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Guiding the SOHO Practitioner in a Digital World

Finding

A heavily redacted page from the original lawsuit.

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Do you use templates, or do you use find-and-replace?

A few years ago, I needed to file a lawsuit. The firm I used was known for that particular type of law, which is why I chose them. But when I read their draft of the complaint, I noticed a few mistakes – in the form of the wrong pronoun, and in one instance, the wrong name. It became glaringly evident that this was a find-and-replace job.

Now, of course, I would not have expected the entire thing to have been done from scratch – that would have been a colossal waste of time. Time I was paying for. But the mistakes I found told me that there was a chance that not a lot of thought went into this document. Was I getting second-hand service?

Templates give you the ability to take documents where most of the language is common to the type of document and tweak it with sections, phrases, or words that are unique to the project you’re working on. They also make it more difficult for you to use a prior client’s name in a new document for a new client. (Even if you make a mistake, what your new client will see is a generic term, like “client”, instead of a name that is obviously not theirs!)

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