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From Pipes to Patterns: NetDocuments Drives Document Automation with Afterpattern Acquisition

November 3, 2021

On Feb. 7, 2007, Yahoo! released a delightfully prescient application that heralded the future of “no-code” automated work: Yahoo! Pipes. Pipes let you build applications that collected data from a variety of sources, remixed it, and then published it back to the web. What made Pipes special was the graphical user interface that made it easy for users to assemble actions and connect each step of the process, letting them build powerful applications without development expertise. And, of course, Pipes all happened in the web browser, meaning no special software or hardware was required.

The sheer versatility of Pipes fostered both creativity and previously impossible levels of automation. I remember building my first app in Pipes and being floored by the simplicity and power of this nascent technology. Although Pipes itself faded away inside the Yahoo! ecosystem, the idea of automation took off. Today, the legacy of Pipes is no-code tools like IFTTT, Zapier, and Microsoft Power Automate, which have become indispensable tools for both many personal and business needs. Legal tech innovators like Bryter, Tonkean, Mercanix, and Docminder have helped drive similar workflow automations into the often manual, inconsistent processes of law firms and legal departments.

And now, NetDocuments announces its acquisition of document automation platform Afterpattern. Evoking the creative and data-driven spirit of Yahoo! Pipes, Afterpattern lets legal teams easily create complex automations that result in the generation of legal documents needed to power their organizations. Whether you are a boutique real estate or intellectual property firm, inhouse generalist or BigLaw innovation officer – or practically anything in between – Afterpattern’s technology can produce exactly what you need – with the same speed, precision, and reliability that you expect from NetDocuments.

In a recent conversation, Afterpattern President Scott Kelly offered a great example: imagine you need to generate several closing documents for a parcel of land. Easy enough, right? How about several parcels, with some variability on what needs to be included for each parcel’s documentation? That’s a bit more work…But how about hundreds of parcels? Welcome to the single-click power of automation. Whether you need to produce two or two thousand documents, you can get the right deliverables every time.

We talked to dozens of customers recently about what they need. Consistently, they pointed to the requirement for repeatable outputs that let them run their legal operations at greater scale and higher efficiency than ever before. That’s how they win more business and ensure high-quality results for their clients.

But what stood out most in talking with customers is their desire for this document automation to be built right into the NetDocuments platform. It makes sense: NetDocuments is the largest cloud platform where legal professionals do work, and creating these documents is part of how lawyers do their work. So, bringing document automation directly to NetDocuments – where the matter, workspace templates, security access, tasks, and so much more are already present – makes it easier and faster to automate your future.

We’re so excited to bring Afterpattern’s technology to our customers and look forward to sharing more about the timing, integration, and more in early Q1 2022. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, sign up here for all the latest updates, or read the press release.

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