Letter from Cape Town: time to cash-in with online contracts?

Guest article by Chris Pearson, the CEO of XpressDox…
Whether or not you agree with the principle, there is already an increasing commoditization of legal services worldwide. In his book The End of Lawyers? (http://www.susskind.com/endoflawyers.html) UK legal technology futurist Richard Susskind predicted this trend. Now with online document assembly tools like XpressDox Cloud his predictions are becoming reality. Until recently document assembly software for the Internet was too expensive for all but the really large law firms. Now all that has changed.
Why are online template stores gaining momentum in the profession? It’s simple: with XpressDox an online template store can be profitable with the sale of its very first template. Considering that an XpressDox desktop template can be used as-is online, a firm has no additional template development costs to bear in an online environment.
The exact same template you use internally can be uploaded to the cloud, and once linked to your web site it is immediately usable from there. It was very important to us that our customers maintain only one version of a template irrespective of whether that template is used internally or online, or both. And the variable price model we have is another reason online template stores can now be profitable from the get-go. Customers pay a nominal charge per document assembled, nothing else Assembly charges start at 50¢ reducing to less than 1¢ per document on volume, meaning that almost the entire selling price of a template converts to profit for the firm.
Lawyers have a limited number of hours they may bill in a given month, but if they sell online agreements and contracts from their web site they can earn money 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It makes perfect sense. We find that early adopters cite two major benefits of an online template store: it liberates fee earners’ time for other billable work, and it breathes new life into cash flows as payments for assembled documents are received in advance.
Of course, not all firms wish to sell their templates online at the outset. Some initially only want to make client-facing documents available on their web site at no charge—for example, new client take on forms. This is an easy-to-implement, low risk entry point for any firm considering this technology.
With online document technology now being so affordable, many law firms are automating their profitable, repetitive contract work. Proferssor Susskind predicts that firms which ignore this technology will be left behind. That future is here, now.
To find out more about how to establish an online template store visit: http://www.xpressdox.com/online-legal-contracts/