The different types of legal document software include automated document generators for use by legal practices, self-help software for laypeople, as well as web-based software that can be used by legal practices and laypeople as a way of cutting the costs of legal representation. Well-documented software that is marketed to legal practices is designed for use by lawyers and paralegals. Self-help software is intended for non-legal professionals who need assistance in preparing for cases in which they represent themselves in court. Some companies now produce legal document software that can be installed on a law practice's website and that can be accessed for a fee, or in some cases free of charge, by potential clients.
In order to speed up the process of completing legal forms, many lawyers and law firms purchase legal document software for in-office use. It can make it easy for lawyers and office workers to locate the appropriate forms for a case, complete them properly, and then in some cases actually upload them to the website of the appropriate courthouse. As the process for selecting and completing these forms is at least semi-automated, the risk of errors is often minimized.
Legal document software is also an option for individuals who must represent themselves in court. Some legal form packages include both the software necessary to select and complete legal documents as well as an informative book or manual written for laypeople on the area of law addressed by the software. In some cases, paralegal firms that specialize in legal document preparation also use this software when preparing documents for clients.
Some law firms now offer an alternative to full representation in the form online legal document completion services. These law firms install legal document software on their website and permit clients to complete the documents themselves. The documents may then be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure their accuracy, and then either the client or the law firm files the documents in court. This process can greatly reduce the legal expenses of the client while also providing him or her with professional legal advice to help prevent costly mistakes that could result in the client either losing his case or having his case dismissed.