Kelly Brandeburg is a Documator who has worked in and with law firms for many years. She has been using document automation for elder law and estate planning documents for almost a decade, and she thinks critically and strategically before building workflows for her clients.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The New School in New York. I started out working in law firms as a litigation research assistant. I then worked in Elder Law and Estate Planning as a legal assistant and California Notary Public. This is where I started training and using HotDocs.
What is your document automation experience?
I have 9 years of experience automating legal documents through HotDocs. I’ve automated intricate trusts, special needs trusts, pour over wills, stand-alone wills, supplemental estate plan documents, deeds, POAs, AHCDs, court forms, court documents, contracts, letters, and attorney client agreements.
I also have experience with RocketMatter, LexisNexis and have extensive knowledge of Microsoft Word. I’ve formatted policies and procedures for multiple companies and have re-formatted estate plan documents for style and continuity.
What areas of law or documents do you have experience in?
I have 9 years of experience in Estate Plan law, probate, specializing in conservatorships, special needs trusts and government benefits. I have 1 year of experience in litigation. My experience as a legal assistant helps me build and automate documents of almost any type.
Can you describe your process for how you build a document automation workflow?
I first go over the examples of all the documents needed to be automated in the workflow provided by the author (or attorney). I go through and look for places to ask questions of the author. I make notes on the documents and form a list of questions for the author. I then have a meeting with the author to go over their specific requests for the documents and take down extensive notes. I then will clarify any questions I have about the documents or customizable options I’ve already for seen. After all of the decisions have been made about how and what to automate I start creating the workflow.
I start with the most complex document. I highlight everypossible variable. I do this for every document in the workflow until I have a full list of variables. I then organize the variables in the most logical way to build the questionnaire from.
Once the list of variables are organized I create the workflow questionnaire. After the questionnaire is completed I start automating the documents. I start with the most complex document – this is so I can find any potential roadblocks or issues and adjust them before moving on to the smaller documents.
Along the way if I run into any questions I’ll highlight them and send the author a clarification while moving forward on the document. I’ll go back to the section and finish it once I receive clarification
What do you think are the most important qualities for a document automation specialist to have when working with a client to automate their templates and forms?
Flexibility, communication and attention to detail. My job is to create what the author wants within the limits of the software. I’ll give my honest opinions about ease of use and complexity – but ultimately I’m here to build whatever document the author wants. Communicating clearly to the author about any concerns or potential issues that may arise in advance so there is no need to troubleshoot after the fact.
Most importantly: attention to detail. When automating documents a period or space in the wrong place can cause a ripple effect that can affect the integrity of the entire document. Attention to detail from the start is imperative.
What is your proudest moment?
Writing my own solo Barbara Streisand tribute, performing it for over 5,000 people and winning best solo show in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015.
What do you do for fun?
I love to write fiction, bake and my main profession as a musical theatre actor.