Does your firm utilize a forms database (or similar)? If so, please describe. If not, how do you share and obtain forms with colleagues at your firm?

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I worked at two firms that had a shared network directory populated with firm-vetted forms and form letters. One firm was mid-sized and had 1 attorney and 1 paralegal tasked with maintaining and updating the forms based on new laws, firm policy changes, fee updates, etc. A much smaller firm I worked for had a couple people make the initial forms in a shared directory and then each attorney/assistant pairing essentially copied those and made their own tweaks and updates. I also worked for a firm that had database system that was docketing, forms, and contact management all in same software. The forms library was again maintained by a small group of people. People did not really maintain their own, they used the firms’ forms. I have also worked at a very large firm where I was shocked to arrive and find they did not have any forms and it was the wild west, everyone made up their own, formatting completely inconsistent from person to person, assistants guessing what format to start with on documents by just searching for their best guess at a similar document from another case...a complete nightmare to me. In my opinion a shared directory of basic forms is a minimum essential even for fairly small firms, and a database-enabled forms library that pulls in basic case info and uses a contact database is what all mid- to large-size firms should have. It is work to put the library together and to maintain but the payoff in efficiency, accuracy, and easier training of new people is very much worth it in my experience.

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My firm has a very extensive free-for-all database of every form imaginable, but who knows whether any of them are good. I generally view it as caveat emptor, but it's nice to have something to start with.

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I keep pleading for a more organized set of form files, but my pleas fall on deaf ears.

Also, imagine if we put all the 50 state surveys we’ve done for clients in a single location so other people could use them... just imagine... there’s like 1200 of us, we’ve done a lot.

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