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HotDocs

Template-driven, automated document & form assembly software

HotDocs Reviews

Reviews summary

Pros

I have had to enter in repetitive information on a set of 25 documents many times over the years, but being able to use HotDocs has been a great improvement and a fantastic time saver.

Kristy H.

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The quintessential software for document automation. One of the best software (if not the best) for this purpose.

Michael S.

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I love the integration with Wealth Counsel and the customization that it allows with the word documents I produce for estate plans.

Anonymous Reviewer

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Cons

Beware of entanglement with the new owners of this software. They will suck you into a monthly subscription scheme which is virtually impossible to cancel.

Eric E.

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Navigating the menus can be difficult. However, I use them so infrequently that this may just be a function of my lack of use.

Anonymous Reviewer

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So complicated that it's functionally unusable. Previously hired programmer to get working when they didn't charge usury monthly rates for worthless "lease.

Nathaniel D.

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Overall rating

4.1

(51)

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76%
positive reviews
76%
would recommend this app

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51 reviews

recommended

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Outstanding document production, fair UI

Reviewed 3 years ago

Document automation saves time and reduces errors. I've found HotDocs to be extremely reliable, stable, and bug-free.

Pros

This product's integration with Microsoft Word is outstanding. It is a fantastic scripting tool for document generation. I've also prepared some documents in WordPerfect and it seems entirely capable with that as well.

Cons

Hands down, the data entry interview is crude at best. It is probably ok for a developer who has never worked with another UI, but the "automation" it provides comes at a steep price - loss of control. If you want truly professional user interfaces, you'll have to write the front-end in some other language, write an "answer file" HotDocs can understand (which is not hard, it is very basic XML) and then let HotDocs work its magic to assemble the language in Word. When used that way, HotDocs is very powerful and flexible. When used in its native UI, it is fairly inflexible.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Great software, but still needs to improve

Reviewed 3 years ago

It's really the best software out there for what it does. It just still seems behind the times in terms of connectivity, componentization, and still no HiDPI support.

Pros

It is extremely flexible and can help you craft just about any document that you want. I prefer the desktop version to the cloud version. It just works every time!

Cons

I feel that HotDocs has been stagnating recently. Here are some things that they need to address: *Easy import/export of answer data to other formats. For example, if I use some other tool such as an online form, it should have the ability to import that data into an answer file. *It still doesn't support Hi-DPI displays. *It would be great it if could be more flexible in the storage of answer data. The ability to componentize the fields/answer data would be wonderful. As it stands, each template is limited to only one component file.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Quick Completion

Reviewed a month ago

Document Automation says it all. It integrates data into various documents with the click of a button.

Pros

Inputting client information one time to use with various forms. Court forms contain the same information in multiple areas and this fills the form.

Cons

There are two forms where the client information is not available from what was input. It is not a major issue since I am now aware.

Overall Rating
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  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend6/10

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Gets the job done, quite overpriced, and does about 80% of what it should

Reviewed 10 months ago

Gets the job done, and is ultimately worth it if your time is very valuable. Very expensive, and clearly only going to get more so. The document sets available are decent, but not amazing.

Pros

Saves time, and is very commonly used (and therefore understood) outside of our office.

Cons

Very expensive, and requires re-entry of data already entered far too often. The actual coding in documents is surprisingly opaque, and converting existing document structures to a HotDocs format is exceptionally cumbersome. The existing form sets that are on top of HotDocs are useful, and the community is broad, but the quality is hit or miss.

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  • Ease of use
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  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Overall, it's a helpful tool for drafting my documents.

Reviewed 3 years ago

Ease in drafting documents... biggest value for me. A lot of my practice is tailoring forms to my clients needs and wishes, and having the basic form available in HotDocs is a big help.

Pros

I enjoy being able to address both areas of my legal practice in the same program. I do not need to switch if I am creating for my client both estate planning documents and business transaction documents.

Cons

Most challenging is learning how to create new Hot Doc templates. Maybe I'm too busy in my legal practice, but I do not have time to devote to learning the ins and outs, and therefore am forced to pay an admin person to create any new forms I'd like. If it were more user intuitive, I know I would have MANY more documents created under the software and get even more productivity out of the program.

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  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Gold Standard

Reviewed 9 months ago

Overall, it is a joy once it is set up and works well with other programs.

Pros

Once everything is set up, HotDocs is the most customized, helpful document assembly program out there.

Cons

Found it difficult and expensive to learn.

Overall Rating
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  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Great product for automating standard legal forms.

Reviewed 9 months ago

Overall, a very good and versatile experience. You will want to have experience in higher-level logic and computer coding language in order to make full use of the features HotDocs provides (or hire a consultant who can do the programming for you).

Pros

Product provides enough features and flexibility to customize almost any type of form.

Cons

The web-based version of the product is probably still in its early stages of development. This shouldn't discourage you from using it. The program has a bright future and there the potential gains in efficiency and form robustness are worth it.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend9/10

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Good functionality, and once implemented, easy to use

Reviewed 3 years ago
Pros

Allows a certain amount of flexibility with master documents while having a fairly low learning curve on the user side.

Cons

Software coding functionality within the word documents can be cumbersome to implement. It can be hard to go down certain logic paths without a lot of workaround.

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Time to move on

Reviewed 2 years ago
Pros

The product takes substantial time to learn, but is robust and can be extremely helpful if you are willing to devote the time on the front end to save time on the back end.

Cons

We have been with HotDocs forever and likely would have continued; however, since they were acquired by AccessData they have switched to a new pricing model requiring a perpetual monthly cost per user that will dramatically increase our cost for this product. We are currently exploring alternatives. I do not yet have pricing or sufficient information to know if any of these will be less expensive and work for us, but we are looking at Contract Express, XpressDox, and Exari. I am online today performing research for other viable competitors.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend4/10

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A great idea and certainly something that a company could deliver a quality product.

Reviewed 3 years ago
Pros

- It is powerful and can do a lot. - It allows us to have a robust interview that generates templated documents - The software generally works, though it has some shortcomings which are not easily solved.

Cons

- The company is about one thing: how much money can they get out of your firm. I received 4 sales calls in one week to get us to upgrade or change or whatever. They call other people in my firm who then refer the calls to me. If they redirected some of their sales staff to make the product better, it would be better for everyone! - It lacks a robust network of developers that work with it. We struggled to find qualified providers that could help us develop interviews and templates. - It has a dizzying array of different product editions, two different SAAS products, a desktop product which comes in different versions.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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The obvious choice for professional users

Reviewed a year ago

While we use HotDocs ourselves, and have since 2012, our main use of HotDocs is now on behalf of our customers, who are mainly lawyers (in firms or in-house legal teams). As noted above, we find it is an extremely powerful document automation tool, which can be used on almost any forms of document. We've had good support from our key contacts at HotDocs, and after 4 years with LawHawk (and having...

Pros

I think HotDocs is THE choice to use when you need to prepare more complex legal documents, particularly in packages. We are lawyers who specialise in automating documents for other law firms in areas like loan and security documents, share sale agreements, and complex wills and estates. We really haven't found anything we can't do with HotDocs, but we know that most (if not all) of the other document automation tools we've looked at, and sometimes use for simpler work, couldn't do the job at the high end. While a lot of focus is on the actual document creation aspect, we also really like the ability to build organisational compliance and training into the interview questionnaires.

Cons

The biggest issue with HotDocs is the annual per user licensing model, which restricts the ability to use HotDocs in situations where you have a lot of POTENTIAL users, who may only need to use it occasionally. It also stops people from starting to use it when they don't know how large the benefits will be. I would love to see a more flexible licensing model that allowed people to get started using HotDocs, because they would love it, and would quickly see many more uses. With a more scalable licensing model, I think millions more people would use it. The ability to collaborate with others (e.g. via client interviews) would be a great help. I'd also like to see more easy - out of the box - integration with other systems, particularly Office 365.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
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  • Likelihood to recommend3/10

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Great software, but beware of new owner's year-to-year subscription pricing.

Reviewed 2 years ago
Pros

I've used HotDocs in my law practice for more than 10 years. Love it. Very powerful. The more time you invest using it, the more you'll appreciate its many features and the better your templates will become.

Cons

My only warning concerns the new year-to-year subscription pricing requirement. How does that make sense for this kind of software? The software becomes helpful only after you make your own serious upfront investment of time to build HotDocs "templates". Without that investment, HotDocs will do nothing for you. Don't make such an investment without considering that, in future years, you'll have...

Overall Rating
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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HotDocs Developer 11 - Ease of Use

Reviewed 3 years ago

I have been working in HotDocs for the past 11 years, as a user and a coder. To be able to use this program to assemble our documents saves an incredible amount of time. I have had to enter in repetitive information on a set of 25 documents many times over the years, but being able to use HotDocs has been a great improvement and a fantastic time saver. Over the years, I have been able to increase the amount of client documents used through HotDocs and gained the interest of several other departments.

Pros

Our firm works on a vast amount of forms that are specific to our individual clients needs - these are not fill-in forms, but documents ranging from 1 single page to 100+ pages. We use a sometimes complicated Answer File whereby HotDocs lets us quickly assemble a single document or multiple documents - I sometimes do 20 or more documents at a time. The amount of time that is saved being able to use HotDocs for this document assembly process is phenomenal.

Cons

If the answer to a variable is not readily available some end-users would like there to be a prompt on the draft document indicating what fields/questions have been left blank. For the person filling in the answer file those unanswered questions are known at the end of the answer file, but after assembly these documents are passed on for further editing and review and a reminder of what information was not available at the time of assembly would be helpful.

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TOO PRICEY -- In my opinion HotDocs priced themselves right out of the market

Reviewed 2 years ago

Love it, but not for the price they want you to pay. I have been using Hotdocs since around the mid-nineties and have seen the company change hands. The current "custodians" of Hotdocs have unfortunately missed the boat on pricing.

Pros

I can easily sell this program to anyone, and have in fact have turned several attorneys on to this program. It's a great way to automate your documents. It's logical. Is it complex? Sure it can be, but that gives the user a lot of options and makes it a powerful tool.

Cons

Cost prohibitive. For some reason HotDocs has elected to increase the price of HotDocs well beyond what they charged. From my understanding they want to have you pay a MONTHLY FEE where they used to just charge you a one time fee for the program. The price is too high for solo attorneys and small law firms. Bottom-line: Until Hotdocs can figure things out on the pricing, do not start using Hotdocs; there are other ways to get the same job done for cheaper, A LOT CHEAPER!

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend7/10

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Practicing Family Law with HotDocs makes a world of difference.

Reviewed 3 years ago

Creating motions, petitions, orders, briefs, and so much more is easy with HotDocs. It would be difficult for us to practice Family Law without it!

Pros

We've been using HotDocs for almost 15 years. We have an enormous amount of time invested in the creation and updating of hundreds of HotDocs templates that help us create a huge variety of critical documents. The product is extremely powerful and flexible.

Cons

The least likable factor about HotDocs is that it has become so expensive over the years.The basic program hasn't changed a lot since then but the cost has become exorbitant. We've been through several changes of HotDocs ownership over the years and the one thing I can count on is that the cost will go up every time. I think you could sell a lot more firms on this product if using it weren't so expensive.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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HotDocs is easily one of my top 10 successes in 25 years of working in legal I.T.

Reviewed 3 years ago

Great efficiency.

Pros

HotDocs saves us a lot of time drafting complex documents. The software is well-written, and reliable. It is highly cost-effective.

Cons

HotDocs requires a time investment on the front end, wherein the document construction process must be formally defined and articulated. (To be sure, this task would be common to any effort or tool to automate the construction of complex documents.) HotDocs also requires a fair amount of care and feeding, but not so much because the product requires it but rather because of the base documents and the process change. I recommend that any customer find a HotDocs partner that can assist with building and maintaining the workflows, and base documents.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Best Product for Document Automation

Reviewed 4 years ago

The quintessential software for document automation. One of the best software (if not the best) for this purpose. It can take some time to learn all the available features to use in document creation but once start to understand the basics then you can start to unlock the true potential for this software. Very robust and the possibilities are endless. Generating documents and pleadings now take a fraction of the time they normally would using any other software. I highly recommend this product.

Pros

Huge time saver Generate documents in fractions of the time

Cons

Takes time to create templates Must have extensive knowledge of word Take time to learn how to use the software

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Very dissatisfied.

Reviewed 2 years ago

Due to the pricing changes, I am left with the decision to abandon hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of my time because the new owners have priced me out of the continued use of software I have already paid for.

Pros

I used this software for years and put a lot of time and effort into the program. There were no subscriptions. You paid for the software and it was yours. I did pay for an upgrade to HotDocs 11.

Cons

Now that the company's pricing has changed, I was told that I would have to purchase a new monthly, per user subscription to re-install what I already paid for onto a new computer that replaced my old one.

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
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  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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HotDocs is a real time saver and very easy to use.

Reviewed 3 years ago

There is a large cost and time savings to my firm. Documents which used to take hours to produce are now done in minutes.

Pros

You just answer the questions presented on the document automation screen and your document is generated for you. Little training is required and the process of preparing pleadings greatly enhanced saving time and expense.

Cons

Programming new templates and questions for presentation can be complex and time consuming. Designing the required questions in order to solicit the right responses in the correct order to produce the desired result can require multiple design refinements.

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  • Ease of use
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  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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Ease of use

Reviewed 3 years ago

Works with our Cal Wills and Trusts program wonderfully!

Pros

Very reliable and compatible with our needs

Cons

Cannot say, we have had no issues. The install was great

Vendor response

Hi Frank! My name is Natalie and I'm on the Marketing Team at Abacus. I wanted to reach out and say thank you for the feedback! It's great to hear that HotDocs has been a great resource for you. I wanted to reach out to see if you would be interested in being one of our first customers to film a video review? We'd love to include you in this cool new project! Please let me know if you are interested! Thank you, Natalie

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  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
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  • Likelihood to recommend7/10

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Streamlines your life, but expensive

Reviewed a year ago

I use HotDocs while using my Trust Funding software.

Pros

I love how HotDocs streamlines the drafting of frequently used documents, such as Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney. You can enter info through a template, hit a button and viola, you are ready to go.

Cons

It has an expensive user license fee. It can be cumbersome to get started and require additional tech assistance.

Vendor response

Thank you for your review, Jennifer! HotDocs was designed to make drafting documents extremely efficient, and we're happy to hear it's hitting the mark for you. We're glad you mentioned the learning curve. We highly recommend our customers factor in adequate time for setup to get the most out of their investments, and take advantage of our knowledge base and support team. Please don't hesitate to reach out if we can still be of assistance. All the best, The team at AbacusNext

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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Great software for any document assembly needs

Reviewed 3 years ago

We are drafting legal documents with complex interviews in minutes, saving hours of drafting every day.

Pros

Very flexable, no matter how complex the document is you can build the template in hotdocs. The interview is also great, being able to control what the user sees depending on inputs makes the program very easy to use for the end user. Also, the help page is incredibly helpful, I hope people are using it because it is nothing like the usual help page programs have.

Cons

Rather steep learning curve. Took me a couple of weeks to get the hang of it, and the built in functions are hard to find without the help feature. Once you have them memorized its great though. I imagine it will take me a few more months to master the program.

Vendor response

Hi David! My name is Natalie and I'm on the Marketing Team at Abacus. I wanted to reach out and say thank you for the feedback! It's great to hear that HotDocs has been a great resource for you. I wanted to reach out to see if you would be interested in being one of our first customers to film a video review? We'd love to include you in this cool new project! Please let me know if you are interested! Thank you, Natalie

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend10/10

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it meets our needs, is updated frequently and easy to use

Reviewed 3 years ago

accuracy and uniformity in preparing documents

Pros

as above - easy to use and reliable. it is always current and is specific to our needs regarding trust administration

Cons

I wish the answer files could be networked so everyone could have access. I also don't like the storage on the local drive. if a user forgets to back up to the server we can lose information and have no record

Overall Rating
  • Value for money
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Likelihood to recommend8/10

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HotDocs is very easy to use and super affordable.

Reviewed 3 years ago

saving time and money

Pros

The software is very user friendly and easy to figure out. I definitely do not have a developer background, but have been able to teach myself how to architect documents in HotDocs. It was almost impossible to figure out how to architect documents in our previous software without support from our IT department.

Cons

The user interface could use an update... it often feels as though we are using old technology.

Overall Rating
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Great software for automation.

Reviewed 4 years ago
Pros

It makes very complex form automation possible. The price of a developer license is very reasonable compared to the hours saved by using automated forms.

Cons

It needs an update for hi-res screen use. Better (or at least easier) interaction with MS OneDrive would be useful.

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