iText 7 Core with pdfCalligraph and pdfOCR: Enabling Cligal to save time for legal professionals
Learn how Cligal leverages the iText 7 Suite to automate routine tasks for legal document preparation.
Cligal is an Israeli company offering software that helps with preparing legal documents. The company’s solution is currently the leading legal software in Israel and is used by more than 9,000 lawyers in more than 1,500 law firms.
In 2018, Dor Goldiner started Cligal due to his frustration with the daily manual tasks he needed to do in preparing legal documents. He was working at a big law firm and found himself working long hours arranging, editing, printing, and numbering various appendices for a court pleading. When the partner he was working with decided that they had to remove one of the documents, he had to start all over again. That’s when he decided to develop a solution to make these routine tasks more efficient, so lawyers and legal firms could save time and focus on more substantial legal work.
The name Cligal comes from Click + Legal, and its desktop software prepares annexes and appendices (electronic bundles) for court. Cligal allows its users to digitally sign documents and check digital signatures, redact sensitive or confidential information within documents, manage and create e-binders for M&A transactions, and fill document templates and forms. On top of all that, it lets users create and edit PDF documents in a variety of ways; merging, splitting, compressing, reordering, numbering, editing, applying watermarks, and much more.
Cligal’s team includes former lawyers, developers, and UI experts. All of them are in frequent contact with clients, working together to make Cligal better, and constantly adding new features and upgrades.
The first version of Cligal’s software used another PDF library written in C# for .NET, explains Dor Goldiner, who is not only the founder but also the CEO of Cligal: “We used this library for about a year and a half. It helped me implement this first version of our software, but it had many problems. It caused crashes with Java-generated PDF documents, and handling big documents sometimes resulted in gibberish letters. Moreover, because of a memory leak in the PDF library, our software was unable to generate documents with more than 4,000 pages. This may sound like an extreme situation, but it’s actually quite common for lawyers to submit such large documents. We didn’t want to offer such an unstable product to our clients.”
Due to the instability of this PDF library, Cligal regularly had to manually assist clients who encountered issues like the memory leak. Added to that, the software wasn’t as fast as it should be. So, Dor began looking around for an alternative solution.
Finding a reliable and fast PDF library was easier said than done. “I evaluated numerous PDF libraries and SDKs, but they all had serious issues that I couldn’t live with,” Dor remembers. “Some were good at a specific task, such as converting Microsoft Office files to PDF, but didn’t offer the general solution needed by our software. But then I found a comprehensive, fast, and reliable solution in iText 7.”
Cligal is using the iText 7 .NET library in the C# programming language. They’re also using the pdfCalligraph add-on. “Many other PDF solutions don’t support right-to-left writing systems. Thanks to pdfCalligraph, we have fast and reliable rendering of Hebrew and Arabic in our documents,” Dor explains.
Another iText 7 Suite add-on they’re using is pdfOCR. This enables Cligal to convert scanned documents into PDF documents that you can search, process, and archive.
“I evaluated numerous PDF libraries and SDKs, but they all had serious issues that I couldn’t live with. But then I found a comprehensive, fast, and reliable solution in iText 7.”
Dor Goldiner, CEO, Cligal
How it works
pdfCalligraph is an iText add-on that unlocks advanced typographic features in PDF. It supports a wide range of languages and writing systems. It automatically detects the used writing systems. You can even display text in different languages in a single PDF document, including a mix of left-to-right and right-to-left scripts. pdfCalligraph handles complex interactions or special properties like kerning, ligatures, glyph substitutes and even text extraction for writing systems with compound characters.
The pdfOCR add-on provides a way to automate the OCR (optical character recognition) process and integrate it into document workflows. The API is simple to use and supports different OCR engines with little or no effort. It can process single images or a list of images at once, in BMP, PNM, PNG, JFIF, JPEG or TIFF formats. iText pdfOCR can also generate PDF/A-3u compliant files, the accepted standard for long-term archiving and preservation of PDF electronic documents.
Since beginning to work with iText 7 in 2020, Cligal has been very happy with the SDK: “iText solved many problems that I encountered on a monthly or even weekly basis when we were still using the previous PDF library,” Dor says. “The stability of the iText 7 SDK is the biggest advantage for us. It eliminated many critical issues that our clients were facing. As a result, I was able to reduce our dedicated support staff by 50%.”
“The stability of the iText 7 SDK is the biggest advantage for us. It eliminated many critical issues that our clients were facing. As a result, I was able to reduce our dedicated support staff by 50%.”
Dor Goldiner, CEO, Cligal
The use of iText also helped Cligal to add many new features to their software, which were unavailable due to lack of support in their previous PDF library. Dor gives examples like OCR, signing documents with digital certificates, and generating PDFs on the fly. “iText performs all of these tasks reliably.” says Dor.
Dor also found he was able to pick up developing with the iText 7 SDK very quickly: “I was up to speed in a few weeks. I was even able to implement some features in a matter of hours” he tells us. “The iText Knowledge Base has clear and detailed information and comes with tons of examples. There’s also quite a good community on Stack Overflow that helps developers. For instance, I was able to implement PDF document signing with digital certificates based on the examples I found on the Knowledge Base and on Stack Overflow.” He was also happy with the support that iText offers: “We just had to open issues on the Jira Service Desk, and these were always handled very responsively.”
Because of their positive experience with the iText 7 SDK, Cligal is also looking at implementing other iText 7 Suite functionality in their product. “As soon as iText pdfOffice to convert Microsoft Office files to PDF has a solution for C#, we’ll also migrate our current conversion solution to use this iText add-on.” Cligal is also evaluating the pdfOptimizer add-on to optimize the generated PDFs, reducing file processing time and storage costs.
In addition, Cligal is looking at implementing more advanced e-binder functionality in their software. “We’ll use the PDF portfolio feature for this, which iText wrote about on their blog. This is a very attractive solution for embedding files in a wide range of file types into a single PDF document”, Dor explains. Meanwhile, Cligal also became an official iText partner.
Cligal is a one-stop-shop for document automation tools for legal professionals. Their software automates the day-to-day routine tasks for the preparation of legal documents. Cligal is a tailor-made solution for the legal sector, suited to large law firms, sole practitioners, and government entities.
Cligal has been growing organically since 2018, relying on recommendations and customer-centricity to approach new markets.