Corresponding with clients, opposing counsel, and other parties is an integral part of any lawyer’s day. Letters, memos and faxes are constantly drafted and sent out.
Content is important, but the technical aspects of these documents are just as significant. Are they formatted properly? Is there inconsistency from document to document? Is the content accurate? If there are errors, the document will need to be corrected, costing you and your client valuable time. This is why lawyers rely on legal correspondence templates for consistent, professional communications.
Keeping that in mind, here are 3 components to keep in mind when drafting your legal correspondence.
1. Ensure They Are Consistent in Appearance
Whether you’re a solo practitioner or in a firm of hundreds of employees, standardizing the look and feel of your documents is essential. This becomes difficult when you can’t remember how your last few memos were prepared, or if other lawyers in your firm use different letterhead each time.
Whatever the case, the easiest way to ensure a consistent appearance is by establishing firm standards for your documents.
Creating templates with your firm’s formatting standards is a good start to improving consistency, but template management systems (aka legal document software) are also available that can provide even greater benefits in terms of improving consistency and productivity.
Instead of haphazardly putting a document together, these applications allow you to select the template you want from a firm-branded list and start working.
You don’t have to think about whether the letter you’re sending is going to look the same as the one you sent last week because the appearance has already been decided for you. This can save a lot of frustration and time since letters can literally be created in a few short minutes.
2. Ensure They are Properly Formatted
We all know that it can be incredibly frustrating to work on a legal document in Microsoft Word. After all, the software wasn’t designed specifically for that purpose.
Numbering schemes and paragraph styles are not easy to figure out. One wrong mouse click can send your whole letter into a frenzy. Unfortunately, when a legal document is poorly formatted it can create issues for the individuals it was created for, it can be unstable or corrupt, and it simply looks unprofessional.
Formatting can also become a problem when it comes to letterhead. If your firm sometimes uses pre-printed letterhead and sometimes not, the chances of the digital letterhead looking the same as the one on paper are slim if employees are copying and pasting the information to the top of the email.
Fortunately, tools exist to eliminate these issues by enabling a standardized letterhead to be toggled into a document or removed. Just a few mouse clicks using legal-specific formatting tools can simplify these the entire document creation process.
On top of that, if changes are made after you have formatted, making the adjustments won’t take hours either. This also helps to make your correspondence consistent from document to document. A properly formatted document can go a long way in helping your firm stand out.
Related post: Part of proper formatting is having proper punctuation – see our 5 tips for using correct grammar in your legal documents.
3. Ensure They Are Accurate
Legal correspondence can be full of important information and details; therefore accuracy is imperative. This starts with the contact information of the person(s) to whom you’re sending the document.
If you’re sending a letter to a client, copying and pasting their contact information into the letter takes up too much time. First, you need to ensure that it’s up-to-date, and then you need to reformat to fit the letter’s style.
Integrate your contact information, through Outlook or a CRM, with a document creation solution. This ensures that your legal correspondence always has the most up-to-date client information.
You simply choose the receiver when prompted. The software places all their correct information in the letter based on your firm’s standardized styles.
So how do you accomplish all of the above without a complete overhaul? The solutions provided by Infoware cover template automation, formatting and editing, as well as document assembly and document repair – all designed specifically for the legal industry.
For more information on any of our solutions, contact us today.