Introducing the Effectiveness Project

The Effectiveness Project is an international working group of legal professionals, with support from LTC4, collaborating to establish best practices and baseline skills for creating effective legal documents.

Document Competency

What Every Legal Professional Should Know for Effective & Efficient Drafting in Microsoft Word

What is the Document Competency Best Practices Guide?

Understanding that the legal document-creation process is highly individualized, we sought to provide guidance that is specific, yet flexible. To meet that goal, this Best Practices Guide is divided into drafting stages so it can be used as a modular part of a workflow.

What to Expect When You Download

Throughout this best practices guide, we introduce each drafting stage and establish its value as part of the document-creation process. We then break down individual tasks and show how those tasks can be accomplished at no additional cost using Microsoft Word’s built-in features.

The Challenge

Personal pride in delivering high-quality work is the hallmark of legal professionals. But once we get beyond substantively correct legal work, legal professionals rarely know where to begin this effort—or when they’ve done enough to call the effort complete.

The State of Play

As of May 2021, 39 states in the United States of America have adopted ethics rules to explicitly include technology competence in a lawyer’s overall duty to provide competent representation. But the concept of a baseline quality of work, specific technology tools to use, and how long it should take to complete a task competently remains largely unspecified in the United States or elsewhere.

The Team

The Effectiveness Project team is an international working group of legal professionals with support from LTC4. The team includes representatives from DocStyle, Lexis Nexis, Litera, Prelimine, Suffolk University Law School, and WordRake. For more information about the team members, Click here.

Our Goals

We created this working group to uncover and address these unstated and unspecified expectations. The best practices guide and corresponding modules are our first deliverables. With them, we hope to establish a baseline understanding for the document-creation work valued in the legal ecosystem, define parameters for the work, and set expectations for quality, effort, and result. To learn more, click here.

Our Audience

We hope you will discover better ways to perform tasks and seek training to effectively use the tools available to you.

We hope you will feel empowered to demand more from legal professionals and that you will have the tools to question the work done on your behalf and guide legal professionals to serve you more effectively and efficiently.

We hope you will use this document as a guide when evaluating fee requests and hold lawyers to established standards for technology competence and ethical billing.

We hope you will use this best practices guide as a guide to show students what skills they must develop to be successful legal professionals and help them to develop judgment for creating documents that meet client needs while also meeting value expectations.

Thank you to our Effectiveness Project team members!

Special thanks to 1WordFlow for creating the interactive website for the Document Competency best practices guide. To discover more legal technology tools, please consider visiting the LegalTechHub.

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