General Update on National HotDocs Activities

  • 4/14/2005
  • Marc Lauritsen, Capstone Practice Systems
Here's a high-level update on the national legal services online document assembly scene.
  • First, WELCOME to those who have recently joined this list. Postings here are now seen by about eighty people around the country. Please consider taking a moment to introduce yourself. (Just hit Reply to one of these messages ...) What are your interests and plans? What questions do you have? Look beyond the line below for some background information and resources.
  • About 30 people attended an online Introduction to HotDocs Template Development seminar last week. Materials are available at There's a link to the recording of a similar session last summer at the bottom of this message. We'll do another online intro in the fall with more coverage of PDF templates.
  • The server version of HOTDOCS 2005 has now been released by LexisNexis, and our tests in preparation for its deployment on the national server are going well. We expect to be switching over to it at the end of April. If you have templates running on the server, please be sure to review the migration procedures memo at
  • Note: We've just learned that it may be possible to continue using HotDocs 6.2 templates on the 2005 server. This it not likely to be a recommended strategy, but we will report back as we learn more.
  • The national project team has submitted several LETTERS OF INTENT to LSC for new TIG applications, as discussed on this list.
  • The next monthly CONFERENCE CALL (WebEx meeting) of template developers is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19th at 12:00 Eastern. Contact Cynthia Vaughn ( for participation details. The agenda will include:
    • Update on our collective migration to HotDocs 2005
    • Overview of server enhancements in progress.
    • Demonstration of new features in service pack 1 for HotDocs Pro 2005
    • Other topics suggested between now and then (such as ...?)
  • The next hands-on developer TRAINING session will be an intermediate/advanced one in mid-year. We're still open to suggestions on date and venue.
Marc Lauritsen
Capstone Practice Systems
  • This EMAIL DISCUSSION LIST covers online document assembly activities in the legal services community. You can access list and subscription information, including an ARCHIVE of postings, at
  • The NATIONAL SERVER ( has been in production since last summer. See its Frequently Asked Questions page for an overview. We support PDF as well as RTF templates, and are working with several alternative "front ends," including I-CAN! and A2J. Operations are presently funded through April 2006 via TIG grants from the Legal Services Corporation. We hope to achieve at least basic support through the end of 2007 in the next grant cycle. Several rounds of enhancements are underway with present funding.
  • Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), the national grant recipient, manages the overall project. Kaivo Software and Capstone Practice Systems have jointly built and operate the central server. We're guided by a national advisory board.
  • There is a monthly CONFERENCE CALL (WebEx meeting) of template developers from various states. This is mainly an educational and peer-support session for active developers, focussed on technical issues. Contact Cynthia Vaughn ( for participation details.
  • We at Capstone Practice Systems (Alan Soudakoff, Bart Earle, and I) are funded to provide 10 hours per month of email and phone SUPPORT to template developers in field programs. While much of that time gets used in connection with the monthly group sessions and misc conversations on and off this list, we are happy to try to respond to questions and problems you might have - preferably posed here on the hotdocs list so that fellow developers have the benefit of the exchange.
  • The national project supports periodic TRAININGS, both in-person and Web-based. A streaming video of the Intro to HotDocs Online WebEx training session held last August is available at the end of the "Group Links" at
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