[Editor’s note: This is the introduction to an article published in the free resource directory on the LawNext Legal Technology Directory. It is co-authored by Marc Lauritsen and Bart Earle, president and vice president of Capstone Practice Systems.]

HotDocs is one of the oldest and best-known products in a market — legal document automation — that is growing and morphing more than ever. New players seem to emerge weekly, leapfrogging each other with dazzling interfaces and features.

The latest generation of HotDocs introduces a full-stack rewrite of the product. It includes both Author, a desktop template authoring tool, and Advance, a web-based user environment. Prospective HotDocs customers still can still license the older version, which the publisher, AbacusNext, now calls Classic HotDocs and says there are no plans to discontinue.

At the time of original release, the publisher acknowledged that Author lacked functionality offered in older versions of HotDocs. As time passed, however, Author has acquired new features and the new version is emerging as an increasingly capable replacement for Classic HotDocs. Advance has also seen improvements, including some features missing from its predecessor, HotDocs Server.

We come to the new products as long-time fans of Classic HotDocs and this review is largely from the perspective of what has changed. But we have also worked with a number of HotDocs competitors, and we are mindful of where HotDocs shines and where it falls short by comparison.

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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.