Drafting Assistant Adds Document Assembly, Expert Forms, and More to Its Microsoft Word Drafting Tools
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in for drafting litigation and transactional documents with a new document assembly engine, forms library, and machine-learning tools (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a new legal research service that use artificial intelligence to keep you apprised of new federal legislation and regulations, an AI-powered legal research technology that provides fast answers to common legal questions, including definitions, elements of a claim, and standards of proof, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.
The briefs and contracts you draft often break new ground and benefit from your legal expertise. But just as often they incorporate material that already exists. And they always contain precise syntax that is time consuming to manually proofread. As a result, drafting benefits from automation — ideally a suite of tools within Microsoft Word.
Drafting Assistant … in One Sentence
Thomson Reuters' Drafting Assistant adds document assembly, reference, and proofreading tools to Microsoft Word (there's also a Drafting Assistant web app).
The Killer Feature
The new Build Document feature offers document assembly technology and a library of expert templates via integrations with Contract Express and Practical Law respectively. You start by selecting one of your own templates or a Practical Law template. Either way, you then use Contract Express' technology to enter data into the form fields to build your document.
Drafting Assistant can save your work at any point in case you need to hunt down some information or conduct research. Click the My Projects button to view recent documents, both completed and in progress. The Practical Law template library encompasses 12 practice areas, including antitrust, bankruptcy, commercial transactions, intellectual property, litigation, and real estate.
Other Notable Features
Drafting Assistant resides in a tab in Microsoft Word's Ribbon. Clicking the Drafting button opens a panel alongside your Word document that contains Build Document and other tools. Among these is the new Locate Precedent tool. Powered by machine learning, Locate Precedent enables you to compare a provision drafted by you or opposing counsel against publicly filed agreements in EDGAR. If you find a phrasing you prefer, you can add it to the document.
Also in the Drafting Assistant panel are a variety of tools for litigators, including the Locate Authority tool, which uses machine-learning technology similar to that of Locate Precedent. Select an argument in your brief and Locate Authority finds a supporting citation that you can add in your preferred style with a click. Flags & Links enables you to spot negative KeyCite signals for authorities you're citing. Alternatively, WestCheck creates a KeyCite report of all authorities in a separate document.
Other litigation tools include TOA Builder to build a table of authorities and Authority Compiler to a create PDF ebrief. "Drafting Assistant makes creating tables of authorities quick and easy," said Sarah Mauldin, Director of Library Services at Smith, Gambrell & Russell. "I like getting to look a bit like a magician by using a tool that transforms a painful process into one that is much less onerous."
Rounding out the suite of tools is Deal Proof, which has its own dedicated button in the Drafting Assistant ribbon tab. Deal Proof finds potential errors in your document such as undefined terms, unused terms, inconsistent paragraph numbering, punctuation errors, etc. Like a spell checker, Deal Proof now updates in real time as you make corrections.
What Else Should You Know?
Until this year Drafting Assistant required Windows. The Mac version will launch later this year, initially with Flags & Links and WestCheck followed by more tools in the future. "Mac users will have access to two of the most used features from Drafting Assistant," said Craig Larson, Vice President, Productivity Solution at Thomson Reuters. "Drafting Assistant provides a full range of solutions that improve efficiency and streamline document drafting workflows, validate citations, and perform other critical drafting tasks no matter where users are or what computing platform they are using." Learn more about Drafting Assistant.
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