Transcript for “Knackly Talks About What to Expect When You’re Expecting Knackly!”

Kim Mayberry:

You’re taught in law school that you’ve got to have everything perfect, which is counter to the approach that you really need to be taking with document automation.

Lowell Steward:

What are the things you end up copying and pasting the most? And those are the first variables you should define.

Michael Lane:

Welcome to the Knackly Podcast, where we help law firms make documents better. Welcome. My name is Michael Lane and I’m the director of sales and marketing at Knackly, and I’m your host as well. With me as always are Knackly founders, Kim Mayberry and Lowell Steward. Hi guys.

Lowell Steward:

[crosstalk 00:00:39], same time.

Michael Lane:

Lately I’ve had some questions from sales leads and listeners alike, they ask about what to expect when they’re putting a document automation solution into their office. And they’re asking the real practical, nuts and bolts types of questions, so I thought let’s talk to the firms today. We’re considering some document automation solutions, and they want to understand some strategies and tips to make that implementation efficient and smooth. So Kim, let’s start from the beginning. Before a firm even gets to the point of shopping for a solution, what are the symptoms an office might have to indicate they need this?

Kim Mayberry:

What I find is, they are struggling to get work done on time, or they just feel overwhelmed. And part of that is that they’re generating a lot of documents in the practice. So the big thing is, I look at three areas that are points that firms tell me that they’re struggling with. One is this that producing documents efficiently, because what that really means is, they want to be more efficient because it’s taken too long to do things. The second one is that they might be getting errors in their documents, so they’re frustrated that the document gets in front of the client and the client sees that it had the name of the last client or provision in there, and so they’re frustrated with that.

Kim Mayberry:

The third one is that they’ve had a paralegal or an assistant working for them for a long time, and that person is about ready to retire, or you’re growing and you’re hiring on new people, you need an easier way to train people. So those are the three things is, capacity is reached, want to reduce errors and you need better ways to train people because document automation basically solves those three problems.

Michael Lane:

How does a firm go about the process of shopping? What kind of questions should they be asking and what kind of features should they be looking for?

Kim Mayberry:

Well, so it really depends on what you want to accomplish. Certainly, as you’re looking at different solutions out there, we’ve talked before about the three tiers of document automation solutions, and the simpler tiers can do simple mail merge, complex tiers can do higher-end things, and then there’s kind of a middle ground. But the thing that you need to think about diving into what features to look for, it probably just depends on, how extensive do you want to be in your practice?

Kim Mayberry:

Are you really just ever, all you really care about is getting those addresses in? And if that’s it, then there are other solutions out there that probably may make more sense. But if you start looking at it as you really want to get the most efficiency out of your practice, you want connecting with things, you just want things to flow together and flow seamlessly, then you want to take a look at Knackly, and because we’re leading that, from how you gather your data, your information, to how you produce documents. So that’s kind of what I’d be looking for is, what are your needs, and how extensive do you want to go to really streamline your practice?

Michael Lane:

So once they initiate Knackly, what are the next steps? How do they organize themselves? And how do they make the best use of their time as they prepare to put the solution in place?

Kim Mayberry:

Yeah, so really it’s a matter of understanding, documents are the central piece to this, understanding what documents do you produce. And I always prefer 80/20 rule, look at the documents that you’re doing every day, and figuring out okay, are these the ones that I’m producing all the time? If so, that’s where I’m going to start looking at those documents and start thinking, what information do I want to insert into these documents, what conditions one might want to have them in these documents and start thinking about what that might look like. But really the very first step is, determine which documents you’re using, right away.

Michael Lane:

And do what with them then?

Kim Mayberry:

So from that standpoint, really if you’re going into Knackly, we really recommend an iterative approach to this. Sometimes people look at a document and they think, all right, I want to take my most complex document, and I want that automated. And what happens, in that case, is that, they go out to the most complex documents and it gets overwhelming. Lowell, you’ve seen this over and over again, right?

Lowell Steward:

Oh yeah. I mean, it’s like if you take the approach of, I’m going to create a perfect automated document system and you end up spending your first two days on the first paragraph, getting it just right, and thinking through all of every logical permutation of how these sentences could go together, you get overwhelmed immediately. And starting out with a new system, that’s the wrong place to start out because you’re not an expert yet as you’re just getting started. So I think, yeah you can work to ensure that your introduction to the concepts of document automation grows, your knowledge grows step-by-step. Right?

Kim Mayberry:

Yeah. And that really comes down to the iterative approach which, sometimes is a little counterintuitive. We work with a lot of attorneys, and you’re taught in law school that you’ve got to have everything perfect right out the gate.

Lowell Steward:

Right.

Kim Mayberry:

Right, and which is counter to the approach that you really need to be taking with document automation is that you can take steps, you can increment into this. So we recommend, highlight the addresses and just the names of the documents, and start there. Automate the names and addresses, that’s a great place to start because you’re already starting to get information in there and you’re starting to use the documents, so you’re starting to actually see some incremental steps.

Lowell Steward:

Right. And then-

Kim Mayberry:

[inaudible 00:07:47]. Yeah.

Lowell Steward:

And as soon as you’ve automated the names, then as you’re going through looking for those names, then get the pronouns if any that are matched up with each name, so that right off the bat, you can start eliminating potential errors when you’ve got the wrong pronouns in there.

Kim Mayberry:

Exactly. And then you can layer on, you can add more documents, and continue to go. So really, if you can take one takeaway from this is, don’t try to do everything all at once. If you really have a deadline, we do offer consulting services if you want that. But really an iterative approach makes the most sense.

Michael Lane:

So recommending firms, collect your documents, identify what they need. Go through and define all the variables, highlighting them, making sure that you know what needs to be changed. And then just begin entering the names in the system as the first step. Is that what I hear you tell me?

Kim Mayberry:

Yeah. Exactly.

Lowell Steward:

I would modify that a little bit to, don’t try to identify all the variables, that’s the key to doing it iteratively and incrementally. It’s like, just identify the names of parties and the addresses in the documents, and accept that when you get a document out that has the right names and pronouns maybe, then you’re going to have some editing to do, but a lot less editing to do than you would have had if you just started with the last document.

Michael Lane:

That seems weird, doesn’t it? You kind of leave something unfinished and then come back to it, and that’s the more efficient way to do it rather than taking care of it all at once?

Lowell Steward:

It’s like-

Kim Mayberry:

Yes but it makes the most, yeah. It’s the counter-intuitive to the culture that’s been created within the legal community certainly.

Lowell Steward:

Yeah. It’s like as you’re going through using your old method of document generation where you’re starting with a copy of the old document and going through, and interacting without, and cutting and pasting, and copying, and replacing. Pay attention in that process to, what are the things you end up copying and pasting the most? And those are the first variables you should define, because that’s what’s going to save you the most time. And then those things that are very rarely different, don’t worry about those at the very start.

Michael Lane:

The firms that are most successful with document automation, how do they organize that process? Do they have someone in charge? Is it the attorney that’s running the templates? Or how do they set that up?

Kim Mayberry:

It depends on the size of the firm. So certainly if you’re so low, it’s on the attorney.

Michael Lane:

Everything?

Kim Mayberry:

Yeah. And then if you’re solo, plus a couple of assistants, that’s a little bit different. Or if you’re in a large firm, then sometimes you’ll actually have someone who this is their sole job. But really delineating and understanding who’s going to do what, that’s the key. And then setting aside the time to do it. You don’t have to set aside an entire day to do this. I recommend that you set aside an hour a week where you’re just working on the document automation, so that you’re getting into it, and you’re doing it over time, but it’s consistent. The risk is, if you’re looking for that whole day, that you’re just going to dive in and do it, you’re never going to do it, because things are always going to come up, they’re going to take more priority. But if you set aside an hour a week, that’s doable. At that point you’re really investing in your practice because that time is invested into making you more efficient.

Michael Lane:

Talk a little bit about the tools that we use at Knackly. We got Word, which is already going to be familiar to the vast majority of everybody, and then the online environment. Talk a little bit about how they’ll interact and what folks can expect from our interface.

Kim Mayberry:

Yeah. So basically you start automating in Word. So you pull up your document that you want to automate in word, you log into our add-in, and then you just say, create new template. When we first install, you’re going to have a set of variables there that you can start from based on your practice area. And you can just start inserting it. And then you just click save, and it automatically uploads to our system and automatically creates the intake so that you can go through and fill out the questions and create the documents.

Michael Lane:

Some people are concerned about security that there should be. So talk about that, how secure is this system?

Kim Mayberry:

So we basically encrypt everything. All of our interactions through the entire system is encrypted, the documents, the data, everything, using the standard procedures that are commonly used throughout other businesses that are similar to us, that have sensitive data.

Lowell Steward:

Yeah. And in fact every customer of Knackly, all of their data, their templates are stored in their own database, so there’s no chance of other customers getting access to your data or anyone from outside getting access. Each of those databases has unique keys that are encrypting and securing it so that the data is very carefully partitioned and secure.

Michael Lane:

We’ve got a couple of customers, at least a few of them who are documented 90 percenters, where they have been able to take their total number of hours drafting and editing and working on documents down to just 10% of what they had spent spending before. It sounds hard to believe, but it’s documented. What are those firms doing with Knackly? And how do other firms duplicate that work so they can achieve those kinds of results?

Kim Mayberry:

Those firms are viewing this document automation as an investment. So they’re investing their time, and in some cases they’re investing some extra money for help. But the main thing is time, to go through and think through your processes and understand them. Certainly like in the case of Danielson Law, they were taking about a half hour to create some of their documents, that’s now less than five minutes to create the same document. And it’s just a matter of, you don’t have to go out and look for things, it’s in a central location, all the information is being filled out and it’s producing the document in the end, plus you can also produce multiple documents at the same time. So you really don’t have to pull up multiple documents, make sure everything matches, you just fill it out during the intake and that system creates as many different documents based on the information as you need. And that’s really where the efficiency comes from.

Michael Lane:

Those firms that are achieving those kinds of results, how long typically have they taken to get there?

Kim Mayberry:

It’s kind of a one to two month process, again, depending on how much time you want to invest. From iterative approach, it might take some six months to get there, because they’re going to work on a half hour, hour a week. It’s just a matter of what makes most sense for your firm.

Michael Lane:

So we’ve got some firms don’t want to take this all on themselves, what can we do to help them?

Kim Mayberry:

Really we’ve got three categories. One is that, do it yourself. And that’s a step back from the question you asked, but we have our training website where you can get on and learn. We have knowledge base, we have tickets that you can submit and things. But the next step up is what we call a jumpstart. A jumpstart is designed where you’re doing the work, but we’re doing some of the heavy lifting and helping you along the way. Within our plus pricing, you also get access to a person each month that you can actually talk to one of our expert consultants and help get that way. Then the third step is that you just say, you know what? This isn’t in my wheelhouse but I know I need to be more efficient, and I want you to get us there quicker. Then we also have complete professional services where we can get in, and Knackly automate the document for you. So you’ve got a range of how you can go about it.

Lowell Steward:

But it’s really not just those three discreet plans, there can be a lot of overlap, for example if you work with our consultants who are going to build your document system for you. They’re of course doing that in close communication with you, but because of the platform Knackly gives you where everything is online and all of the templates and so forth are stored centrally online, as that is developing and going along, you’re constantly able to go in, see where things are at, language review the logic. You’re learning your way around the system, by watching the work that the professional consultants are doing, and thus you’re getting familiar with how it works, and you may be able to take over some of that maintenance and so forth yourself in the future.

Lowell Steward:

If you get a consultant that’s helping you, they’re not holding onto all of that content or that system, they’re not making some tower that then you’re on the hook to pay, always to have them update that. They’re building it on your Knackly workspace and you always have full access to that. And so you can use that as a learning tool as well.

Michael Lane:

A great point. So firms who need this system, they’re going to know it, because they’ve seen some inefficiencies, they’ve seen some errors and it’s annoying and it’s embarrassing and it cost them some money. So if they’re experiencing these, they know that they need some sort of a system to clean this up. The step to go forward is to collect all your documents, identify the workload, begin to define at least one variable, take this in chunks rather than big giant projects all at once. Tackle names and then addresses and go back and complete the document in steps so that you can build on your expertise.

Michael Lane:

Assign someone to be in charge and to initiate a training system, that’s consistent and regular and routine. So you don’t ignore the software through disuse. That’s always one of the biggest disappointments when people buy a piece of software and it doesn’t get used. Finally, using our consulting services, and some of our jumpstart programs to help with the heavy lifting seems to get a lot of folks off the ground quicker and helps them achieve the 90% club.

Lowell Steward:

I just realized you may not be able to hear me nodding all the way through that.

Michael Lane:

Excellent. All right. Guys, we are up against our time, I think we should wrap it up. To our listeners, thank you so much for joining us again. We invite you to visit us on our website, that’s www.knackly.io. Knackly is K-N-A-C-K-L-Y, and dot O. Book a demo if you’re interested in taking a closer look at what we’ve been discussing today, to see if it’s a good fit for your practice, and if we can help you become more efficient and save some time and money. So thanks again, and everybody be safe. We’ll see you next time.

Lowell Steward:

Stay safe everyone.

Kim Mayberry:

Bye.

Michael Lane:

And that concludes Knackly, the podcast. Please be sure to leave us a review and if there’s something you’d like to hear from us, reach out and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and our website, knackly.io. That’s spelled K-N-A-C-L-Y.io. Thanks for joining us, we’ll catch you again soon. Meanwhile, be well, and be kind.