Documate is now Gavel! Read more about why we’re excited about this rebrand.

1 = 3 Dawn D.

Dawn is a Certified Clio Manage & Grow Consultant and is also Gavel Certified. She has more than 25 years in the legal industry as a professional paralegal, office manager, and legal software administrator. Dawn is an excellent fit for small, established law firms that have a budget for document automation. For two years, she partnered with a leading regional IT company advising law firm clients and supporting their document automation and legal software solution needs. She has been a trusted resource for many firms who have relied upon her vision to organize, build, and implement systems and processes from the ground up. With her full understanding of law firm practices, she brings added value to the document automation discussion.

Business Law
Estate Planning
Family Law
Insurance Defense
Personal Injury Law
Trust Administration

Dawn founded 1=3 Consulting to offer a full range of services to Clio clients who wish to integrate with innovative document automation tools like Gavel. The business name 1=3 is important to Dawn because she believes ONE great automation should lead to THREE great things: time saving, increased revenue, and growth. Dawn's relatable personality allows her to approach each project from a unique perspective, placing value in the voice of every user and seeking the most efficient approach to workflow design, implementations, data migrations and customizations. Her input translates to reduced man-hours, employee loyalty, improved user skill sets through personalized training, and increased revenue.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Geez, where to start? Let's just say that being a cruise ship singer was a great way to learn customer service. I was a liberal arts student, studying voice at Indiana University Southeast when I was hired by Norwegian Cruise Lines to travel the Caribbean and sing my heart out.  I grew homesick after a year and moved home where I took my first job in a law firm as an overflow typist and receptionist. From there, I was hooked on law and everything legal.  I returned to Indiana University Southeast and obtained by Paralegal Certification from the Division of Continuing Studies in 2003. In 2013, I obtained my Kentucky Certified Paralegal “CKP” designation.

What is your document automation experience?  

I have been automating documents since 1997, when I was first tasked with drafting hundreds of forcible detainers for dozens of housing complexes every month. I was taught to type over each form with new information and save it, which would take all day, every day.  On my breaks, I taught myself how to automate in Word Perfect and automated the entire process, which reduced it to minutes a day and created room for me to grow professionally.  Since then, if there is a way to automate, I want to learn it.

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

I have extensive experience in estate planning, building out Wills, Health Care Surrogates, Living Wills, and DPOAs in Clio, Caret, and Actionstep.  I have also worked with very complex documents for Asset Protection as they relate to the development of Irrevocable Trusts. I also have experience in personal injury, defense litigation, bankruptcy, family law, and business law.  

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

The foundation of my process is precise data organization and consistent client communication.  

If my client is an existing Clio user, I review their Clio Manage database to determine if they are gathering any data and, if yes, in what custom field types. If they are using integrations like Clio Grow or Lawmatics, I confirm that the data being collected is set up to be automatically exported into Clio Manage to eliminate double entry. As I review my client’s documents, I create a spreadsheet of variables, group documents into practice areas and workflows, and begin to visualize the output. Depending on the complexity of the desired outcome, I note any logic needed, roles involved, and document sets that make sense.  At this point, I usually create a sample workflow and demonstrate this to my client for feedback and adjustments.

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

Many times, I start my automation process by asking my client for a copy of their client intake forms.  The questions a law firm asks a client are often the key to the output desired in documents.  The goal here is to create a user experience that is well organized and, thus, less burdensome.  I often pause to ask the client for feedback just to make sure they are comfortable with the solution being offered.

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

Experience. Patience.  Creativity.  Availability.

What is your proudest moment?

As a paralegal many years ago, I received a call from our Estate Planning client “Bill,” a Navy Veteran, who told me a very large sum of money had been deposited into his bank from the Veterans Administration.  We both cried together knowing that two years of our relentless hard work had finally been rewarded and his disability had been granted. My second most proud moment was when I told him I think we should appeal because the VA had underpaid him and him calling to tell me he received another large sum of money after that appeal was granted.  As he cried again, he said, “I can now afford to move close to my daughter and live at the assisted living place I had only dreamed of.”

What do you do for fun?

I am an avid nature lover who is obsessed with birds, our dog and two cats, and taking long walks with my husband. I love to volunteer. And, of course, I still sing.

Anything else we should know?

This is my dream job.

Book a time to speak about your project

Documate Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter to get product updates, exclusive client interviews, and more.