I'm a legal assistant in a two-person office - the attorney and lil 'ole me.
I'm working on streamlining our office. We're transforming to paperless and we're working a lot from home on our laptops, iPhones and iPads in our pajamas - not together....um....
When it comes to productivity, I spend an inordinate amount of time on filling in the same information over and over again in the various documents needed for, say, a divorce filing. There's software out there for document assembly, I know, but I don't like the closed off nature of the software, I want to go Google all the way.
Google Drive, formerly Google docs has a form builder that populates a spreadsheet that you can then download as an excel file. I just found it yesterday and I'm in love! Here's a link to the one I'm working on:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Au3RpH2lM9hOdGNreURhZmFJaGg5MDI3czFNNU5WVWc
Here's what I'm thinking:
Let's use an uncontested divorce case as an example. The client is sent a link to our Google Drive Domestic Relations Questionnaire form to fill out online. All the questions are in order as they appear on the court's website when I fill out the information to e-file.
The client fills in all their information that I need to get started on the paperwork (with the exception of social security numbers which are against Google's Terms of Service). When they submit the form it populates a Google spreadsheet and sends me an email. I go to Google Drive and download the spreadsheet in Excel format. Now I have everything I need in a format that I can use in many ways.
I then use the excel file to automate my document assembly. I'm building a single Word mail merge document template for that client's "file" that contains every "document" typically needed for the case from start to finish. I'm inserting mail merge fields on every page beginning with the client information sheet through the complaint and agreement and child support forms.
The one document template also contains pages with typical letters that might be sent: welcome letter, court date reminders, the thank you letter sent with the final decree -- everything. And it all gets filled in for me automatically with the merge sequence, then saved to their folder on Google Drive. I can pull out pages and then convert to separate pdf's for filing and storage.
I can print whatever I need to -- hopefully not much! The attorney can see the documents on his iPhone.
What do you think? Has anyone tried to use Word's mail merge feature this way? I could use some input. Also, I don't want to run afoul of confidentiality with the way the form is worded, sent, accessed and saved.