Automated Document Generation
Automated Document Generation or Automated Document Assembly is an extremely important function, especially when automating the legal and professional services.
Inter and Intra Logic
Unlike most other document assembly tools, VisiRule enables you to capture and specify the logic between and across documents as well as inside documents. This means you can explore the logic which determines which documents, if any, are required as well as generate them.
Which Legal Documents are Unique?
Very few legal documents are completely unique but very few are exactly the same! Rather than try manually copying and pasting from the 'last' previously used version, you can design document template to outline the contents of the document and then you can use a VisiRule chart to gather the answers needed to populate the template to generate a document instance. You just need to ensure that you capture all the values that are used in the document.
Questionnaire Driven Document Generation
The convenience for the lawyer or legal client is that rather than have to immerse themselves in Word editing, they can simply answer a web-based set of questions and have that generate a nicely formatted document instance. Every answer and conclusion is recorded and can be analysed later.
How does VisiRule Document Automation Work?
VisiRule Document Automation combines the following:
VisiRule Expert System Chart
VisiRule charts generate interactive VisiRule sessions. VisiRule builds a session record which contains all the given answers to questions and calculated values. At the end of each session, VisiRule uses this record to populate a Master Document Template, or boilerplate, like Mail-Merge on Steroids
You can supply an optional clause database which contains text fragments to be used. Common clauses and commonly used paragraphs can be stored and maintained in a separate precedence database and used across multiple templates, documents and charts.
Master Document Template
A Master Document Template is a document template, or boilerplate, annotated with special VisiRule tags. These tags indicate where to insert the user's answers plus any selected text fragments. Tags can also contain conditional logic.
You can use conditional logic to evaluate whether or not to include some text. The text for these can be stated explicitly in the template or stored in the Clause Database. This logic can range from a simple test to quite complex logic which refers to more than one question.
To include the text in the final document you simply quote the text after the test and use the INSERT directive:
IF Applicant = HouseHolder THEN INSERT "You need to check that the house insurance is uprated as per the recommended house inflation index."
Selecting Text to Include
To include the text in the template you simply use the SELECT directive:
IF Age < 18 AND Applicant = Female THEN SELECT UnderAgeFemaleClause#3
So Easy to Generate
VisiRule can automate document output in various formats such as text, PDF, XML, HTML and RTF.
VisiRule can produce bespoke high-quality documents using the answers gathered and calculations computed in the session.
VisiRule can combine complex logic with conditional text selection and insertion.
Automated Document Assembly
Automated document generation is an important part of many legal and non-legal processes. In VisiRule, you can associate more than one template with a chart, have different templates on different branches and potentially generate multiple document instances, reports or contracts.
Whereas standard document generation tools are limited to inserting values into place-holders, or variables, in the document template, VisiRule allows you to include complex logic in conjunction with text selection and insertion.
The VisiRule chart will ask all the relevant and necessary questions, and then use the answers to generate a document instance. This often involves some basic data propagation, say of 'Company Name', or 'Applicant's Age', and can also involve the accessing stored values in external data sources.
Expert Systems Document Generation
Expert Systems provide an excellent way to ask questions using a guided dynamic questionnaire. The answers gathered can be used to populate document templates and create documents such as Letters of Agreement, Non-Disclosure Agreements, Tax Reports, or even, complex multi-page and multi-sectioned contracts.
Limitations of Legacy Document Automation
Document Automation has been around for many years and early products used WordPerfect to automate the creation of legal documents.
Most automated document generation tools tend to mix the document structure and conditional logic within a single Word template using some sort of ad-hoc mark-up notation. This is further complicated by the need to specify both the logical tests associated with the document text and the presentation of the questionnaire. A major drawback of such tools is that they force everything into the template - whether it belongs there or not!
Logical Document Generation
VisiRule allows authors to separate out the conditional logic surrounding the asking of relevant questions and the logic concerned with clause or text selection and insertion.
Logic Executed prior to Document Creation
Furthermore, VisiRule can execute the logic which often precedes the selection and population of a given template, for instance, 'Am I entitled to apply for such-and-such a benefit?'; or 'Which document form do I need to complete?'
Logic Concerned with Questionnaire Presentation
VisiRule allows authors to totally separate the logic of document automation from the presentation of the questionnaire - in fact this is automatically constructed by VisiRule itself from the visual model. The order in which questions are presented need NOT be the order in which they appear in the document template.
Combining Flow Chart Logic and Document Automation
The combination of decision tree flowchart logic and document templates provides a lot of power and clarity. The additional of a clause database allows globally available paragraphs or clauses to be used across decision trees and flowcharts to create a wide range of documents. The logic which determines when to use which clause can reside in the document template or in the chart, or in the clause database, and combine answers from different questions.
Business Rules and Document Generation Tools
Legal Expert Systems Demos
Some examples of automated document generation are on the Legal Expert Systems Demo Page, where the NDA demo shows how to create a completed NDA from a template.
You can also integrate automated document generation with Intelligent ChatBot module.
LPA & Document Automation
LPA is well versed in the area of legal document automation. Back in 1999, LPA helped establish Business Integrity Ltd to exploit work going on at LPA into document assembly. The LPA software stack was used to create the first versions of what became Contract Express, now a leading legal document automation and contract creation software package.