Lorrie W.

Lorrie is a Documater and document automation specialist with over 14 years of document automation experience, along with 15+ years in the legal field.  She "geeks out" on document automation and truly loves her work. She has substantial experience in drafting and coding documents for estate planning, family law, corporate, and real estate law. She founded, develops for and manages her own full service document automation business, VirtualPro Business Services.

Legal Experience
Corporate Law
Business Law
Estate Planning
Family Law
Real Estate

Lorrie is a Documater and document automation specialist with over14 years of document automation experience, along with 15+ years in the legal field.  She "geeks out" on document automation and truly loves her work. She has substantial experience in drafting and coding documents for estate planning, family law, corporate, and real estate law. She founded, develops for and manages her own full service document automation business, VirtualPro Business Services.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I received my BA inSociology and Anthropology at Principia College, a tiny liberal arts school on a beautiful campus located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, across the river from St. Louis.  But shortly after I graduated, an opportunity fell into my lap that I could not pass up. I completed a "trial by fire" computer programming internship with the Civil Service, programming the payroll system for the Department of Army.  Since then, I have done everything from running my own preschool from home, teaching Reading and Language Arts at theElementary School level, and have spent 15 years in the legal field, wearing the hats of a network administrator, a document automation guru, an office manager, a legal researcher and writer, and now, a business-owner that specializes in document automation.

What is your document automation experience?

I am a certified Documate Automation Specialist and have developed almost exclusively for Documate customers since 2020! In addition to Documate, I also have 12 years experience automating documents inHotDocs, building completely integrated document libraries and packages. I've done so for Advanced Estate Planning, Corporate Law, and Real Estate Law.

What areas of law or what types of documents do you have experience in?

I have previously automated a complete system for generating all the documents necessary forCorporate Record Books. I have worked with very complex documents for WealthManagement and Asset Protection as they relate to the development of LivingTrusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, Charitable Trusts, etc. And I also have a little over 1 year experience automating documents in the area of Family Law.  With regard toReal Estate Law, I have automated Lease Agreements, Purchase Agreements, Option to Buy Agreements, and Warranty and Quit Claim Deeds, and much more.

Can you describe your process for how you build a document automation workflow?

If it’s going to be a big project, I usually will start by organizing documents into similar categories.  Then, I review and markup the text to determine what kind of information will be used over and over again, and could be replaced with a variable. I start plugging in draft versions of potential variable names and types into a spreadsheet so I have a “one stop shop” to review the variables so thatI don’t accidentally make a second variable that gathers the exact same information.  This is a good time to also determine whether there will be clauses or sections that are conditional based upon client input.

Then, I determine what fields all the documents have in common, in order to ensure the field names will be consistent throughout the client interviews and document templates. I ensure there are consistent naming conventions for all the fields, so that anyone trying to follow my code at a later date will be able to easily understand it.

Once I have created the necessary components, I can begin building the interview workflow and the templates.  I like to give my clients a preview once in a while to ensure I’m on the right track.  COMMUNICATION IS KEY!

Once I have test assembled the documents, I can then do a test release to my client, allowing them to use a small group of documents for a test period to make sure everything is populating as they desire and to resolve any issues.  Just as with any software application, refinements will always need to be made.  Users may come up with a different idea of how they want an interview workflow or legal app to work, or the law and language may need to change.

How do you start crafting the questions you'd like to ask?  What interactions do you have with the client throughout that process?

As a document automation specialist, I begin crafting the questions I would like to ask as I am reviewing the documents.  I will seethings that may need to have alternate options, or phrasing that could be changed to make coding simpler, etc.  I document each question as I go, and try to group the questions into categories, so as not to overwhelm my client with a super long conference.

Generally, I will spend more time discussing the project with the client at the beginning of the process.  That's when I am learning the customer’s goals or unique needs.  Once I begin coding, there isn't a need for as much client contact unless I come across an issue requiring collaboration. During the process, I can be as transparent as the client needs me to be.  If the client wants to know what's going on behind the scenes, I can provide a link to my work logs so s/he can see what I'm up to.  Once I'm ready to release a test package, I do a screen share with the client.  I give a tutorial on the product, how it works, and any specific items they may need to pay attention to.  Depending on the client, I can get as fancy with this presentation as they would like.

What are the most important qualities for a document automation specialist to have when working with a client to automate their templates and forms?

Good communication skills are extremely important as we work together.  I can communicate as much or as little as you’re comfortable with, and in any form of communications you prefer.  Email, Slack, telephone, Teams video conferences,Zoom, etc.  I think it’s important that my clients always know what I’m working on, what issues may need to be resolved through a conference, what the status of the project is, and that they understand how this all comes together at the end.

A document automation specialist must remember that often, this is the client's first experience with creating document systems.  They don't realize how complex it can get, and why you need to do things a certain way.  This is where patience comes into play.  You often need to teach your client about what you are doing and need to make sure you are explaining in away they can relate to.

It is my job to make sure that I am observing, listening, and learning how their offices work. What are their procedures, what are their priorities and goals, and I need to make sure that I am ultimately making them happy with the final product.

What is your proudest moment?

Hiking the AppalachianTrail, running the Big Sur Marathon, and having a High School Girl's WrestlingTournament named after me. (Ask me about this!)

What do you do for fun?

Hike, backpack, swing dance, run, yoga, concerts, and Bunco!

Anything else we should know?

I actually LOVE document automation and seeing projects come together.  Doing this as my full time profession is a dream that I never knew I had, that came true anyway!

Want to hire Lorrie as your document automation specialist? Email us at hello@documate.org, so we can connect you!

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