Automated Legal Document Generation
Automated Document Generation, or Automated Document Assembly, is an extremely important and useful capability, especially in legal and professional services. By providing a dedicated document generator engine which can be invoked from within a chart, VisiRule enables legal document automation and the automation of legal services in general.
What is Inter and Intra Logic?
Unlike most other document assembly tools, VisiRule enables you to capture and specify the logic both between documents, as well as, inside documents. This means you can specify the logic which determines which templates, if any, are required, as well as what data and what conditional text is to go in them.
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.
But aren't Legal Documents 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 a template to outline the structure and contents. You can then have VisiRule gather the values to populate the template and generate a document instance.
Automated Document Creation
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 correctly formatted document instance. Every answer and conclusion is recorded and can be analysed downstream to spot patterns.
How does VisiRule Work?
The Legal Document Generation system supports document automation by combining:
Expert System Flowchart
VisiRule charts generate interactive sessions. VisiRule compiles a session record containing all the given answers and calculated values. At the end of a session, VisiRule can use this to populate a Document Template, or boilerplate, like mail-merge on Steroids
You can include an optional clause database which contains text fragments to be used. Common clauses and frequently used paragraphs can be stored and maintained in a separate precedence database and used across multiple templates and documents.
Master Document Template
A Master Document Template is a document template, or boilerplate, annotated with specific tags. These tags tell the document generation engine where to insert the user's answers plus any associated 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
Legal Document Generation Engine
The VisiRule document generation engine is available as a Rest service which allows you to test out templates independently of the expert systems questionnaire.
This Rest API is accessed using Json and is compatible with, and can be integrated into, many other web services.
Generating Legal Documents
Automated document systems which employ document generation or document assembly provide an essential capabiliy to automate many legal and non-legal processes. In VisiRule, you can associate more than one document template with a chart, have different document variants created on different branches and generate multiple document instances, reports or contracts from one single questionnaire.
Whereas standard document generation tools are often 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 typically 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 Output
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 Automation Systems
Like many thingsin computing, document automation is not new. 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 mangle 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 construction and presentation of the questionnaire. A major drawback of such tools is that they force everything into the template.
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 Generation
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 Decision Flow Chart Logic and Generation
The combination of software for flowcharts 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 Output Generation Tools
Legal Process Automation Software
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.
Legal ChatBot Integration
You can also integrate automated document generation with Intelligent ChatBot module.
Legal Contract Creation
LPA is highly experienced in the area of legal document automation. In 1999, LPA helped establish Business Integrity Ltd to exploit work going on at LPA at that time into document assembly. The LPA software stack was used to create the first versions of what later became Contract Express, now a leading legal document automation and contract creation software package. That same LPA technology stack forms the basis for VisiRule.