Westlaw Form Builder?

Last week Thomson Reuters announced the launch of Westlaw Form Builder:

Westlaw Form Builder has been launched—an online document assembly tool that helps attorneys find, assemble and review legal forms with greater speed and accuracy. Attorneys can access more than 20,000 forms anytime and anywhere they have an Internet connection. Forms are customizable, continually updated by Westlaw editors, and have links to WestlawNext to validate citations. Client data can be stored and re-used for future forms.

And the Westlaw Form Builder home page adds the following:

20,000+ official and lawyer-tested forms come from well-known, highly respected sources and authors, such as:

  • McKinney’s for New York, Trawick’s for Florida, and ProDoc and West practice series titles for various states
  • Alan S. Gutterman for business forms
  • Ronald L. Lipman for estate planning forms
  • Official USCIS forms for immigration, with commentary by Austin T. Fragomen Jr.

Isn’t it time to streamline document assembly?

I assume that Westlaw has simply made its existing inventory available online. In other words, when it comes to contracts on Westlaw Form Builder, here’s what I expect:

  • The forms won’t use language that complies with a rigorous style guide.
  • Instead of being “modular,” the forms will consist of different product lines developed independently of each other.
  • The technology is presumably adequate, but it won’t compare to ContractExpress.
  • Any given form will offer you a small fraction of the kind of customization and guidance offered in Koncision’s confidentiality-agreement template.
  • It won’t always be clear whether the credentials of whoever is behind a given form will be sufficient to allow you to give that form the benefit of the doubt.

Although plenty of people might find Westlaw Form Builder useful, I don’t expect it to be a game-changer. But I haven’t tried it; if you think I’m mistaken, let me know.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.