Most firms and legal departments currently have no automated or scalable solution to perform document comparison and conversion on mobile devices. Current solutions for comparison and conversion are largely manual and inefficient: partners email associate attachments, who then must manually run the comparison on their PC to produce an output document. This is time consuming and especially burdensome after-hours and on weekends.
Solution: Macro Compare and Convert Email Tool
Macro’s automated solution will eliminate the need for a human lawyer to manually open desktop software and perform these document operations. By interfacing with email, a medium with which everyone is familiar, the solution is intuitive with zero barrier to entry.
Users interact with the service by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org along with and attached Word file for conversion to PDF.
Instead of using
@macro.com, the service can be white-labeled to
@[firmname].com for an additional fee, which covers the cost of our onboarding and maintenance services for the custom domain.
Each email address replies to the user with an attached output document. The email replies will also contain relevant instructions, including error handling for situations where the user input is incorrect (e.g. the user forgets to attach the original file, the file is of an unsupported format, etc.).
For comparison, the user will first send a base document, to which the service will auto-reply with instructions asking for a second document. Once the second document is received, the comparison will be executed and the output document will be sent back. The system will also include robust error handling and monitoring, including timeout conditions; notifications will be sent if an operation is not completed within a specified time bound.
In the interest of ironclad security, quick deployment, and ease of updating, we propose a dedicated (firm specific) infrastructure on AWS, which is jointly managed by the firm and Macro.
This environment is in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and is not shared between firms: firms receive their own audit logs and ephemeral document storage for logging purposes.
We believe this solution architecture is the best option to allow rapid development, minimal ongoing support costs, and a lower level of technical complication while maintaining security confidence from our law firm buyers.
Hosting the core comparison and conversion services
The comparison and conversion services are hosted in ECS Clusters to allow for auto scaling. All services are internally gated by a VPC to prevent unwanted access.
Interfacing with Email
Once authorized, sending an email to
email@example.com will take your attachments and process them.
If you choose to go with the custom domain solution for your firm, we connect to the firm email via AWS SES and supply you with the necessary DNS records in order to allow AWS SES to receive the emails for processing. AWS SES will only receive emails sent to pre-determined addresses (
Handoff from email to comparison/conversion service
Once both documents for comparison are received, a job is created and sent off to a queue to compare/convert the documents.
Returning the output document to the user
After a successful comparison or conversion, the user is emailed with the output file attached. The resulting file(s) are then deleted.
Error handling and monitoring
We have alarms surrounding our lambdas and services to provide us with real-time alerts in the event of a wide variety of errors, including a service outage or slowdown.
In the event that a comparison or conversion fails, the files in S3 are automatically deleted to ensure security and tie up loose ends.
The end-user is emailed in the event of a failure so they are not left in the dark.
All error logs contain non-sensitive information and are deleted after a determined time frame
Email Security Features
DMARC, SPF, and DKIM Integration
The solution incorporates Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) for both received and sent messages. For emails with the law firm's domain, the firm needs to add the appropriate DMARC, SPF, and DKIM records to their Domain Name System (DNS).
Bidirectional TLS Encryption
Bidirectional Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption is enforced for defined email domains. Notifications are sent if a failure occurs during the TLS handshake process.
Custom Email Routing
Firm-Specific Email Domain
The solution provides the ability to use a law firm-specific email domain for ease of use.
If you choose this option, we will interface with you regarding the necessary DNS records you will need to insert in order to allow us to setup the AWS SES email client and firm specific emails.
Data Retention Policies
Emails and attachment data are stored only temporarily, and they are deleted after processing is complete.
Lightweight, Short-Lived Logging
Logs are stored separately from other customers' logs and retained for a duration of 7 to 30 days, depending on the requirements. These logs are used for troubleshooting purposes.
Email notifications are sent to the sender for failed or timed out jobs. For example, if the user sends two documents to the compare service that are too different to be compared, or if the user sends a document to the converter from an unsupported format.