power and flexible automation system.  It is only a matter of time before some of the features of DealBuilder show up in future versions of Office and Sharepoint.

Exari has announced the conquest of the “holy grail” in document assembly—The ability to assemble a document, send the result out for comments and editing, and then to bring the document back into the automation environment so that the variables and business logic continue to function on what is now the “customized template”.  They offer a feature which previously was only available in Smartwords (now defunct) and Rapidocs via a proprietary word-processor.  With the advent of WordML (a new open file format of XML files packaged together) it is possible to “safely store metadata” about the rules and structures of a word document, separating content, structure and format.  All of the web based developers are looking at what can be done with WordML to allow the “round tripping” of templates and documents.

Word currently allows you through macros and forms (including InfoPath and Taskbar data entry) to do much of what document assembly software does.  The catch, is that building such system requires specialized expertise in programming.  That means, to do court forms, form agreements and other automated documents requires hiring an experienced programmer.  The strength of the document assembly software is the “easy markup” which can be understood by the lawyers and managers who work with these forms, and the ease of deploying updates. Also with the separation of “business logic” from the word document, such document assembly systems allow the templates to run on multiple versions of Word (and WordPerfect) without recompiling macros.

LexisNexis is continuing to explore new options for its HotDocs platform.  A while back, it built into HotDocs Professional the ability to “Publish Templates” for HotDocs Server.  This means that for a very low investment, you can develop templates for internal use, and when the templates (and users) hit a critical mass, then invest in HotDocs Server.  We at Basha Systems, now work with Accudraft and offer HotDocs Online hosting services for our clients.  We offer our clients NO STARTUP COSTS and NO HARDWARE COST hosting.  For a nominal monthly fee, plus ongoing document automation consulting, we can put a law firm or company online.

So the future is ONLINE … it is just a matter of time.

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