Why lawyers reuse contentWhen a client instructs a lawyer, it's almost as if they see them sitting down and drafting everything from first principles. The reality of modern drafting is that a lot of the upfront work has already been done. Provisions which cover the most relevant and up-to-date law already exists and may only need small variations in order to fit the matter at hand. Where the lawyer's expertise really comes into play is in adapting provisions to novel situations and making sure that the building blocks of the document fit and flow in an ordered, logical, and understandable way.The value of this is that lawyers don't need to spend the amount of time it would take to draft everything from first principles. By intelligently using content that has already been drafted the task can be expedited and, depending upon the fee arrangement between the client and the lawyer, the law firm makes a better return on a fixed fee arrangement, or clients are billed fewer hours.
Copying from a saved Word documentCopying clauses from a saved Word document to the current document seems, at first glance, like a logical thing to do. It's written in the same software program, it looks similar visually, and reformatting seems easy. If everything was drafted and saved in the house style, many of these issues will be mitigated. However, lawyers will gather preferred language from a wide variety of sources, and not all of these originate within the firm's house style.The style of a copied clause may be completely at odds with the style of the document that is currently being drafted.
Copying from emailWord and Outlook are the lifeblood of any lawyer's practice. It means you will find lawyers repurposing both programs to try and perform functions they weren't designed for.There are three main ways that a lawyer will use Outlook in order to retrieve drafting contents from past years:
- Using the email drafts feature as a notepad and saving it;
- Sending an email with the preferred language to themselves; and
- Using an email containing drafting language that was received in the past and storing that for future use.