October 6, 2017

Maximize Your Billable Hour

by Eimear Bahnson, Massucci Law Group

A recent national study found that the average solo and small firm practitioner spends 40 percent of his/her time on non-billable work. Couple that with the ability to collect less than 30 percent of those billable hours, and it’s easy to understand why attorneys are struggling to balance it all.

As a Board member, I frequently hear from Columbus Bar members looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, all while continuing to provide exceptional client service – aren’t we all.

Repetitive document creation and form completion is one of the most significant barriers to efficient case management and increased costs to clients. That’s why the Columbus Bar Association launched Central Ohio Docs – to save members time and money. This new member benefit is designed to reduce, or even eliminate, the time and expense associated with repetitive document creation and assembly.

Central Ohio Docs applies HotDocs® powerful document assembly technology to enable CBA members to quickly and easily generate multiple forms by answering a series of automated questions relevant to the legal matter involved. The answers are applied to various technological algorithms (much beyond my comprehension) to produce accurate and customized documents, in a format the court expects.

The forms were created by subject matter experts who practice in central Ohio and are specifically tailored to comply with rules and procedures of local courts, including courts in Franklin County, Ohio. All forms will be updated as necessary to reflect changes in the law or local court rules.

Lisa Pierce Reisz, President of the Columbus Bar Association noted, “Making Central Ohio Docs is a part of the CBA’s continued commitment to offering our members access to the latest technologies, aimed at improving practice management, generating workflow efficiencies and delivering value for their clients.”

Central Ohio Docs addresses some of the common limitations of fillable pdf forms – all of the information is typed in once and saved in the user’s HotDocs® account. Each document can be re-opened, modified and printed as a new document – all without having to retype the entire document or making the same revisions to multiple documents. Central Ohio Docs also eliminates many of the routine tasks required in ordinary word processing, such as cutting, pasting and reformatting, providing a more accurate finished product. Once completed, the documents are produced with all blanks filled in, and all pronouns and verbs in the correct place grammatically and numbered in a fraction of the time it would take using a word processor or fillable pdf.

“The HotDocs technology is so sophisticated, but so easy to use. These customizable legal documents can be edited and accessed anytime, anywhere, on any web-enabled device,” Jonathan Hoy, VP of HotDocs Market, noted. A subscription to Central Ohio Docs gives CBA members unlimited use of every template offered in the product. Even if the product is used for just one client, it saves the attorney enough time to effectively cover the subscription fee.”

Central Ohio Docs is very cost effective and offers CBA members both a monthly and annual service fee. The monthly cost is $20 per practice area, or $199 annually.

As a family law attorney, I’m thrilled that Domestic Relations was the first subject matter to be developed with the Central Ohio Docs service. The Domestic Relations library contains 35 different forms and pleadings that are used most often in divorce and dissolution matters, including required affidavits and notices.

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a demonstration of the domestic relations forms to the Franklin County Domestic Relations Court Magistrates who provided enthusiastic and positive feedback. The Columbus Bar Association Family Law Committee also reviewed the forms and gave positive feedback from practitioners who routinely practice in the Franklin County Domestic Relations Court.

All of the documents currently available in the Central Ohio Docs library are listed on the CBA website at www.cbalaw.org/centralohiodocs.

The CBA is currently working with real estate professionals to develop a real estate document library and additional practice areas, including estate planning and juvenile law.

If you’d like to learn more about how document automation can help you maximize your billable hour, the CBA is hosting a free CLE on October 18, which will include samples using the Hot Docs technology.

Eimear Bahnson

Free 1.0 Hour CLE

October 18, 12-1pm
Document Automation

Stop drafting new documents by finding old documents. There's a better way: Attend this free CLE and learn how you can increase drafting speed and accuracy with document automation.