Document Assembly and Information Portals

Basha Systems continues it exploration of finding the most efficient technology to provide information on document assembly and its potential as a “disruptive technology” that created “profits” for the practice of law. Part of this exploration has been the porting of the this blog to Expression Engine. Other examples can be seen on the main web site with the introduction of Video Tours of our system. See Document Assembly Video Tours. Another element is the use of integrated web publishing and threaded discussion technology which will soon be available as a private Client Portal on Bashasys.Ne

Related Link: A sample link to our Client Support Portal

What is the promise of Web portals and why should anyone who cares about document assembly care?

Web portals no longer cost thousands of dollars.  There are open source web-portals, and there are low priced software systems which contain dozens of customizable skins.  While these “portals” are not designed for an “attorney” to set up WYSWIG … They do present a powerful, low cost alternative that is within the reach of most law firms.  And … the benefit is that since portals are driven by databases … and not HTML coded pages, it is incredibly each to add new articles, or manage threaded discussions without ANY knowledge of HTML, PHP, MySQL and the plethora of intimidating web acronyms.

The reason you should care is simple.  Many clients start out with a “google search” before they go to an attorney.  It is not that they use the Google search to choose the attorney, but they use it to inform themselves of the law in a particular area so that they can more effectively use the attorney’s “expensive” time.  That is because attorneys, for better are worse, are views as “expensive” … and the less time you spend with an attorney, the better.  “Some of my best friends are attorneys … and I still maintain my own bar rap.”

How to WebPortal Increase Visibility

Web portals, particular ones like ExpressionEngine and SubDreamer are entirely database driven.  The entire website consists of a series of cascading templates and style sheets which pull information from a database of posted articles.  This means, you have an instant, current, easily modifiable, completely searchable and indexed set of articles, organized by categories and subcategories, that can demonstrate the expertise of your firm.  Most webportals, include a guestbook that can be used to “track leads” on new potential business.  And, for clients, there is support for “member groups” so that you can publish articles specific to a client, based on the client’s login.

Most up to the Bigleague with a low budget

This is not to denigrate Sharepoint (from Microsoft) or some of the other bigger web portals.  There is a place for them.  But the starting price for those systems is easilly in the tens of thousands of dollars before you see a clear benefit.  By contrast, you can get a hosted web site ($50/month), a license to SubDreamer ($125) and engage a webdeveloper who can “skin” these sites for two days ($3,000) and you have a complete publishing platform and client support system.  You can replace the “pesky emails” that go awry with a secure, private threaded discussion forum that only you and your client can see.  And this will be a forum that you can see from an internet connected terminal, subject to proper login.

And the Reason I care

We are not in the web development system at Basha Systems, but we have invested hundreds of hours in learning these tools and applying document assembly object oriented programming principals to their development.  We use these tools to communicate effectively with our clients.  Our hope is that with these tools, our clients will be able to generate more business, and more revenue which can be reinvested into building profitable document assembly systems with HotDocs, GhostFill and Dealbuilder.