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Bev Williams

Bev is a document automation coder who has worked with law firms around the world for many years. She is an enthusiastic software support professional, specializing in desktop applications, document automation and template design.

Legal Experience
Real Estate

Tell us a little about yourself.

I started out my working life as a secretary in the property department of a large South African law firm. The conveyancer at the firm had the idea of automating the mortgage bond registration process, and using technology to fill out the requisite forms.  He approached a company to write software to do this, and the first automated conveyancing software package for attorneys in South Africa was the result. Soon thereafter, I left the law firm and went to work for the software company, supporting and training users of their conveyancing package and document automation software, and assisting with client customization of documents used in the conveyancing package.

What is your document automation experience?

I have been freelancing for many years as a desktop software consultant and document automation coder, formatting and converting documents and precedents into efficient and easy to use templates. I have largely been involved with setting up and automating processes for law firms, particularly court and property law documents.

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

- Initial meeting with the client to discuss their requirements, the scope of the project, whether the documents will need to be formatted or whether they are to be converted with the current formatting;

- Obtain copies of the documents to familiarize myself with them, identify questions or points of discussion, revert to the client;

- I like to engage with the end-user/s if possible, to ascertain their usual workflow, what they think would assist them;

- Depending on the size of the project, I would split it into sub-projects;

- I would then design the questionnaire, set up and test the templates for each section, handing over a section at a time for client testing;

I like to communicate frequently with the client to clarify any questions either party may have, and to keep the client appraised of progress.

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

- Understanding the goals and expectations of the client;

- A good understanding of how to make the end-user's job as easy and efficient as possible;

- Accuracy, attention to detail and an innovative and practical approach to problem solving;

- Good communication skills and the ability to meet deadlines.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy the outdoors, walking and hiking and am a keen birder (NOT a twitcher) and have aLevel 1 FGASA (Field Guide Association of Southern Africa) qualification. My other hobbies include reading, watching tennis, rugby and cricket.

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