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Formstack + NetDocuments: Reducing Manual Work to Save Time and Money for University Legal Teams


To serve the needs of students, faculty, and staff, university legal teams often rely on forms to gather essential information — whether it’s for an employment contract, a landlord-tenant dispute, immigration needs, or a student complaint.

The goal of using forms in the first place is to streamline the intake process so that university counsel can deliver effective, efficient legal services to the campus community.

But here’s the thing: the way many universities use forms isn’t actually that efficient or effective.

In fact, the standard process for creating, distributing, and digitally storing forms can be exhausting, time-consuming, and error-prone for both counsel and students — not to mention expensive for the university.

Don’t believe it? Check this out:

The Problem with Typical Legal Forms

Physical forms and manual processes deliver a sub-par experience for just about everyone involved. Here are just a few of the ways they fall short:

  • Communication challenges between students and the university legal team. Without a digital intake process in place, students and university counsel are much more likely to get caught in a prolonged game of phone- or email-tag as key information is relayed back and forth.
  • Difficulty finding and completing forms. Students may not know where to find the right form online, and they may struggle to fill it out digitally. The alternative — physically printing, filling out, and submitting the form — can also be unnecessarily complicated.
  • Time-consuming process of converting forms to digital documents. In order to collaborate together and maintain consistent records, university legal teams must convert physical documents to usable digital files and then securely store and organize them appropriately.
  • Error-prone manual data entry. In some circumstances, university counsel may have to rekey information from a physical document or scanned document image into a digital file. This mundane task is prone to error, which is not only frustrating and time-consuming to resolve, but could also appear unprofessional if inaccurate copies are delivered to students, vendors, etc.
  • Inefficient workflows for document delivery and storage. Storing documents in the right place and getting them into the right hands may not take long, but even 15 minutes adds up quickly when counsel’s time is worth $300/hour.
  • Meeting the expectations of university clients. While the professors may love paper, the reality is that today’s university students are the most tech-savvy generation yet, which means they expect a seamless experience — even when using legal services.
  • Maintaining continuity when campus goes remote. The pandemic showed the world that digital transformation is no longer optional. Serving the needs of the university community requires legal teams to make their services accessible whether students are on campus or learning remotely.

It’s clear that manual processes and physical forms simply aren’t suited to the needs of a forward-thinking university, its students, or its legal team.

So how do you digitize legal services and take them to the next level without compromising on key issues like security, compliance, and governance? We’ll show you.

There’s a Better Way to Do Forms

Physical forms are becoming a thing of the past while digital forms are becoming the norm. But why should your team embrace them?

It’s pretty simple: digital forms are not only easier for university clients to access and complete, they can help university counsel save significant time by streamlining the form intake process. In fact, you may not even need to call up IT to get started.

Legal teams also need to be able to securely store and collaborate on forms and other submitted documents. That’s why it’s so important that any digital form solution your organization uses be integrated with your document management system (DMS).

How Formstack + NetDocuments Can Help

Educational institutions often have wide-ranging needs that put extensive demands on their legal teams. To effectively manage these demands, university counsel need tools that help optimize productivity without compromising on the most crucial requirement: compliance.

As a DMS designed specifically for legal professionals, NetDocuments is uniquely suited to the needs, workflows, and security requirements of a university’s office of general counsel. And NetDocuments' powerful solutions extend far beyond document management to email management, task management, collaboration, real-time messaging, and more.

Meanwhile, Formstack is a workplace productivity platform that offers a variety of solutions, including forms, documents, digital signatures with Sign, and more.

Together, Formstack and NetDocuments can help university legal teams deliver more efficient and effective services to students, faculty, staff, and the university as a whole — particularly when it comes to form intake.

Here’s What a Streamlined Form Intake Looks Like

Remember all those challenges that physical forms and manual processes create for university legal teams? See how NetDocuments and Formstack eliminate them one by one:

  • University counsel creates a Student Complaint form using Formstack Forms’ no-code builder and publish it on their website. (No need to get IT support.)
  • A student completes the digital complaint form on the university website and submits it online. (No printing or scanning necessary.)
  • All submitted data is automatically compiled into a PDF copy of the required legal student complaint form via Formstack Documents. (No time-consuming digitization.)
  • The assembled document is automatically stored in the student’s folder in NetDocuments through Formstack’s native integration. (No manual data entry = reduced errors.)
  • University counsel can redline and collaborate on the form in NetDocuments. (No compromises on compliance or productivity.)

Now’s the Time to Take Your Forms and Documents Digital

There’s little doubt: university legal teams need more powerful tools to work efficiently and meet the vast and varied demands of their institutions. NetDocuments and Formstack may be essential pieces of the puzzle to help your legal team reduce manual work to save time and money when dealing with forms and other documents.

Want to see how NetDocuments and Formstack can help your legal team get more forms done, faster? Click here to receive a demo.

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