Custom Documents - Start Fresh
When creating a new document in Lawmatics, use the Start Fresh option to build your document using the system word processor. This is a great option for documents that have simple formatting, but might require fields merged in and/or conditional logic. The Start Fresh option makes it easy to streamline the process of compiling a document that is custom and specific to the individual matter.
Let's walk through the steps to create a custom/start fresh document.
1. Navigate to the Documents section of Lawmatics, found under the Assets tab.
2. Click on Create New Document button in the upper right.
3. In the popup, select Start Fresh and fill out the following fields.
- Make sure that Start Fresh is selected
- Give the document a name
- Select the type of record that this document will be used by. You will most frequently use Matter, since this is the selection for any case-related documents like retainers and fee agreements.
- If you have selected Matter as your type, you can also choose a practice area. This will make any practice area specific custom fields available as merge fields on the document. For most documents this field can be left blank if you do not need to use any practice area specific custom fields.
4. Click Create
5. Add a Text Block to get started building your document. Simply drag Text Field over from the left side of the screen onto the document canvas.
If your document does not need conditional logic, in other words: the entire document is static and does not contain variable paragraphs/sections, then you can create the whole document in one single text block. If you would like to add conditional logic to certain sections, then the document can be made up of as many text blocks as you want.
Whether or not you use multiple text blocks, you can always merge variable fields into your document. Multiple text blocks allow you to make an entire paragraph or section of the document conditional based on the value of a field in your CRM.
6. Make blocks conditional (if necessary).
Click on the gear icon to the right of any text block on your document. From there, you can set the block to appear only when certain data is matched. For example, if I only want a certain section to show on the document if the matter is a Personal Injury matter, I would click the gear, turn on conditional, select the Practice Area field and set it equal to Personal Injury.
You can add multiple conditions on a single block as well, by clicking the add condition button shown on the right in the video below. Once you have added more than one condition, you will also be able to select if those conditions have an "AND" or "OR" relationship.
7. Add page breaks where needed.
This simple but important element is a game changer for sending out automated documents that still look professional and personalized for each client.
8. Use merge fields (if necessary).
Simply select the field you want to merge in from the merge fields dropdowns on the edit block view. Selecting the field ail automatically add it to the document wherever your cursor is currently placed.
Remember that you will find basic contact information like name, email, address, etc in the Contact Fields drop down. Your case-related information will be found in the Matter Fields dropdown.
If you are building a document to be used for multiple signers (ex: married couple), you may also use the Relationship Fields dropdown to add a related contact's information, such as Spouse First Name, etc.
As you are building your document, if you do not yet have the fields created that you would like to merge in, remember that you can add custom fields by going to settings > custom field settings. If you need to add a relationship type to merge in a specific related contact's information, you can add those in settings > matter settings.
9. Add signatures to the document.
- Click the Settings button in the top right under "ESIGNATURE".
- Click on Add Signer in to add signature blocks for client/contact signers. You will give each signer a role name, such as Client or Third Party Payor, etc. Click on Add Firm Signers to add signature blocks for firm users who are going to need to sign and give them a role name, for example, a firm signer might be labeled "Managing Attorney".
- Click Apply Settings. This will create a new merge field dropdown selector in the document labeled "Signature Fields"
- Select the "Signature" from that dropdown for the role you would like to add to the document. This will place it wherever your cursor is in the same way merge fields are placed into the document.
- In addition to signatures, you can also use signature fields for initials, date, text, etc. You will also have the options to make those things required or not, as shown in the options in the dropdown in the video above.
- Note that the signature itself will always be required, you cannot make those optional.
- You are also required to add in at least one signature field for each signer on the document. So if your document has two signers, they each need to have one signature in the document. If you try to save the document without adding a signature for all signers, you will receive an error message.
- Also note that you cannot apply conditional logic for a block that contains a required signature field, since these cannot be made conditional. If a document sometimes requires one signer and other times requires more than one, for example if they are married, then those will need to be two separate documents.
- You can easily create a copy of a document using the button shown below. This is useful for the situation described above, so that you can easily create different variations of a document depending on the number of signers.
10. Click Save Document at bottom of screen
Why can't I click into a text block on my document?
You can't click directly into a text block, you will need to click the edit pencil on the right side of the text block to type into it. Once you have clicked the edit pencil, then you can click right into the block and start typing or paste in text.
Why is the settings/conditional logic button grayed out for a certain text block?
Since you cannot add conditional logic when a signature field is present, the button will be grayed out for any blocks that contain a signature field. Move the signature field out of the block by simply deleting it, and then re-merging it into a different block, and then you will be able to apply conditional logic on the original block.
Can I add formatting elements to this document, such as my letterhead, page breaks, fee table, etc?
Add page breaks by dragging the page break block option from the left sidebar menu. You can add images, like your letterhead or a screenshot of a table, by using the image button found near the top right of the text editor options when editing a block. When adding images, make sure that you have resized your image to the appropriate dimensions before adding it into the document.