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Document automation for law firms: how to build a system

Populate templates with online forms or by pulling from a databse ― Get a free trial with unlimited testing.

Document automation is critical

Producing high-quality legal documents is an essential, but invisible, part of a successful law firm. Thankfully, legal technology has progressed to the point where it's just as easy to build your own document automation as it is to build a website.

That means you have the choice: do you want to spend 1 hour drafting a document or 5 minutes?

Start from first principles

At it's core, document automation consists of two acts:

  1. Transforming documents into automation-ready templates by designating variables; and
  2. Populating the variables with data each time you want to generate new versions of a document.

The essential question when you start building these automations for yourself is: where does the data to come from?

It's all about the data

Your data should always be available for automating documents.

If you have data about your client's personal details, their goals, and their financial situation you should be able to click a button and instantly draft a Will, Power of Attorney, and Healthcare Directive. And if you find that you're missing data, you should be able to click another button and send your client an online form to collect it.

Build a system

Imagine your law firm's ideal document automation system, where does the the data come from?

With the Community.lawyer platform, you have choices: you can automate documents by pulling from a database or by collecting new data from an online form (or both).

Make your data useful

Community.lawyer Workbases (our database product) makes document automation a simple, two-click procedure:

  • 1.

    Select a row of data;

  • 2.

    Select a Community.lawyer App to populate a document template(s).

Ask questions, automate documents

Community.lawyer Apps (online forms) allow you to ask the end-user a series of questions, then take their responses and populate a document template(s).

The end-user of these online forms could be yourself, your staff, or the public.

Create a library of templates

Once you know where the data will come from to automate your document templates, it's time to build the templates themselves. On Community.lawyer, you can build templates from scratch or buy them from other legal service professionals.

You can create templates for Word, PDF, and email documents. Each template is attached to a Community.lawyer App (made with our "no code" App Builder); it's the App that determines how the template is populated (pull from database, online form, or both).

Free Feature

Build templates in Word

Our Word Add-in is the fastest way to transform Word documents into automation-ready templates.

Watch demo

Go further with extra features

We're excited for you to discover how much room there is to grow your law firm's automation systems.

Conditional logic

Go beyond “find & replace” with document templates that conditionally add / remove text. One template can produce significantly different versions of the same underlying document.


Collect legally-valid electronic signatures with our HelloSign integration. You don't need a HelloSign account and you can use this feature for free, collecting 10 sets of signatures per month, with the standard Community.lawyer subscription.

Public-facing automations

If your document is populated by an online form, you can share that form with the public. This is a great way to build mini legal products that generate leads for more advanced, high-touch services.

Client Portals

Create branded web portals that include your document automation “apps”. You can also allow users to collect and re-use their own data.

How do you want to get started?

Build your own document automations

The best way to start is by following a tutorial for the type of automation you want to build. Remember, you can test every part of the Community.lawyer for free, so go ahread and build a prototype and share it with others to get buy-in.

Discover pre-made automations and templates

The Community.lawyer marketplace includes automations made by other legal professionals that are free or for sale.


The fastest way to add automations to your firm

Hire us to transform your documents into automation-ready templates so that you can save time, reduce error, and create new revenue streams.

Hire us