Knackly Talks About Why We’re Out To Kill Copy & Paste in Law Firms

Episode description

Transcript for “Why We’re Out To Kill Copy & Paste in Law Firms!”

Transcript of Episode 07, Released 27 July 2021

(Robotic Bleep)

Lowell Stewart: “You copied and pasted from the wrong source, from a source that wasn’t up to date.”

(Robotic Bleep)

Kim Mayberry: “It was taking him 35 minutes to create a set of legal documents. Now it’s taking him five.”

(Robotic Bleep)

Lowell Stewart: “How does Knackly improve the situation, I think is a really interesting question.”


Michael Lane: Welcome to Knackly: The Podcast. My name is Michael Lane. I am the sales and marketing director at Knackly and I am your host as well. With me, as always, are Knackly founders Kim Mayberry and Lowell Stewart. Hey guys, how are you?

Lowell Stewart: Hello.

Kim Mayberry: Great.

Lowell Stewart: Doing great.

Michael Lane: Let’s talk about one of the biggest wasters in almost every single law office in the country. I’m talking about something that, every single day, takes a firm’s time, steals its money, and sneaks mistakes into their clients documents and files. This thing is ubiquitous, it’s baked into nearly EVERY piece of software in the modern law office, and it may even be the single most frequently used tool in computing today. It’s so well used, we barely even think about how lame it is.

Lowell Stewart: What is this horrible thing you’re talking about, Michael?

Michael Lane: I’m talking about “copy and paste,” right?

Lowell Stewart: Yeah.

Michael Lane: So a little history. This thing was invented in 1983, and it was an amazing thing then. I remember. Do you remember your first copy and paste experience?

Lowell Stewart: Yeah.

Kim Mayberry: No.

Michael Lane: I was in a computer store in San Diego in 1984 with my dad, and there was a Macintosh and it was the first time I’d used a mouse, and the guy was like, “Watch this.” And he made a word go away and then reappear. It was a big deal.

Lowell Stewart: Magic.

Kim Mayberry: I had no idea. This was like the moon launch experience. I didn’t even know that that existed for copy and paste. (Laughter)

Michael Lane: The thing is, as revolutionary as that was, and it was, it isn’t anymore. And yet, our customers are, and law firms all over the place, are still relying on copy and paste from one system to another, from one document to another. And today, let’s talk about why that’s not a good idea. About how that introduces errors. About how it’s so slow. And about how it’s limited, because it can only do one thing at a time.

A little while ago, in a different podcast, in an earlier episode, Lowell made a remark, kind of almost offhand, about how one of Knackly’s core values is to “stop copying stuff and start reusing it.” Talk a little more about that, Lowell, because I think that’s fundamental to what Knackly’s strategy is and why our customers are benefiting so much from it. Go expand on that a bit.

Lowell Stewart: Sure. Well, I mean, it’s like when you copy and paste, you’re saving some effort, but the effort that you’re saving is exactly the effort that would be required to retype exactly what you had before. And retyping what you had before is not what you want. You want to then adapt it. And it’s the adaptation from time to time that’s where copy and paste falls down. Because you get a copy of whatever you had before, whatever you copied, and then the changes that that might or might not have had in it, as compared to other versions that you’ve got out there, need to be taken into consideration, the changes to the client’s details have to be taken into consideration. Essentially, every time you copy and paste something, you’re making another… You’re just increasing the size of information out there that you have to keep in sync as you move forward. You’re making another copy that you have to remember and keep in mind, because the customizations to this one might not match the customizations to another one.

And so this is a huge problem for a firm that’s trying to keep their language modern, trying to keep stuff in sync with legislation and statutes and so forth that are changing over time and evolving. Copying and pasting just makes more work for you.

Michael Lane: It reminds me of the horror movies where you make so many clones and they get out of control.

Lowell Stewart: (Laughter) Right, exactly!

Kim Mayberry: On that same note, is copy and pasting entire documents, which is commonly done, right? And think about what is in one document isn’t in another document, but we’ve found over 20 odd years of doing document automation, someone comes to us and says, “These two documents—for example—these two wills are exact same. All we have to do is swap out … just make … it’s a husband and wife, they’re the exact same.” Well, we go through, we do some document compares and we find out no, they weren’t the exact same like you thought they were. So that becomes a real risk in the whole copy paste mentality that’s available today.

Lowell Stewart: Right. And if you think they’re the same and you need to make another copy, which one did you pick to copy for your next will and did it have the …. Memory is famously imperfect, right? We tend to oversimplify and think, “Yeah, those two were the same,” when they weren’t. So it matters which one of those you copy for your next job. Quick, why does it matter?

Michael Lane: Yeah, the why it matters is, let’s talk about that. You’re talking about wasting time, which equals wasting money. And introducing errors, which risks a firm’s reputation. It risks the client’s outcome. So let’s talk about … put a value on that. How much money, how much time, what can people actually lose by using copy and paste so much, do you think?

Kim Mayberry: Well, I can say from our statistics that we’re seeing with our clients, those that have moved from copy/paste in their practice, to using Knackly and document automation, we’re seeing … We’ve got one client that just saved 95% of their time. It was taking them 80 hours, and now they’re down to four minutes. That’s a big jump. But we’ve got another one that’s just an average attorney, it was taking them 35 minutes to create a set of legal documents, and now it’s taking them five. So we’re seeing the range from 95% savings up to 80% savings. So that’s a viable cost reduction, when you’re spending that much less time. Which means that you can now bring in that many more clients, bill out that many more people. That’s the time savings that we’re seeing.

Michael Lane: Yeah, the act of copying and pasting is actually a tedious repetition. You’re just doing it. And like I said before, it’s so baked in, we don’t even think about how wasteful this thing is or how limited it is. It’s just what we’re handed and we use it all the time, right?

Lowell Stewart: Right. I mean, the time that it’s saving was the time that it took your secretary to retype a contract. But that’s not really relevant to today’s world.

Michael Lane: Yeah. Because when you think about it, copying and pasting is, it has a file cabinet background. It’s kind of based and rooted in that mentality.

Lowell Stewart: Exactly, yeah. It’s not the mentality of a … It’s not a software mentality or a knowledge-capture mentality. Because if you think about your knowledge, you know that you can’t put your knowledge in a file cabinet and file it away, and have it still be relevant. It has to be kept up to date. And it’s the same thing with the language that you produce. If it’s in a file cabinet, gathering dust, it’s going to sound like it in 10 years. It’s going to sound like, “Well, this is creaky.” So you’ve got to have a tool for creating your documents, that reflects the fact that your own knowledge doesn’t stay static, it expands. When you make a change in the way you word something, you want that change to go with you on all the future documents you create.

Michael Lane: All right, this is super important. Let’s drill down a bit. Describe that process a bit more in detail. When something, using the file cabinet metaphor, if you drop a file in that folder, in a drawer, it’s static and it never goes anywhere.

Lowell Stewart: Right.

Michael Lane: With not just by eliminating copying and pasting, but by implementing a more modern tool, that piece of paper in that file cabinet now becomes a living document to which you can change, add, query, pull reports from, and make modern. And so you never have to redo anything. You just kind of update and it keeps up with your needs, right?

Lowell Stewart: Yeah, that’s right.

Michael Lane: Talk about how much … Is there a way to put money on that? How much can the average law firm, how much are our customers talking about saving on a weekly?

Lowell Stewart: Well, that’s kind of hard to put concrete numbers on it, but if you just think about the number of errors you’ve made in the past, because you copied and pasted from the wrong source, from a source that wasn’t up to date, and then the chaos that you created for yourself with that, where you had to then go find something else and resynchronize and make other errors and stuff. I mean, I don’t know, what do you think, Kim?

Kim Mayberry: Not only that, but you think about, if you have an assistant that’s going through and copying and pasting into the document, one, you hope that that assistant has worked for you for a long time, that they kind of can read your mind, right?

Michael Lane: (Laughter) Very good point.

Kim Mayberry: So you’ve got that side of it, but what happens when that assistant is no longer there? It gets hit by the proverbial bus or whatever happens. That means that someone new coming in doesn’t have that knowledge and it’s hard to get up and going. The second part is, is that you’ve got the assistant going through, and this is the way it works in a lot of law firms, they go through and do the first draft. Well then the attorney has to go in and proof it to make sure that they comply. So that means that now, you’re spending even more time in the proofing process. So you’re spending thousands of dollars every month on creating your documents, that you don’t have to spend. And think about it. The attorney goes in. They redline it, which is common. Say, “This doesn’t work, this doesn’t work.” It goes back to the paralegal. The paralegal now goes through, makes those changes, has to resubmit it back to the attorney to look over, then they submit it to the client. The client finds a problem, it now comes back to that whole process. It’s a continuous loop that takes up hours that aren’t being accounted for right now.

Lowell Stewart: Yeah. And that problem is just made worse if you happen to copy the wrong thing to start with. You’re making extra cycles in that whole horrible draft there. And how does Knackly improve the situation, I think is a really interesting question. It requires a bit of a different mindset, right? You have to think not necessarily about the specific language, but you have to think a little bit more generally. Like what are the mental steps I go through when I’m drafting this? And it’s those mental steps and the logic involved there, that you’re able to capture in Knackly, and you can break it down into little chunks of a document. This chunk that you reuse over and over again, you would make a template out of that. And so that template knows how to create that certain clause or that certain paragraph, with the logic that belongs in there and so forth. And you can systematize the way that you draft those documents, in a way that just makes it radically easier moving forward.

Michael Lane: And we are expanding this. Knackly, in particular, doesn’t just kill copy and paste in Word—in documentation. But folks are either wasting time or they’re not taking advantage of the opportunity that exists, to integrate their systems. So they only have to enter data once, and then it gets applied to all of their systems, and all of their documents, and all of their intake forms, and all of their correspondence all at once. Talk a little bit about how that works with Knackly.

Lowell Stewart: Well, one of the features that is relatively new, we just introduced in the last couple months is called queries. Queries let you go grab data that you’ve got, that you have entered one time in say your case management application like Clio. You can grab that information and use that in your documents that you’re generating for those clients. And so, really eliminating the need to copy and paste the client’s address into the fields and so forth. You can pull it straight from the source. And in the same way, if your data has been entered in one place, and Knackly used it for one kind of an app or a set of documents you were creating, and you want to reuse that data in a different set of documents, you can use a query to pull the data in from other places within Knackly. So it’s super flexible. We’re not just talking about avoiding copying and pasting text in your documents, but avoiding duplication of work more generally.

Michael Lane: Yeah. It’s not so much we’ve got an alternative to copy, cut, and paste. It’s actually a totally different mindset of how you deal with your data.

Lowell Stewart: Yeah.

Kim Mayberry: Yeah. Lowell came up with the idea in the previous podcast, said, “Stop copying, start reusing.” But we really have refined that concept from stop copying, start leveraging. So how do you leverage your information? How do you leverage your knowledge? For us, we’ve kind of put it into five different buckets. One is the document creation, which we’ve been talking about that a lot already. Second, is within Knackly, we use what’s called an object. So we can reuse automations that we’ve done for one place, and reuse it in other places, which gives us a savings of 30% of the time it took to automate documents before, we’re seeing that savings just in the automation. Then you think about external client intakes, so that your clients can start filling out information for you, as opposed to them filling out the PDF form or whatever it is, then bringing it in, and then you have to retype it. So we’re stopping copying there. With our CRM integrations, we’ve got Clio, we’ve got Curo, we’ve got Zapier right now. Other ones are coming up too. And our API integration. So applications are starting to connect information together.

And the fifth one that we see that’s the future, is what we call micro-publishing and publishing. Where it’s not just about document, it’s not just about using your own documents. In the future, it means that you can grab from other documents from other people in the state that are doing something similar, and you can now integrate with those other documents and pull, and not have to re-automate those. Because how many of the exact same document gets re-automated throughout the US or throughout the world, multiple times? It’s like why are we still doing that, when you could just have one person automate it, and then the whole country can use it? That’s kind of the future of where we see… When we start talking about stop copying, start leveraging, that’s where we’re starting to see is in the future.

Lowell Stewart: Right. Another way to look at that, Kim, is when you are doing this new way of thinking about your documents, this systematized way of thinking about the way you produce documents, what you’re actually doing is creating software. And for two different people to spend time and money, two different firms to spend time and money to build the same piece of software in house, well why doesn’t one of them do it and license it to the other? That’s where this new mindset can take you, if you think about drafting in this systematized way. Once you’ve got a document that drafts itself, why not license that to other people so that they can leverage the work you’ve done? It takes leveraging right to the next level. That’s certainly something we plan to do in the future in Knackly. Keep your ears peeled for that.

Kim Mayberry: Keep your ears peeled on that one, right? It’s an undertaking to do that, but the advantage we have with the architecture that we have is, we can do it.

Lowell Stewart: Yeah.

Michael Lane: And we have a growing list of interested partners to help us do that as well.

Kim Mayberry: Correct. Yeah, actually this morning, I got off of a phone call with one of those interested partners. So it’s

Michael Lane: Shh. We’ll talk about it later. (Laughter)

Michael Lane: I want to talk a little bit more about efficiency, overall. I know that word gets used, overused. Nobody knows exactly what it means, everyone’s got their own expectation of what that means. But everything we’ve talked about is about making the job better. Making your documents better, making your intake procedures better, making communication within your office better. All of these things are under the umbrella of efficiency improvement, right? And they all trickle down to really a couple of benefits for every firm who employs them. And that is, no errors, more money in your pocket, better work flows. So I guess I kind of just talked to myself about efficiency rather than you guys, but is there –

Kim Mayberry: You did a great job.

Michael Lane: This is sort of … Knackly is … we aren’t so much selling the software, as we are a new way of doing things better for the office, overall. This isn’t specifically—solely—limited to documentation. This is again about removing the file cabinet from our heads, and thinking about digital data in a completely new way, that allows a modern office to do things on an efficiency scale that you didn’t think was possible before.

Lowell Stewart: Yeah. Yeah. Kind of like becoming your own software company with… No, that’s not it.

Michael Lane: Yeah, but you’re creating your own applications to solve the issues in your own particular offices, and so we’re providing a tool set for people to build what they need to get their jobs done, right?

Lowell Stewart: Right.

Michael Lane: And part of it is, we get together all the time, we talk about this and it’s so frustrating, because we want everybody to know this!

Lowell Stewart: Yeah, but it’s significantly … It’s very flexible in the way that, it’s a tool that gives you a lot of latitude in the way you want to solve your problems, and it pays to get creative with it, too.

Michael Lane: Yeah. Absolutely right. So guys, this seems like a good spot to end this. (clears throat) Excuse me. I want to extend an invitation to listeners, check us out. Book that demo. You can find us at We look forward to showing you what we can do.

Lowell Stewart: Yeah. Absolutely. Good to talk.

Kim Mayberry: It’s been fun to talk about this, and go through and think about what the future’s going to be, and where Knackly fits into that future.


Michael Lane: And that concludes Knackly: The Podcast. Please be sure to leave us a review and if there’s something you’d like to hear from us, reach out and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and our website, That’s spelt Thanks for joining us, we’ll catch you again soon. Meanwhile, be well and be kind.

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