Say What? Filevine Introduces Proprietary Doc Format to ‘Change into the New Commonplace within the Authorized Trade’

In information that had me checking my calendar to see whether it is April 1, the apply administration firm Filevine says that, as a part of a brand new Doc Meeting function, it has developed a proprietary doc format, “.vine,” that it believes will exchange Microsoft Phrase and Google Docs within the authorized business.

“We consider that Doc Meeting and .vine will grow to be the brand new commonplace within the authorized business, changing phrase processors which might be ill-equipped for the job,” mentioned Ryan Anderson, founder and CEO of Filevine. “Basically, authorized work is about producing and exchanging complicated paperwork. By bringing this process into our platform—and connecting it to all of the case information Filevine collects—we’re enabling authorized groups to streamline an important a part of their work.”

Earlier than I inform you what I take into consideration this, let me say that Filevine is a well-regarded product and the corporate’s CEO Anderson, a former lawyer, has all the time struck me as a really savvy enterprise chief. Traders apparently suppose so additionally, as the corporate raised $108 million in a Series D earlier this yr (after which Anderson was on my LawNext podcast to debate the deal).

Let me additionally say that I’ve not but instantly mentioned this information with anybody at Filevine. A spokesperson informed me he may schedule an interview for subsequent week.

However I’ve to wonder if that $108 million was a fun-money windfall that left the oldsters at Filevine in search of methods to spend it.

Misguided Thought

The concept of a single firm making a proprietary doc format that it hopes will grow to be the business commonplace simply looks like a counterintuitively misguided concept for a number of causes.

  • At the beginning, the future-facing strategy to doc requirements is to create vendor-neutral open requirements that can be utilized throughout platforms and that may be structured utilizing frequent protocols, reminiscent of XML. Admittedly, the authorized business is nowhere close to attaining that, however that needs to be the main target.
  • Second, even aside from the open requirements subject, there already is a vendor commonplace that simply so occurs to dominate the authorized business. That’s not to say {that a} new commonplace couldn’t come alongside and knock Microsoft Phrase off its throne (keep in mind WordPerfect?), however even Google caved to enabling .docx modifying in Google Docs.
  • Third, firms want to satisfy their prospects the place they’re, not compel them to study new codecs. The place they’re is on Phrase, and for Filevine to suppose that its .vine format can grow to be the authorized business commonplace is hallucinatory.
  • Fourth, and this follows from assembly prospects the place they’re, the clear development within the authorized business, as I wrote recently, is in direction of interoperability, pushed by the notion that so many authorized professionals endure from platform fatigue.
  • Fifth, a single apply administration firm’s proprietary format isn’t going to grow to be the authorized business commonplace. That will require one in every of two issues to occur. Both each lawyer must transfer to the Filevine platform, or each competing vendor must undertake Filevine’s format. Does Filevine suppose there’s even a distant probability of both of these?

I may go on, and I don’t get pleasure from listening to instantly from Filevine on why it took this route. But it surely appears to me that if an organization desires to construct higher doc meeting that may grow to be the business commonplace, do it on Phrase.

Based mostly on CLM Know-how

As for the precise information, Filevine mentioned that this new .vine format was developed to “energy” its document-generation software, Filevine Doc Meeting. It builds on the doc expertise developed by the contract lifecycle administration firm Outlaw, which Filevine acquired in 2021.

“Doc Meeting auto-populates information, clauses and different info saved in Filevine to speed up authorized doc era and guarantee accuracy,” the announcement mentioned. “Mixed, .vine and Doc Meeting introduce a vastly higher method to draft complaints, demand letters, interrogatories and extra.”

“In 2017, once we got down to create a brand new phrase processor and doc format from scratch, we centered on contracts as a result of they’re tougher than different authorized eventualities when it comes to workflow, content material construction, negotiation/redlining, permissions and model management,” Evan Schneyer, Outlaw’s CTO and cofounder, mentioned within the announcement.

“We had the sense that if we may clear up these issues within the contract house, we may clear up them anyplace. And now, the .vine format represents the extension of Outlaw’s market-proven contracting expertise so as to add a great deal of formatting capabilities which might be mission-critical in a broader authorized context: firm-specific headers and branding, pleading strains, captions and far more.”

Filevine says its new doc meeting software will permit customers to:

  • Auto-populate information saved anyplace in Filevine, together with names, dates, tables, bills, firm holdings, saved clauses, and extra.
  • Bidirectionally sync information, which means that modifications to information in a .vine doc routinely replace information within the Filevine database and modifications within the Filevine database are routinely pushed to .vine paperwork.
  • Use conditional logic in order that .vine templates adapt to a number of contingencies. For instance, conditional logic can routinely change language in a letter to an insurance coverage firm primarily based on the insurance coverage kind (legal responsibility, UIM, no-fault, and so on.).
  • Make redlines and feedback to facilitate contextual suggestions and correct edits.
  • Securely retailer and share paperwork with shoppers, colleagues and co-counsel. A .vine will be seen in any internet browser or exported as a docx or pdf.

“It by no means made sense for legal professionals to make use of the identical phrase processors that middle-school college students use to write down their first essays,” Cain Elliot, head authorized futurist at Filevine, mentioned within the announcement. “With this launch, we’re equipping authorized groups with the primary doc expertise that stands as much as the complexity of their work.”