Laura Valenton Steinbach is a Gavel Expert who has worked with law firms, legal aid organizations, and nonprofits for 2 years. She is an experienced document automation specialist with a legal background who has been using automation to help law firms productize their services for family law forms as well as optimize estate planning documents, landlord tenant documents, and real estate documents for all types of clients.
Laura Valenton Steinbach is a Documater who has worked with law firms, legal aid organizations, and nonprofits for 2 years. She is an experienced document automation specialist with a legal background who has been using automation to help law firms productize their services for family law forms as well as optimize estate planning documents, landlord tenant documents, and real estate documents for all types of clients. Below, she tells us a bit about her skills and experience as a Documater.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I have two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Political Science and another in Spanish from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). My legal career began when I started law school at Georgia State University College of Law. During law school, I have worked for a Law Firm, Georgia Courts, and volunteered for numerous Legal Aid and Nonprofit Organizations for 3 years. I realized that there are many processes that SHOULD be automated, and upon graduating from law school, I focused on providing such services full time with A2J Tech. I have provided document automation services for law firms, legal aid organizations, and nonprofits for about 2 years. Additionally, I am a licensed attorney and registered mediator in the State of Georgia.
What is your document automation experience?
I have experience with Documate and document automation projects for almost two years. Most of my experience is in family law matters. I automated entire sets of uncontested divorce court forms across Colorado, Texas, Utah, and Florida. The forms include the Fee Waiver, Petition, Response, Service, Child Support, Child Custody, Financial Statement, Separation Agreement, and Final Judgment forms.
Additionally, I have experience in estate planning matters. I automated simple Wills and Advanced Directives as well as probate court form sets for year’s allowance and decedents that have died intestate and testate.
Moreover, I have experience with landlord tenant matters. I automated entire sets of eviction documents from Client Intake to the Final Judgment form for apartments and mobile home communities.
Finally, I also have experience with forms outside of legal practice. I automated real estate documents which include Client Intake, Letter of Intent, Leases, and Lease Renewal.
What areas of law or documents do you have experience in?
I have a year’s worth of legal experience in estate planning matters, corporate matters, and landlord tenant matters. I drafted Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney Forms, Advanced Healthcare Directives, and inheritance plans. I also drafted and reviewed commercial contracts and partnership agreements. Additionally, I mediated landlord tenant evictions for Dispossessory Courts at Fulton County and Dekalb County in Georgia.
Can you describe your process for how you build a document automation workflow?
After meeting with the client and receiving the forms to be automated, I make a flow chart of the forms to be generated from the interview (or interviews). This helps finalize any “logic” paths or where the interview can diverge to generate another set of forms.
I then begin the process of automation by building out a prototype of what the client has envisioned from the flow chart. If the client has certain question phrasing or answer options they want used (which is rare), that will also be noted and reflected in the prototype. As questions arise I either email or slack the client clarifying questions with either pictures or videos attached. Throughout the automation process, I am constantly testing and correcting any issues that arise so that the prototype is complete and error free. If the client wants the questionnaire to be used for their own clients, I also do a second round of testing with a coworker, to make sure the phrasing of questions and options are easy to understand for a layperson.
Once completed, I send the prototype over for review. This usually takes about a week. Generally, clients will have text edits to how questions or sections are phrased, or would like to add or remove questions.
Once those updates are made, I send the final version over to the client.
If there are any issues that arise or the client wants more forms, I go back and make any updates as needed.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a document automation developer to have when working with a client to automate their template and forms?
I think a document automation developer should be a good listener and detail oriented. Many projects that I have worked on are an entire service or product that a client will provide. Being able to document the entire workflow requires listening to the client’s wants and needs on how they want to use Documate as a tool. If the workflow is recorded incorrectly, it leads to inefficiencies during the automation process, costing the client money and time. That is also why being detail oriented is extremely important. Being able to spot issues and help the client visualize the automation process increases the likelihood of a successful prototype with minimal updates, saving the client time and money.
What is your proudest moment?
Graduating law school and passing the bar! Even though my path does not require practicing the law, I still use my bar license to take on pro bono cases.
What do you do for fun?
I like spending time hiking, running, or swimming! I take advantage of the outdoor recreational activities Georgia has to provide. I also love to keep my mind active by reading or playing video games.
Anything else we should know about you?
After working for a law firm and volunteering with many legal aid organizations and nonprofits, many of the processes paralegals, law clerks, and even lawyers do can be automated. In particular, automating legal documents that are repetitive can free up time for drafting more complicated legal clauses or documents, focusing on trial, communicating with clients, or taking on more clients. Although it is time consuming to automate documents yourself while also juggling your current workload, that’s why I’m here! I hope to provide your firm or organization the automation services you need to operate at its best!
Watch Laura's videos on how she approaches the Documate process in three steps:
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