Client Stories

Serving over 1,000,000 users worldwide, HotDocs offers custom solutions that can tailor to any company’s individual needs.

Read on to discover just a sample of stories about how HotDocs has worked for our customers!

Banking

American AgCredit logo

American AgCredit is a borrower-owned financial institution whose primary mission is to provide loans and related services to eligible individuals and entities in the U.S. agricultural industry. Part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, American AgCredit has approximately $10 billion of owned and serviced assets in California, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Several years ago, AgCredit used a semi-customized application to generate its loan documentation. However, the application didn’t allow for production of dynamic documents and was built on an aging platform. In the midst of a company growth spurt, AgCredit realized it needed to upgrade its document production technology and started the process of selecting a new loan documentation tool. "We had just completed back-to-back mergers and needed to find a tool that was more flexible and scalable for our needs," states Paula Olufs, Vice President of Loan Documentation. "We needed something that was user friendly and provided for standardization throughout the organization."

AgCredit organized an internal committee responsible for putting 15 vendors through their paces, culminating in face-to-face presentations and a rigorous question-and-answer session. In the end, the committee selected HotDocs for its feature base, ease-of-use, and decidedly lower cost.

AgCredit attorneys and loan documentation staff worked with the HotDocs Professional Services team to organize, update, and mark up documents to indicate variable and conditional text. The loan documentation staff also designed the user interviews and help screens. HotDocs Professional Services then automated the documents and created the user interviews. After testing and approval, the new system was rolled out to all AgCredit branches in California and Nevada.

AgCredit has now been using HotDocs for over 5 years and has noted many significant benefits. Olufs says, "The software is very easy to understand from a programming perspective, so we have the ability to modify our templates internally. The granular control we have allows us to react immediately to regulatory and process changes requested by our legal department." Moreover, as several variations of the same document were consolidated into a single HotDocs template, maintenance has been greatly simplified. Olufs cites an example, saying, "We previously supported up to 8 different notes, whereas now we support just one note template and let HotDocs determine which variant to produce based on user input during the interview."

Since the initial deployment, AgCredit has completed three additional mergers. "Because HotDocs is so scalable yet easy to use, we have the ability to roll it out to these new offices quickly and efficiently," says Olufs. "The training required for new staff is minimal." AgCredit has also integrated HotDocs with a front-end loan origination database application. Much of the data required to produce loan documentation now flows seamlessly from the database into HotDocs interviews, which saves even more time for end users by eliminating data input redundancy.

The Royal Bank of Scotland

Challenge:

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Corporate Credit Department (CCD) had a requirement to integrate HotDocs forms generation software with their PCDocs document management system.

The CCD department produces thousands of documents for several hundred users throughout its three locations in Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

Solution:

HotDocs provides a powerful tool to generate documents based on question and answer dialogues. It dramatically cuts down the time required to produce the complex credit documentation required by RBS. Each document can consist of hundreds of pages and many sub documents.

The project has proved very successful and has significantly improved the document generation and management process within the Corporate Credit Department.

Verdict:

"We're processing in excess of 350,000 security and loan documents every year. HotDocs makes the process fast, flexible and efficient, providing us with a readily maintained system."
- Head of Credit Documentation, RBS

HSBC

HSBC Singapore uses HotDocs to streamline the generation of facility letters for its corporate customers. This maximizes efficiency and minimizes the risk of manual errors in documentation.

Bank of New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand uses HotDocs to create customer specific loan agreements and insurance proposals for personal and corporate clients.

Insurance

XL Insurance

Challenge:

For XL, HotDocs was used to transform the issuance of insurance policies. Prior to HotDocs, the policy issuing process was very much a manual process with extensive typing and substantial repetition of key items, such as client names and policy numbers. This was time consuming and also meant a lack of consistency and high error rate.

Via the implementation of HotDocs, policy libraries were established with templates for base policies and their associated endorsements. This was also a benefit for non-policy issuance staff as they could access these documents as a reference without having the ability to amend them, thus the integrity of the documents was protected.

Policy drafting became a shorter, more consistent process which eliminated substantial backlog and improved the quality and accuracy of the end product. Costs were saved not only due to the faster policy issuance time but also due to reduced demand for expensive paper for printing policies—these were subsequently sent as PDF documents, rather than hard copies, to clients.

Solution:

A HotDocs library was created for each department, grouping the various policies with their endorsements. Documents were brought into line with company standards (font, header / footer, page layout) as they were automated.

New policy issuing procedures which centered on using the HotDocs system were established and documented and end-users were given training according to their needs. In each department this has resulted in faster and more accurate production of documents. Drafting is now completed from the template library rather than by hand, thereby allowing several team members to expand their roles in other ways.

Verdict:

"HotDocs provided us with an improved policy issuance system, which eliminated past backlog, and provided accurate and timely policies, thus improving customer service. The library also ensured the integrity of our policy documents was protected."
- Rachel Thomson, Technical Underwriting, Segment Product Management

Government

Caltrans

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for funding, planning, building, and maintaining more than 50,000 miles of state and federal highways within the state of California. In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Caltrans managed hundreds of projects worth nearly $4 billion in coordination with approximately 400 local, state, and federal partner agencies. In order to coordinate with partner agencies on the roles and responsibilities for each project, Caltrans produces a contract called a cooperative agreement. On average, Caltrans generates approximately 450 of these agreements annually.

Manually producing cooperative agreements from hundreds of possible language options and moving completed agreements through formal approval is a cumbersome and lengthy process. "It typically takes hundreds of man-hours and several weeks of calendar time," states Mark Robinson, Development Manager, Project Agreement Construction Tool (PACT). In an era of huge budget deficits and limited resources, Caltrans made the decision to streamline production of cooperative agreements with HotDocs at the core of the solution, dubbed the Project Agreement Construction Tool (PACT).

The project team began by creating a "language library" of all the possible articles and clauses for an agreement. Each language item was refined and conditions specified for its inclusion in an agreement. HotDocs templates were created to govern how and under what circumstances language would be merged in the resulting document. A comprehensive, logic-driven interview was then created to guide users quickly and easily through the otherwise tedious process of producing an agreement. As Robinson further describes it:

The user interview presents all the questions required to create a legal contract, and it also provides an opportunity to add custom language or change default answers as needed. When a user completes the interview, the system evaluates the answers provided and determines the status of the document. If the answers provided in the interview are within Caltrans policy and procedure, a user can generate a pre-approved agreement that can be printed and signed by all involved parties without further review. Otherwise, the document is routed through normal approval channels.

The ability to generate pre-approved agreements using this HotDocs-based solution has yielded enormous time and cost savings. Moreover, Caltrans has much greater control over the entire process. As Robinson puts it, "The result is better quality documents, customer satisfaction, and a vast improvement in the production time frame. We’ve also seen improvements in overall issue resolution and a reduction in the potential for legal challenges."

Child Support Agency

The Central Appeals Unit of the Child Support Agency was able to use HotDocs to reduce production time of complicated case documentation from 3 days to 3 hours.

The Pension Service

The Pension Service use HotDocs to improve the efficiency of their form filling processes.

Midlothian Council

Midlothian Council use HotDocs to produce title deeds and relevant correspondence.

"HotDocs saves a lot of time and repetitive typing."
- Theresa Young, Midlothian Council.

Legal

Ballard Spahr

Ballard Spahr is an Am Law 100 law firm with 475 attorneys in 12 offices throughout the United States. The firm specializes in dozens of different practice areas but is particularly recognized for its work in estate planning, public finance, and real estate transactions.

Ballard’s Family Wealth Management department is responsible for producing sophisticated wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents for high-net-worth individuals with complicated financial situations. With blunt copy-and-paste techniques, drafting such documents in the past was a laborious and time-consuming process. "It used to take at least a full day to create these documents," notes Kelli Kane, HotDocs Program Coordinator in Ballard’s Philadelphia office. "It was also a high-risk process prone to a lot of error." Recognizing the need to increase efficiency, minimize errors and make the new process available across the firm, Ballard implemented a new system using HotDocs Server as the foundation.

After developing HotDocs templates and integrating the HotDocs Server application with Ballard’s document management system, the new process quickly gained traction with the attorneys in the Philadelphia and New Jersey offices. The system has been a great success. "We can now produce a set of documents for a client in under 30 minutes," says Kane. Ballard also uses the system as a marketing tool to sell the firm’s high-tech credentials and commitment to best practices.

Consequently, the resulting productivity boost in the Family Wealth Management division didn’t go unnoticed by the rest of the firm. Ballard has since developed a HotDocs-based system to generate response letters for clients subject to accounting or government audits. HotDocs was integrated seamlessly on the front end with a client database in which users could select the appropriate client information, click on a link, and automatically generate a letter with the appropriate language and client data. "The system is used by the Finance department's Audit group and significantly cuts the amount of time and effort necessary to produce these letters for the firm’s clients," states Kane.

Most recently, the real estate group in Ballard’s Washington, D.C. office applied HotDocs in the development of a new application called BizLoan, which aids in the production of banking, loan, and other documents pertinent to real estate transactions. "Many of these transactions require up to 30 different documents. The time required to produce that many documents the old way really added up," explains Kane. Once the base system was up and running, HotDocs software engineers added functionality so users could quickly and easily modify the HotDocs templates at different points in the production process. This allowed for the creation of multiple versions of the same document, which eased the back-and-forth negotiation process between the parties involved. Moreover, "What used to take at least 6-7 hours to complete now takes under an hour," says Kane. "The time saving is huge."

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is a global law firm with a broad range of practice areas. Founded in San Francisco in 1863, Orrick has become a leader in innovative practices and technologies to better serve its customers and community, which has enabled the firm to thrive in a highly competitive market and grow to over 1,100 attorneys and 22 offices worldwide.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Orrick’s Emerging Companies Group is constantly on the search for the "next big technology start-up company," as Lowell Ness, an Orrick partner explains. "We’re in a highly competitive market. What we’re really looking for is the two-person, garage-stage company that has the potential to be the next Google. If we can identify that company in its early development stage, we can then work towards establishing it as a long-term client."

Start-up companies need a variety of basic legal instruments, everything from formation documents to venture financing documents. "We felt like offering basic term sheets to start-ups for free benefits the start-up community and is a great marketing tool for us," explains Ness. "Working with start-ups is a numbers game so we really have to be efficient in working with them." The reason, of course, is the failure rate among start-ups. "We have to kiss a lot of frogs to find each prince," adds Ness. To streamline the process, Orrick turned to HotDocs.

Orrick began by automating its existing set of 500 start-up company forms with HotDocs Developer. The firm then designed interactive interviews for each template with helpful annotations enabling even the most junior lawyers to quickly answer the questions. "The key to the strategy," explains Ness, "was making the templates available on Orrick’s internal portal—so they could easily be accessed by anyone." For this, Orrick deployed HotDocs Corporation’s state-of-the-art Server technology, which supports browser-based template interviews.

Orrick now offers its Term Sheet Creator as part of its Start-up Tool Kit on its external web site, which enables clients to get term sheets for free, but also enables clients to collaborate with Orrick by doing their own data entry. "It’s a great calling card for our firm," explains Ness. "Anyone can come to our site, select a term sheet template, run through the interview, generate a custom document and send us the answer file, which we then use to create all the other documents involved in the transaction. It’s a high-volume approach that affords us interaction with lots of potential clients in a short amount of time. The bottom line is HotDocs gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace."

Probono logo

Pro Bono Net is a nonprofit focused on helping increase access to justice for low-income and other vulnerable populations. It works closely with nonprofit legal services organizations around the country to expand availability of free, high-quality legal services to the poor. Pro Bono Net provides resources, referrals, self-help tools, and other guidance to the public through its LawHelp.org site, and helps connect pro bono attorneys with volunteer opportunities, training and practice resources via its Probono.net site. Its LawHelp Interactive service assists clients in filling out court forms and creating legal documents, either on their own or in self-help clinics staffed by volunteer or legal aid attorneys.

LawHelp Interactive is a key part of Pro Bono Net’s model of using technology to increase access to justice. Prior to its launch in 2005, most documents were created by hand on paper. Many of the forms were quite lengthy and information entry was tedious, so filling them out manually involved hours of work. Other documents were being crafted with crude cut-and-paste methods which often produced inaccuracies and errors. "Staff observed that many clients would grow weary of this process and would then have a hard time focusing on their substantive legal issues and the sometimes tough decisions needed to resolve them," says Pro Bono Net’s Kate Bladow. "It became clear that we needed a better methodology, something that could speed up the process and make use of current technology to provide a more comfortable experience for already-harried users." After researching and evaluating the available options, the legal aid and pro bono community selected HotDocs as the basis of the new system.

Originally called National Public Automated Documents Online (NPADO), the new application, which was launched in 2005, moved the document production process to the web with HotDocs Server as the assembly engine. A custom-developed, web-based front end allowed users to create accounts, log in, and navigate through the site. In addition, the Center for Access to Justice & Technology at the Chicago-Kent College of Law developed a Flash-based user interface that integrates with HotDocs to assist self-represented litigants who are less tech-savvy. Attorneys and their staff create interviews and automate templates that produce documents pertaining to dozens of different legal scenarios, including divorce, child support, protection orders, landlord/tenant issues, and estate planning. Participating states link to the templates posted on the system from their respective websites, which can be found at LawHelp.org or probono.net.

Since its inception, the application has gone through some refinement and enhancement—including a site redesign and concurrent name change to LawHelp Interactive—and usage has increased significantly year after year. In 2009, for example, over 147,000 forms and documents were assembled—a 32% increase from 2008. Cumulatively, users have worked through more than 700,000 interviews and more than 400,000 documents have been assembled. Attorneys, law students, and other legal professionals continue to add interviews and templates to the system, increasing the variety and quality of the content available. More than 350 templates are available for attorneys and 330 are available for self-represented litigants. LawHelp Interactive is now available for use in 30 states with another six states actively developing their first content, and that number is expected to climb over the next few years.

Perhaps most importantly, the system has made it much easier for users to address their legal problems. They can access resources and produce documents much more quickly than they could otherwise. The self-help clinics using LawHelp Interactive, for example, report time savings of up to 50%. "It’s not nearly the exhausting process it once was, and people can direct more focus and attention to the legal issues. They don’t have to worry anymore about the administrative side of things, writing the same information over and over again or making sure everything is in the right place and filled out correctly. The system now takes care of all of that," notes Bladow. "It’s made a big difference."

Cameron McKenna

Challenge:

To improve client service and competitiveness by increasing speed and accuracy of document drafting, potentially increasing profitability by reducing the amount of time spent by fee earners in producing the first draft and enhancing the quality and consistency of documentation.

Solution:

Purchasing and deploying HotDocs in a variety of ways. For example, utilizing it for complex agreements of over 150+ pages, suites of around 20 simpler documents and some highly specialized usages in the practice areas of Banking & International Finance, Real Estate, Corporate, Tax, Energy Projects, and Construction.

Employment of HotDocs standard coding techniques enables legal know-how, logic and controls to be built into templates, together with specialist features developed, primarily, for multi-document assemblies.

In addition, the coding techniques allow a customized integration between HotDocs and the firm’s document management system. Key practice areas now regard HotDocs as an indispensable tool and the scope for its potential use is viewed as unlimited, with the firm carrying out a rolling program of new development across several practice areas.

Verdict:

"HotDocs has become such an integral part of the way we work that it is now inconceivable that we could ever do without it."
- John Naccarato, Partner, Banking & International Finance

McGrigors

Challenge:

Many of McGrigors’ clients are large employers with complex business structures. Incorporating a multitude of HR functions, often spread between sites or group companies, these organizations can find it difficult to ensure consistency of approach when drafting sensitive and legally binding documents. During turbulent economic times, there is an increased need for in-house legal and HR teams to generate and issue documents such as Compromise Agreements. Staff working in tandem from disparate locations often leads to inconsistency, inaccuracies and mistakes in the formatting of important documents. Corporate teams are under pressure to create efficiencies, reduce costs, and cut back on the requirement for external consultancy.

Solution:

The IT team at McGrigors felt that HotDocs software could work harder and offer an added value service to clients. With increased use of Compromise Agreements by FTSE 100 employers, it was decided that a custom system to automate templates for these agreements would be hugely beneficial to a host of corporate clients.

HotDocs offered some template development training and pointers on system integration to enable the McGrigors IT team to develop a secure online platform offering automated template Compromise Agreements, generated by HotDocs software.

The custom, online system can be set up with differing levels of security, enabling overall and restricted access to individual users, as appropriate. Additionally, the only requirement for accessing the system is an internet browser, meaning it can be accessed from anywhere, without the need for a software download. The twin benefit of online accessibility is that it removes the need for emailing sensitive documents. Finally, the intuitive, automated HotDocs system removes much of the requirement for retyping, resulting in consistency of wording and overall quality of document production.

Aimed principally at PLCs, the system enables HR teams to assemble documents tailored to individuals’ circumstances and reduces the time involved for in-house legal departments at the early stages. With legal teams reviewing documents only before issue, the system frees up time and avoids the laborious inputting of standard details.

Originally piloted within the Oil and Gas sector, the product has now been rolled out to other high profile companies in the fields of corporate finance and insurance.

Verdict:

"Although we had been using HotDocs for several years, we hadn’t realized the full potential of the product. After discussions with the [HotDocs] team, and the subsequent development of our online automation system for Compromise Agreements, we truly believe we have introduced an innovative service which adds enormous value for our clients."
- Sue Gilchrist, Senior Associate

Ceridian Centrefile (In-house Legal)

Challenge:

We are working with Ceridian Centrefile to assist them in risk reduction and contract control.

Part of the Ceridian Corporation and the UK’s market leader for employer services, Ceridian Centrefile processes in excess of 300 contracts per month. These contracts are generated by a national sales force of 45 people working from multiple locations. Contract values range from £1,000 to over £1 million, incorporate over 500 variables, and are typically up to 30 pages in length. Adoption of HotDocs software means that the sales force can now issue these contracts without the intervention of the in-house legal team.

In the UK alone, Ceridian Centrefile serves around 7% of the national workforce and enables companies to thrive in their core business through its suite of innovative business solutions for Payroll and Human Resources services.

The company first approached us in 2003, and were looking for a complete solution to the challenges they faced when issuing contracts to their customers. These challenges were wide ranging. The end users of Ceridian Centrefile’s contract documentation are sales executives, and it was becoming increasing difficult to control the various elements of this process.

Solution:

In brief, the challenges that Ceridian faced included reducing risk, contract control, reducing complexity, and increasing efficiency.

Before the introduction of HotDocs software, sales executives would inadvertently use out-of-date contracts, or would choose the wrong contract forms. HotDocs provided a means of avoiding these problems. Deploying HotDocs software also prompted Ceridian Centrefile to review and rationalize the diverse ways in which it was previously pricing and contracting, which dramatically reduced the work of the in-house legal team.

Charles Drayson, Commercial Director at Ceridian Centrefile, said: "It’s an all too common problem for in-house legal teams. Our sales executives were tailoring contracts to suit each client’s differing needs. Great for customer relations, devastating for contract control."

The HotDocs document automation process takes the form of an intelligent "interview," allowing no margin for error. The process of template development helped Ceridian Centrefile to flush out previously unnoticed issues, which assisted in risk reduction, compliance, and increased efficiency.

Having HotDocs in place has reaped unexpected benefits for Ceridian Centrefile. Most routine contract enquiries are now handled by a non-lawyer, saving on legal fees. Sales staff have been trained only once on the software, as the interview process contained within HotDocs effectively makes any legal changes self explanatory – thus decreasing work hours on contract matters.

In addition, there is no need for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to contracting—resulting in contracts that are more closely aligned to the package that each customer has signed up for.

Verdict:

"Without the products of [HotDocs], we would still be struggling with contract control. As a direct result of our implementation of HotDocs we have fewer contract issues and a decreased legal budget when measured as a proportion of revenue. We have also freed up the time of our sales executives and increased our legal protectionwe have a nil budget for litigation costs. HotDocs has been a sound investment."
- Charles Drayson, Commercial Director at Ceridian Centrefile

Lovells logo

Hogan Lovells

"[Hogan Lovells] use HotDocs as the underlying software for their DraftIt product internally and for selected clients. DraftIt provides significant time savings, quality control, efficiency, and consistency in drafting documents. Clients benefit by freeing up time to spend on the business aspects of the process. It also enables lawyers to focus time on the bespoke and complex legal aspects.

"The Knowledge Management team at [Hogan Lovells] have worked with [HotDocs] for many years and have found that the customer support that we have received has always met our high expectations."
- Jayne Britton, KM Manager.

Berwin Leighton Paisner logo

Berwin Leighton Paisner

"We have been a HotDocs user in a limited manner over a number of years. This release has convinced us to roll out the application to all desktops. Document Assembly gives an excellent ROI, and after reviewing the market, we are confident that HotDocs is the best solution."
- Janet Day, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Minter Ellison logo

Minter Ellison

"Take the quality, control, and efficiency benefits of HotDocs' document automation as read. What we are really impressed with is the Flexible Document Platform and the development support we've had for it. FDP proved an excellent base for development of specific document automation solutions, and [HotDocs'] support for it has been outstanding—prompt and knowledgeable when technical, experienced and perceptive when conceptual."
- Ian Thomson, Director Legal Engineering, Minter Ellison SA/NT

Gadens logo

Gadens Lawyers

"HotDocs enables Gadens Lawyers to quickly and efficiently produce quality documentation. It is of real benefit that information need only be entered once, but is then applied across multiple documents. The program design also allows for both simple and complex coding, which means our lawyers spend less time on administration and documentation, and more time on servicing client needs."
- Nadine Deacon, Gadens Lawyers.

GE logo

General Electric

HotDocs is used globally by the GE legal department for Term Sheet, Offer Letters, and other Legal Documents.

Corporate

BBC logo

BBC

"The BBC use HotDocs to produce the BBC employment packs—offer letters, contracts, and associated documents. We also produce other related HR letters for maternity, promotions, and transfers."
- IT Project Manager, BBC.

EADS logo

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company

"The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) use HotDocs to generate design, justification, and procedure documentation for Telecom Satellite programs.

"The rationale is that EADS has to design and produce spacecraft in a very short time with very different payloads, using similar design techniques.

"Each satellite is unique, but the process to design them is very similar, with up to 90% of the process being repeated. However, this means that we have about 5 to 10% of changes in our design and build process from one spacecraft to the next."

"HotDocs is a good product and helps us to industrialize the design and production of telecom spacecraft."
- EADS Space Engineer.

ECE logo

ECE

"ECE use HotDocs for our internal contracts with our employees and external contracts with other companies, who have many same sections. If one section has to be changed in all contracts, we don't have to change hundreds of word templates, we easily change only one HotDocs template. HotDocs is used by Human Resources and Legal" - IT Project Manager, ECE

ECE Projektmanagement G.m.b.H. & Co. is the European market leader in the field of inner city shopping centers. ECE also develops and builds transport complexes, logistics centers, company headquarters, office complexes, industrial buildings, as well as other special-purpose properties.

Tuv logo

TÜV

TÜV provides testing services for new products across a wide range of manufacturing disciplines. They must thoroughly document every testing procedure taken, and these documents can run more than 200 pages each. Each set of tests is tailored to each specific product being tested and production of documentation becomes a large part of the time taken for the testing procedure.

TÜV uses HotDocs to dynamically build the document framework used for each set of testing procedures. Based on industry, the sets of tests available can be narrowed quickly and provided in a format the engineers can use and the client can appreciate.