Making the Case

Making the Case to Leadership for a Prescriptive Training Program

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What is prescriptive training?

Prescriptive Training is a strategy for minimizing time spent in training by assigning training based on each individual's strengths and weaknesses.

Technology Scope

For the purpose of this document, we focus on legal document production using Microsoft Word. Our prescriptive training program for Word includes customizations for third-party numbering tools such as Innova, Legal MacPac, and Payne Numbering Assistant. We also offer prescriptive training programs for Excel, PowerPoint 2010, and Outlook 2010.

Benefits of Perscriptive Training

Research conducted by Profiscience Partners revealed, that on average, document producers in more than 20 of the top 250 law firms in North America have a working knowledge of 50% to 70% of core competencies that support best practices for working with complex legal documents. Firms who implement a prescriptive training program see the working knowledge rise to 90% to 95%.

The benefits of this project to the Firm include:
  • Establishing best practices and standards for document production
  • Increasing productivity and improving document production efficiency firm-wide
  • Consistently creating more stable, uncorrupt documents
  • Reducing support calls to help desk
  • Reducing overtime costs
  • Increasing levels of client satisfaction
  • Increasing levels of skill and job satisfaction among the document producers
  • Identifying the Firm's most skilled document producers
The benefits to document producers who achieve certification include
  • Improving credibility with attorneys, coworkers, and the firm's clients
  • Increasing confidence and improved workplace morale
  • Increasing skill levels and ability to handle incoming documents from clients
  • Improving readiness to assist with work assignments across practice areas


This prescriptive training program is designed to improve the document production skills of the Firm's legal document producers. The initiative is focused on:

The initiative is focused on:
  • Measuring core competencies for complex legal document production
  • Providing targeted training to close the skill gaps identified through assessment
The objectives of the project are to:
  • Improve levels of client service and client satisfaction
  • Improve productivity and profitability for the Firm
  • Improve the technical skills of the document producers

Targeted Audience

The prescriptive training program is for document producers including:

  • Secretaries/Legal
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Paralegals
  • Word Processing Staff
  • Help Desk Staff
  • Attorneys
  • Accounting (Excel)
  • US & International Offices

Best Practices for Document Production

Best practices are proven methods for accomplishing document production tasks that best promote document integrity, stability and user productivity. The adoption of best practices lead to sustainable outcomes in productivity, quality, and client satisfaction, and improves the Firm's performance and efficiency in document production.

Best practices represent tasks associated with:
  • Using document templates
  • Creating tables
  • Editing documents
  • Numbering
  • Sections
  • Pagination
  • Table of contents
  • Document sharing and collaboration

Overview of Assessment

An assessment of each document producer will reveal the training needs for each individual by measuring working knowledge of the 40-50 core competencies that support best practices for complex legal document production. Each document producer will receive:

  • A report detailing his/her skill gaps
  • A learning plan with specific recommendations for training to improve skills in the areas where it is most needed
  • Training to address their needs

Project Cycle & Timeline

Plan for implementation of a prescriptive training program after any major Microsoft Office upgrade or change to a third party numbering tool for Microsoft Word and then every two years to maintain certification.

The length of a prescriptive training project can vary greatly depending on the number of participants, locations and project resources. Based on a project with 80 participants, the Word assessment timeline is approximately 4 months. All of the assessment initiatives include three milestone events:

  1. Assessment - the initial assessment uncovers skill gaps and training needs
  2. Training - training is provided to address skill gaps
  3. Certification - a post-training assessment ensures the training was successful

The goal for each participant is to earn their certification by the third milestone. In the event that they don't, they will repeat steps 2 & 3 until they attain certification.


Executive and senior management play an important role in communicating their support of:

  • The assessment and its overall objectives
  • The targeted training that follows assessment
  • The benefits that come from adhering to the Firm's defined best practices for document production
  • The importance and benefits of this initiative to the Firm's future

The program is introduced through a series of communications designed to garner support and mitigate concerns. Communication is tailored to each of the following groups:

  • Executive Team
  • Practice Group Leaders
  • Attorney non-document producers
  • Attorney document producers
  • Document producers such as Secretaries, Paralegals, Word Processors, and Help Desk

Assessments can be stressful especially for the participants. The assessment isn't something being done to document producers. Rather, it's something that is done for document producers to enhance their technical skills, contribute to their professional development, improve readiness to assist with work assignments across practice areas and create the opportunity for even higher levels of job satisfaction.


Investing in a culture of technology proficiency through a prescriptive training program supports business strategies such as increasing productivity and client service while reducing support calls to the Help Desk.

Click here to download this file as a PDF. More Reading: Overview, Tour