Top task management tools for Lawyers: Trello; Evernote and Asana

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Brian Schmidt is Chief of Staff, and former General Counsel at Trello, a visual collaboration tool that creates a shared perspective on projects. Schmidt says Trello “occupies the organizational space between blank canvas-type tools (e.g. a word doc) and a niche-specific, structure-enforcing project management tool (e.g. Salesforce)“. In his role, Shmidt uses the collaboration tool to make his contract review process less opaque in the 100-employee business (Trello has since been acquired by Atlassian but still is very much a standalone product).  Schmidt advises in-house counsel to create a Trello board showing clearly  at what stage contracts are at for approval, and create collaboration between lawyers and those who rely on the legal department.

Kristen Habacht, VP of Sales at Trello says there was a time when it was just her and Schmidt, going back and forth via email on contracts “I originally made the board so I could understand whether [Counsel] had a chance to review a contract I had sent over. And then as the team came in, we made a process where they could funnel through this board instead of always going through me,” Kristen explains.

Schmidt says: “If you were trying to get this all done by email, you would never have the whole picture because communications would be siloed between individuals, not shared across teams.Nobody would be able to get visibility into what the teams were working on.”

Trello is one example of a workflow, or task, management tool. These tools, along with names such as Evernote or Asana, give lawyers the ability to capture important information on-the-go and basic oversight into matters. The company has also just announced a mjaor desktop app upgrade gaining further adoration among its 17 million users, with TechCrunch noting that “Now, Trello users will get all of the usual features they know from the browser, with the added ability to get native desktop notifications and add cards from anywhere thanks to support for plenty of keyboard shortcuts.”

In the same category, Asana users can sign up to the workflow tool through their Google account. It allows teams to create tasks and subtasks and organize them into shared projects, lists, meeting agendas, and other initiatives, with views customizable by project or due date.

Catherine Reach, Director, Law Practice Management & Technology for the Chicago Bar Association, discussing the merits of Trello against Asana, comments: “The feature sets are roughly the same. However, the terminology and interface of Asana will be more comfortable for word-driven lawyers. Those who have worked in project-driven organizations or like a more-graphical interface will feel more comfortable in Trello.”

Meanwhile, Evernote is already used by nearly 25% of lawyers. It provides the ability to capture notes and recordings in a multitude of formats.  Evernote might contain your legal research files, management data, e-mail archive collection, case and matter information, documents, and tasks. Heidi Alexander,  Director of the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program, author of “Evernote as a Law Practice Tool says“If you are a lawyer you understand being constantly bombarded with competing demands from colleagues and staff, and parties. If you do not have a way to manage those demands and information, you will be in chaos.

” Every attorney uses (Evernote)for slightly different purposes – the most common uses are legal research, case management, productivity and time management.

“Legal research is the most common use by attorneys. You can use the web clipper to save case law from the internet  and then tag it with a case proposition, a fact pattern, jurisdiction and then when you later need that case all you need to do is search by tag. In contrast, when I was in practice we would print all of our cases annotate them at the top throw them in a folder and look through all these files.”

“The terminology and interface of Asana will be more comfortable for word-driven lawyers. Those who have worked in project-driven organizations or like a more-graphical interface will feel more comfortable in Trello”

– Catherine Reach,

In a (second) book about how lawyers use Evernote (Evernote for Lawyers) David Ward sums up the benefits of this technology for simple tasks: “You’ll finally be able to gain control of all of the information and paperwork in your life and organize and prioritize everything so you get the most important things done.”

This is an extract from The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide (a free publication). 

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today including more tools for contract drafting; contract review; digital signature; contract and matter management; contract due diligence; legal research; eDiscovery; Prediction technology; Intellectual Property; Expertise automation; eBilling; Legal analytics; simple task management; and Communications.

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Get the FREE Legal Technology Buyer’s Guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house LegalTech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

 

The joy (and challenges) of selling to Legal

Legal buying and selling at the ACC Mid Year Meeting

Legal buying and selling at the ACC Mid Year Meeting. Bottom Right: LawGeex’s message to Lawyers: Hire A Robot. Get Sh*t Done.

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Etai Rosen, VP of Sales at LawGeex

Having spent the past 12 years selling software solutions and building sales teams for successful tech companies, I’ve sold to some tough customers, and for the first time, I’ve started to sell to lawyers.

The legal profession has many leading innovators, pioneers even, and with any industry there are going to be those ahead of the pack. After only on my first six months here, I want to share my thoughts on the joys and challenges of selling to the profession, based on hundreds of conversations with lawyer-buyers. Maybe something I’ve learnt will help to spur this emerging and exciting market forward.

The Good 

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First the good news.

I passionately believe in technology that improves processes and brings organizational growth. Secondly, I think this entire space is fascinating because the in-house legal team is often the last department in the organization to adopt technology solutions.

I am convinced that’s going to change in the next few years. Lawyers are becoming more tech-driven. Partly this is because of the amount of work on lawyer’s plates and the ability of tech to automate some of the drudge work. One of the things I’ve heard a lot from lawyers is: “I didn’t go to law school to review standard agreements”. Because of the pain points being faced by lawyers, legal teams are very keen to speak to companies that can help them out.

Another great opportunity from a sales point of view is that lawyers also tend to be both intelligent and skeptical. This actually enables them to quickly understand the value of a product. They also ask some really tough questions. If you’re able to build a good case for your product they very soon become strong advocates (pun intended) compared to other industries I have encountered.

Now onto the challenges…

Challenge One: Legal is new to buying 

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Other departments have learned how to justify technology purchasing to the C-level over the past 20 years. These other departments are also skilled at building a business case and presenting how it will help them achieve their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

This is often a new reality for law departments.

Legal does not have the same legacy of efficient buying—and consequently does not enjoy the same technology budget as other departments. In my conversations, more than 80% of the Legal budget goes toward salaries and outside counsel. Sometimes there is no budget or process for buying technology at all.

Challenge 2: Is Legal from Mars and Business from Venus?

Despite the obvious benefits of reducing time and saving money, many lawyers do not ask questions that other buyers have asked me throughout my career. “What’s the Return on Investment? How will this streamline our operations? How much time will this save me? How much additional revenue would this generate for the company?”

Legal is often the only department in the organization that doesn’t have KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). I have yet to come across a single in-house counsel able to accurately tell me how many contracts they review per month or what their contract review turnaround time is. It is almost impossible for a business unit to improve their contract processes when they don’t measure their KPIs.

Challenge 3: Contract policies create legal risks 

Legal policies are not always defined or codified. I have no doubt that legal teams that spend a lot of time reviewing and red-lining agreements are very good at what they do. However, this can create a contract bottleneck and the business slows down because of it. Legal quite rightly can justify this process, as they are often the final line of defense for the company.

What ultimately happens though, is that after much frustration, commercial teams start signing agreements themselves. Alternatively, they might just stop sending contracts to legal entirely, leading to an even greater legal exposure. What ends up happening is the legal team’s focus on risk mitigation can actually lead to increased legal risk.

Challenge 4: Less fear of AI, than fear about accuracy

Despite over-hyped talk about lawyers losing their jobs to robots, the majority of lawyers I speak to are very interested in learning about exciting advances that will help them do their job more efficiently. They agree they shouldn’t spend as much time as they are reviewing the mundane contracts. However, their main fear isn’t robot lawyers; It is that AI isn’t as accurate as a human lawyer.

However, we believe that AI is not meant to be used as a standalone tool. The goal is to use AI plus humans (like an autopilot) with AI responding to the needs of the legal department in question. Together, they can ensure that contracts are reviewed much more accurately, and more consistently, than a human lawyer alone.

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We see this in the automotive industry. There is still a debate whether autonomous cars are better than human drivers. Mobileye, a company recently acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion, has developed an aid to driver alerting them to risk. Studies conducted by Mobileye and others, have proven that machine + humans reduce accidents significantly. Some countries are now requiring all cars manufactured to be equipped with accident reducing technology.

I believe the same change should, and will, occur in the legal field. As the market becomes more educated, regulators will understand that technology will improve how we audit legal agreements, and may eventually require all businesses to use some form of contract review automation.

The future of selling to legal

THE ONLY THING

We have had a significant number of clients who signed up soon after the first demo — one other good point of working with lawyers is once they agree to buy, they get their contracts back pretty quickly. But the challenges for buyers, and sellers, of legal services remain.

The vast majority of lawyers have yet to implement any legal technology. The majority (60%) of lawyers not using any automation tools at all.

At the same time, we are in the midst of a technology-fueled legal revolution and most lawyers are excited about the enormous opportunities available to them. Sales people are becoming better as we do more demos, and our product and engineering teams constantly improve our offering based on feedback from our clients (we just released a new version based entirely on the feedback of clients).

Lawyers are becoming better buyers, enjoying the experience of sales calls, where they can be open and honest about the challenges they face. We all benefit as the quality of the available technology improves, while automated solutions are slowly becoming more affordable than their alternatives.

Today’s leaders of legal technology adoption are those that recognize that business and legal aren’t unconnected entities with different goals – they’re the Earth and the Moon, and their gravitational pull affects the tides of change.

For a demo from Etai or one of our other (very nice) salespeople about LawGeex book a demo now.

If you are considering legal technology also check out The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide – a free, downloadable guide that showcases more than 100 must-know technology solutions which solve the daily challenges faced by in-house lawyer.

LawGeex 4.0 release sees next generation of AI contract review for businesses

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TEL AVIV, Israel, September 6 2017: LawGeex, the leading AI contract review platform for businesses, has today launched product enhancements that provide more control, speed and consistency than ever before.

LawGeex combines machine learning algorithms and text analytics to quickly review and approve everyday contracts, helping businesses answer the question “Can I sign this?”

The new features and significant design upgrade empower customers to have deeper and wider control of their AI-powered reviews, contract editing and approval process.

Main features of the latest release include:

More granular control when creating legal policies in the LawGeex Policy CenterThe introduction of specific variations of legal concepts allows businesses more granular control in clause concepts they want to see — and do not want to see — in contracts before signing them. Based on these pre-set policies, the LawGeex’s AI can automatically accept, red flag or reject clauses in incoming contracts. 

Policy Center Main new blog

Revamp of LawGeex’s Action Center — where the contract can be edited after the AI’s first line of defense. When reviewing a contract within LawGeex, customers can now clearly see which of their policies were applied to each clause and can red-line the contract within the platform, instantly inserting their company’s standard clause language with one click (LawGeex also provides default language). Users also have full visibility on their company’s clause definitions, fallback positions, tips, and more, during the editing process, bringing an unparalleled transparency and cohesiveness between a company’s policies and the actual contract review. The enhancements also include improved layout for LawGeex AI-reviewed contracts. Clauses are grouped simply by their status as “Missing” or “Present”, and reviewers are simply able to manually override the acceptance or rejection of clauses.

Lawgeex Action Center new blog

LawGeex’s SaaS platform and servers are now fully ISO/IEC-27001 certified, ensuring the highest enterprise levels of privacy and security.

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Michal Bell, Head of Product at LawGeex said: “This new generation of LawGeex is based on detailed feedback from our clients. LawGeex now offers the most simple and transparent contract approval ever. Businesses at a stroke, can enjoy fast, accurate and consistent contract review, putting an end to legal bottlenecks.

About LawGeex

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LawGeex (http://www.lawgeex.com ) is transforming legal operations using artificial intelligence, and helping businesses save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars reviewing and approving everyday contracts.

Founded in 2014 by international lawyer Noory Bechor and leading AI expert Ilan Admon, LawGeex enables businesses to automate their contract approval process, improving consistency, operational efficiency and getting business moving faster.

LawGeex combines machine learning algorithms, text analytics and the knowledge of expert lawyers to deliver in-depth contract reviews using the customer’s pre-defined legal policies. LawGeex removes the contract bottleneck, helping customers’ legal, procurement and operations teams focus on the big picture without getting lost in the paperwork.

For further details and to try out LawGeex 4.0 get in touch today.

Read more: Bringing Control, Accuracy and Simplicity to Legal automation

Bringing Control, Accuracy and Simplicity to Legal automation

Bringing Control, Accuracy and Simplicity to Legal automation

Michal Bell, LawGeex Head of Product, on the next generation of AI contract review helping reduce legal risk through consistency

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Legal knowledge tends to reside in lawyers’ heads, creating a dependency on lawyers sharing their know-how. AI is helping to distribute this knowledge simply, across an organization.

Ensuring legal consistency across an organization is one of the principles of LawGeex. Which is why today we are proud to announce the Launch of LawGeex 4.0. To see what’s in the release and get a demo for yourselves see here.

For the first time, a veteran GC who has been at a company for 30 years, a paralegal who has just joined, or a non-legal member, will have at their fingertips the same institutional knowledge needed to effectively review and approve everyday contracts before signing them. Anyone in an organization can now review contracts quickly and accurately, every time.

Our new LawGeex release provides granular variations on legal concepts. This allows businesses more control when pinpointing the legal concepts they want to approve—and do not want to approve—when LawGeex AI reviews their incoming contracts.

Take the example of a Limitation of liability clause (this limits the amount of exposure a company faces in the event a lawsuit is filed or another claim).

In-house lawyers can now go beyond merely saying whether they want contracts they sign to include a limitation of liability clause. They can outline for instance, what carve out from the cap on liability is permissible according to their company’s policy.  For example, acceptable carve-outs from the cap could be a breach of confidentiality or damages arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct.  A Customer can even specify the exact amount at which the damages should be capped—all simply and clearly.

Policy Center new LLP

The upshot is that the AI review can now follow customers’ granular legal guidelines. This results in more tailored and accurate contract review.

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In a second important strike for consistency, in-house lawyers can now plug in their company’s sample clause language and fallback positions to each legal concept reviewed by LawGeex. These business standards are then clearly visible next to each clause when editing the contract within the platform. This increases the speed and consistency of processes and language across everyday contract review, whether your teams are based in London, New York or Tokyo.

Freeing up time 

It is important to note that these enhancements follow significant feedback from our customers. They are excited about a future in which they spend less time reviewing everyday contracts.  Lawyers are smart people and do not enjoy doing robotic legal work. Reviewing NDAs is not what anyone went to law school for. Most of our in-house counsel and procurement customers are quite direct when speaking to us that they just want burdensome processes and simple contracts off their plates completely.

Preventing contract time bomb risks 

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More than this, many contract managers and in-house lawyers told us during consultation, that they have been burnt by ineffective contract review. They simply no longer see manual routines, and reinventing of wheels, as fit for purpose. In one case, a client came to us after a (fairly obvious) contract risk was not spotted ahead of signing, leading to a costly lawsuit.

Even those who have not suffered direct cost damages, all face pressure from sales and procurement teams to turnaround contracts faster. In some cases, there has been additional frustration from both legal teams and those reliant on legal, that the same contracts seem to be reviewed and interpreted any number of ways. It is often impossible to explain why this should be the case.

The new LawGeex 4.0 and its extreme level of granularity and added control is going to help any contract manager or lawyer who has faced these situations — and help prevent such future risks arising.

Simple, clean design 

In the redesign, we also wanted lawyers and contract reviewers to have a clean, professional interface that follows closely the software and workflows they are used to. Lawyers have a lot of work and volumes are only growing, so making technology understandable and super simple is at the core of our product.

Security is the priority 

Finally, there is nothing more important than security when it comes to sensitive contract information. We are pleased to announce that LawGeex’s SaaS platform and servers are now fully ISO/IEC-27001 certified, ensuring the highest levels of privacy and security.

I look forward to sharing many more updates as we continue to bring technology that helps businesses reduce mundane paperwork and focus on more strategic tasks.

We value every piece of feedback and would love you to get in touch with us to suggest further improvements and enhancements. Please get in touch at hello@lawgeex.com

Michal Bell, is Head of Products at LawGeex, responsible for the company’s product strategy and roadmap. 

Michal has extensive experience in managing market-leading products from initial inception to maturity. She is passionate about delivering productive and innovative solutions that provide long-lasting value.

 

For further details and a demo of the new-look LawGeex get in touch today

6 communications tools Lawyers need to know

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In this brave new world, lawyers should not forget about one of the more basic and cheap, but extremely effective, ways to instantly save time and money, work smarter and faster.

Better communication and collaboration could be as simple as investing in quality Video Conferencing software to better communicate with clients and out-of-office colleagues, or allowing remote access to email inboxes and computer desktops. Thanks to cheap bandwidth and a wide selection of video conferencing services, trying to coordinate meetings in various geographic locations and interacting with remote workers is no longer the logistical and technical challenge it used to be. IT departments often have preferred solutions and this may be the first place to ask about available options. Here are six major communications tools that are transforming the daily working of lawyers.

1. Citrix GoToMeeting

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Citrix GoToMeeting (which begins at $19 per month) is one of the best-known video conferencing services. Citrix offers three versions: Starter, Pro, and Plus. Starter (which begins at $19 per month) supports up to 10 participants.

2. Cisco WebEx

www.webex.com cost: Free

Cisco WebEx allows users to record the meetings video, audio, and on-screen displays, mute and unmute participants, switch hosts with ease, share files, share screens, share applications. The free service allows meetings with up to two other people, while plans begin at $19 a month.

3. UberConference

www.uberconference.com cost: Free

UberConference gives you an easy, powerful, and pain-free way to schedule and run audio conferences, all without requiring annoying PINs. UberConference is free for unlimited calls. It also offers a Business version for $10 a month giving you your own local number for outbound calling to participants, recurring conferences, international dial-ins and more. CEO Craig Walker sets out some of the main selling points for lawyers. “These are private, important issues you’re dealing with. You need to know who is on the call, and whether they belong there.” Once you have the right people on the call, just hit the lock icon and nobody else can join your conversation. Features include record keeping of how long the call lasted to track legal costs.

“These are private, important issues you’re dealing with. You need to know who is on the call, and whether they belong there.” – Craig Walker, UberConference 

 

4. Slack

www.slack.com cost: Free

Slack allows you to build a team site and put all of your team communications in one place (called “channels”). You can utilize real time messaging and file sharing, one-to-one messaging for private conversations, and you can search all of the information in your Slack project channel, including documents and conversation threads. You can download the mobile app or a desktop version (or both). You can create channels for teams or for specific projects. Slack allows you to drag and drop all of your files, images, PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets and share them. You can even invite people from outside the company to join a project—be sure to label privileged communications and documents.

5. Skype

www.skype.com cost: Free

Skype needs no introduction, having become an indispensable technology for modern lawyers. There are two versions for online videoconferencing: the free, consumer version most of us know, and Skype for Business. This latter version is ideal if you want to have very large meetings (the standard Skype client is limited to 25, while Skype for Business raises this to 250); it also allows a sophisticated conference room setup. The paid-for version costs $5.50/month for the service. It adds high-definition video to group conferences, the ability to join meetings from a web browser (including anonymous connections), desktop sharing and remote control, Outlook schedule integration, and the ability to record meetings.

6. Legaler

www. home.legaler.com cost: Free

Sydney-based Legaler described as “Skype and Slack for Lawyers” is specifically designed for the legal profession, making online meetings simple and secure with end-to-end encryption for video calls, messaging, file sharing (allowing online sharing of documents and edits), and screen sharing, giving you the freedom to work from anywhere, on any device. Legaler helps you keep all your important meeting details in one place by automatically archiving your meeting notes, duration, recordings, agendas, messages, and files by matter.

This is an extract from The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide (a free publication). 

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today including more tools for contract drafting; contract review; digital signature; contract and matter management; contract due diligence; legal research; eDiscovery; Prediction technology; Intellectual Property; Expertise automation; eBilling; Legal analytics; simple task management; and Communications.

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Get the FREE Legal Technology Buyer’s Guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house legaltech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

Tales of LegalTech Adoption: Roberto Facundus at Tongal

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In a new series of monthly interviews, LawGeex speaks to top In-House Counsel adopting legal technology to enhance productivity. Here, we speak to Roberto Facundus, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer at Tongal.

Roberto Facundus

Roberto Facundus, is the General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer at Tongal, Inc. headquartered in Santa Monica, CA and is an adjunct professor of law at Tulane University.

How is Tongal’s in-house team organized? Size and reporting function?

On the legal side, just me and one super lawyer.  I report to the CEO and serve the Board of Directors as Corporate Secretary.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an in-house team? 

The biggest challenge is keeping up with where we are headed from a product innovation and customer demand perspective.  Anticipating the challenges that may arise from innovation requires a constant effort from many stakeholders and plenty of communication. Challenges exist in coordinating with teams that are not yet aware of the new changes or the impact of those changes will have on their role. We also have a somewhat unique situation in that we have to consider the impact of all decisions from the perspective our clients, the Company, AND our creative community. Our creative community is the lifeblood of our organization so we always have to keep their interests in mind.

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Founded in 2009, Tongal connects businesses in need of creative work with an online community of writers, directors, and production companies. The biggest legal challenge is keeping up with where the fast-paced business is heading.

Which LegalTech do you use?

We use DocuSign, AdobeSign, and Hello Sign for signatures and are generally open to any other types of electronic signature technologies. We also encourage our clients, partners, and community to use these tools. We use Salesforce for contract workflows, internal collaboration, tracking of contract terms, renewals management, and sharing. Having previously worked at Salesforce, as the Global Compliance Attorney, I became fairly familiar the functionality of the platform that goes beyond merely tracking and reporting sales.

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Salesforce enables tracking contract renewals, to ensure swift renewal or notification of pending contract expiration.

The business was already using Salesforce on the sales side so we only had to implement a few additional features through the Salesforce API and educate our employees on usage to capture additional data that is helpful in running the legal and operations side of the business.  Overall, we’re probably not at the upper end of LegalTech users though we are certainly open to learning about and utilizing more technologies.

What problems and pain points were you trying to solve with tech adoption?

Getting work done more effectively, saving time, and reducing costs.

How did you begin the process of thinking about efficiency/ your buying journey?

I think there are a few questions to consider. Will this technology make me better at my job?  Does this technology integrate into my existing working process?  Will it be easy to use?  Will it be easily adopted?

I don’t want another login so single sign-on or no sign-on features are a plus. I don’t want to sit through another long training session or ask someone else to sit through a long training session, so an intuitive UI is important.

What results have you seen through the adoption of LegalTech?

Increased information flow, increased efficiency, and increased visibility.  LegalTech is another tool to help anticipate problems and limit the potential negative impact on the business.  Tech has helped reduce the need for extra hires and to keep outside counsel fees to a minimum.

What processes or improvements are you looking to enhance using tech in the future?

Automating review of certain documents. In particular for Tongal, reviewing release, publicity rights, and licensing forms. In the future, I think technology can be used to negotiate contracts with simple terms. I definitely see a day when there is a negotiation using AI alone. I speak to the other side probably 50% of the time as we often just exchange a few rounds of red lines via email before reaching an agreement.  Looking at the other uses of AI, I don’t think we’re far away from this type of application. And let’s face it, lawyers are a pain in the ass, so any technology that reduces time having to interact with another lawyer is probably worth consideration.

And let’s face it, lawyers are a pain in the ass, so any technology that reduces time having to interact with another lawyer is probably worth consideration. 

What is the main advice you would give any in-house counsel about the challenges/ opportunities or obstacles in a legal tech buying journey?

Firstly, you have to follow trends at the risk of being left behind. I recognize that there will be many things created that are not relevant or helpful, but one out of 100 might be worth knowing about.  This doesn’t mean you have to be an early adopter, but you should at least be an early observer.  I think you’re doing a disservice to you and your company if you are not paying attention. Secondly, will you actually use the technology or is the setup and integration too complicated?  Just because something may initially seem cool, you should think about how you will be able to integrate it into your work process and whether it will really make you better at your job.  And I don’t mean can you delegate integration of the technology to someone on your team or the IT department. I mean can you, yourself, integrate and work with the technology. If you can’t get your hands digitally dirty and do it yourself, then it’s not a technology worth pursuing.

Did the adoption of tech in your case mean a reduction in staff?

No. We’ve managed to keep the same levels, though I anticipate increasing both staff and tech adoption as the company grows.

Should lawyers be worried about automation or rise of technology?

Yes and no.  Yes, because cybersecurity is such a hot topic from so many perspectives – regulatory, information security, privacy, etc.  All of these have a commercial impact.  Lawyers should be worried about the impact of technology, but as with any risk, it must be measured.  Each business is different.  Just because you see a large company get hacked resulting in the disclosure of millions of pieces of customer data, it doesn’t mean you have to suddenly allocate 75% of your budget towards protecting against cyber security breaches if your company doesn’t store any customer data.  Like any legal analysis, you have to assess your risk.

No, lawyers shouldn’t be worried because ultimately, technology is there to help you and make you more efficient and give you access to more information. While technology shouldn’t be followed blindly, it’s not going anywhere so you might as well embrace it at the risk of becoming obsolete yourself.

Is today’s tech age, a better or worse time to be an in-house counsel?

Of course I think it’s better.  It is certainly a benefit that we have more tools at our disposal than ever before.  That said, LegalTech is still relatively nascent so we need people to innovate, experiment, and try new technologies that will make us better as a profession.

Roberto is among the top in-house counsel featured in The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide.

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today including more tools for contract drafting; contract review; digital signature; contract and matter management; contract due diligence; legal research; eDiscovery; Prediction technology; Intellectual Property; Expertise automation; eBilling; Legal analytics; simple task management; and Communications.

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Get the FREE Legal Technology Buyer’s Guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house legaltech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

Legal winter is coming. Will you leave the wall?

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There is a wall that lawyers have hidden behind for decades, in the face of radical change to other industries. We have seen these walls crumbling in neighboring ancient kingdoms, such as finance or insurance . But in the legal profession, the wall, representing doing what has always been done, remains solid.

The Watchers On The Legal Wall

The reason for lawyers’ resistance comes from the watchers on the legal wall. This guard has relied  on things staying the way they are now (as they have for centuries). Behind the wall, their technological lives have not changed: lawyers are still using pens, paper, printers and faxes to do their legal work. Microsoft has even claimed that lawyers spend 90% of their day in Outlook and Word.

Microsoft research

Legal innovators are speaking up against the wall-watchers.  In the words of Netapp General Counsel Matt Fawcett: “We were the last industry to provide employees with cell phones. In 1999, I remember getting frustrated with a firm and saying, ‘Our copier repair man carries a cell phone – why not my high- priced lawyers?’ Even today, many “old school” partners still take pride in not being reachable and having their secretaries (yes, their ‘secretaries’) print their emails.”

David Burgess (editor of the Legal500 ) comments that: “A senior partner told me, to be honest, I don’t really understand all this, so I’ll focus on what I know“. Or “My law firm won an innovative award. The next day I rang it up to ask what new tech it was using. I was told – we don’t have anything, just a really good bid manager for the awards“.

The fortress mentality leads to regular slides at legal conferences and events (such as below, at Codex’s Future of Law) pointing to law as a paradigm of resistance (“The traditional law practice business model constrains innovation”, and “the legal profession’s resistance to chance hinders additional innovation”).

But legal winter is coming

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But winter is coming and there will be a distinction between those shaping the future and those managing the fortress. Consulting firm McKinsey shows 69% of time is potentially automatable for paralegals and 23% of time is automatable for lawyers.

In the shift to this new world, the  division between the innovators and wall-watchers will only become more stark.

The Iron Throne of Legal Innovation

Heralding a new dawn, however, we are seeing a new battle for innovation.This is being led by a new breed of lawyers, ripping up old ways of doing things simply based on the past.

One front of the battle to innovation is greater collaboration and sharing of legal and technological know how (as Jaime Lannister says: “we need allies. Stronger better allies. We cannot win this war alone”).

A second plank of the battle is a legal technological arms race. Companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Google and others are  overhauling their legal departments through innovation. JP Morgan has automated contracts it apparently took lawyers 360,000 hours to achieve. LawGeex provides One Hour Contract Approval through Artificial Intelligence, compared to the weeks it takes within most organizations. Other technology is being taken advantage of by legal teams, including legal research, to IP, to prediction technology (more than 100 legaltech providers are analyzed in our free In-House Counsels LegalTech Buyers Guide).

Thirdly, both the ACC and Corporate Legal Operations Institute (CLOC) have focused on  Legal Operations. 26% of general counsel delegated legal operations to an ops team or department, up from 16% last year. More than 1000 professionals in Las Vegas attended the Corporate Legal Operations Institute (CLOC) institute, vowing to smash down the wall of resistance.

In her closing address Mary Shen O’Carroll, Head of Legal Operations at Google, and head of CLOC : “It turned out that mindset, which felt so entrenched, could be changed. There’s a wall there and once you push on it, you can break through. And once broken, there’s no turning back. You realize those walls are paper thin and no one is trying to put them back up.”

Surviving the winter: moving from watchers to doers

Surviving the winter will mean leaving the wall and keeping fear at bay. In the words of Sterling Miller, former General Counsel of Travelocity and Sabre Corporation: “To  be a successful in-house lawyer or general counsel you need to embrace technology and make sure your team does as well.  So, if you are afraid of technology, you need to get past that.”

It is taking a new legal game plan to shift fear to strength. In the words of Arya Stark: “Fear Cuts Deeper than Swords“.

Or according to legal innovators, the path to the throne  of innovation will be building bridges with technology rather than protecting walls.

For more information or a LawGeex demo Get In Touch.

Jonathan Marciano, Communications Director at LawGeex, is  originally from London. He is  currently in Tel Aviv, helping to bring about the legal revolution. Follow him on Twitter. @J_Marciano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Best Players in Contract Drafting

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Contract drafting tools can cut hours of time in a legal department.  If you have not started using contract drafting automation you may be missing out. For the writing of an initial contract, drafting tools are already well understood, and used by more than half of lawyers, who report a 92% satisfaction level with this relatively basic software which has been around for nearly two decades.

The programs tend to offer questionnaire-style document generation with lawyers able to review and finalize the draft. The software helps legal departments cut hours through creating routine and high-volume contracts.

Here are 5 of the best contract drafting tools relied upon by Legal Departments.

  1. Contract Express

Contract Express allows GCs to accurately automate and update their legal templates. The contracts are generated by filling out web-based forms—also called ”questionnaires.” The software allows lawyers to automate templates inside Microsoft Word by using markups. Seth Weissman VP and GC of SolarCity: “Sales can create a contract at one in the morning, one in the afternoon or on a weekend, whenever they want. You don’t have to go through my department, and we will never slow you down.”

  1. Concord

Concord standardizes templates which can be easily created, stored on the cloud, and distributed among team members. This not only saves time but keeps contracts uniform.“Concord is great for solos and teams,” says Mary Redzic who has worked both as a Solo Practitioner and as an in-House Counsel. “You can save templates, and auto populate fields. It’s affordable and really easy to use. They have great cues on how to use their features and they’re really helpful and responsive when you need help.”

  1. HotDocs

HotDocs allows companies to transform frequently used documents and forms into intelligent templates that, in their words, enables “super-fast production of custom documentation.” Clients include HSBC Singapore who use it to generate facility letters for its corporate customers.

  1. MerusCase

MerusCase allows in-house teams to prepare templates, auto populate them, and mail them directly for review.

  1. Contract Advisor

The Association of Corporate Counsel’s Contract Advisor provides templates and a contract drafting tool, described by one in-house counsel as “really useful for quick drafting.” It requires an ACC membership, but this nevertheless represents a great resource for 30,000 corporate counsel members from all around the world.

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today including more tools for contract drafting; contract review; digital signature; contract and matter management; contract due diligence; legal research; eDiscovery; Prediction technology; Intellectual Property; Expertise automation; eBilling; Legal analytics; simple task management; and Communications.

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Get the FREE Legal Technology Buyer’s Guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house legaltech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

There is one danger threatening LegalTech’s future. But here is the antidote

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On nearly every measure, legal technology appears to be thriving.

This sector is now a $16 billion industry in the U.S.  There are 715 legalTech startups. These companies secured a record $155 million across 67 deals in 2016. The figures for 2017 could easily beat this (with large investments for Justin Kan’s Atrium LTS, HelloSign, SimpleLegal Casetext, and LawGeex, among others). Major companies have undergone legalTech transformation including Microsoft, JP Morgan, and IBM.

Despite all this positive transformation, there is one major danger threatening LegalTech’s future. This threat is more deadly to a company like LawGeex than all of the 715 legalTech startups combined.

Status Quo or the fear of Change

In the words of Noory Bechor CEO of LawGeex: “Our biggest competitor is the Status Quo”.  In law, the status quo, based on “skepticism” and “precedent” is hardwired.  The problem begins from law schools which encourages fear of failure . Then the the U.S legal system, rests on guidance from previous case law and precedent, discouraging risk-taking.

For commentators it is often a race to the past to explain how little innovation law has seen. Professor Paul Maharg Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School talks about “graduate assessment regimes which wouldn’t look out of place in the 1870s.” Kingsley Martin, talking about contract creation, says: “The scribes that first drafted precedents in 1392 at the Worshipful Society of Scriveners would recognize the contemporary practice of marking up the last, closest draft to the needs of the current transaction, albeit with a keyboard and not a quill”.

The status quo manifests in the struggle over technology. Research shows 75% of law firms, for instance, spend somewhere between 0 and 4% of their total revenue on technology, compared to 5.2% for the average U.S company.

The Solution: Collaboration 

The fastest path to change, legal innovators have worked out, is collaboration. This antidote to the status quo is counter-intuitive to the lawyer mindset, which tends to resist giving away hard won information. But somehow, collaboration is taking hold at the top levels of the profession.

Mary O’ Carroll, Head of Legal Operations at Google, set out the mindset of being protective of knowledge, rather than collaborative, in her closing speech at the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, (CLOC) in Las Vegas:  “When I first joined the informal gatherings of Operations leaders, I’ll admit that I was much more there to learn than I was to share.  I didn’t see any reason why I should give away my secrets.

“One of the earlier things we started talking about was standard engagement letters and billing guidelines.  Well, I have a very good set of law firm billing guidelines.  Why? Because it went through rounds and rounds of edits and opinions and research and buy in… and these crazy people wanted me to just share the final set with others? You’re out of your mind!”

Clock is ticking for Collaboration

CLOC has come to embody the collaboration principle as a means to shake up the status quo. Its leaders, from top companies, including LinkedIn, eBay, Starbucks and NetApp, could justifiably guard their legal know-how. Yet the movement says moving from the status quo will only come after intense collaboration on best practices and processes. Rather than being built on a fluffy sense of community, O’ Carroll describes collaboration as firmly in the camp of “self-interest”.

Please do not reinvent the wheel

Carroll says the slow-moving profession has to learn from each others hard won successes (and failures) and in double quick time to catch up with other industries.”Now, I don’t have time for you to suffer through that… So please… have my guidelines, put them in place asap” says Carroll. “Let me know when you’re ready for the next thing and hopefully someone has something you can leverage.  Please do not recreate the wheel.” She adds: “It’s the only way we’ll make progress as a group and profession. It’s good for all of us.”

Different legal values coming together 

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The collaboration net includes everyone wanting to move away from the status quo, including innovative vendors, law schools, firms, engineers, paralegals, and communicators. Sellers of top legal technology are also uniting to help change attitudes and drive change in the profession, demonstrating through reiteration that everyday pains for lawyers can now be eased, from contract review, to analytics, to sharing institutional knowledge through expertise automation, or having better contract due diligence, eDiscovery and billing processes. LegalTech providers share around each other’s content that reiterates a message of change. LawGeex’s In-House Guide to Legal Tech for instance was shared by dozens of companies in the legal profession.

Come as competitors, leave as collaborators

Alison Kay, Gobal Vice Chair of Industry at EY, argues that the rapid pace of change across industries means collaboration is “the future” of business. Kay says: “These are exciting and unsettling times – times in which industries themselves are being redefined. This means looking for answers in ways and places that we haven’t before. To succeed, we need to look beyond current industries and silos to broaden our thinking and relationships to embrace collaboration – whether through partnerships, alliances, networks or ecosystems.”

Other collaborations will grow out of necessity. Professor Richard Susskind in his book, Tomorrow’s Lawyers, points to a future when legal departments at financial institutions will share legal workloads. This will be driven by the need they collectively face to meet multiple (similar) compliance challenges,

In-House lawyers are turning to legal technology to foster better collaboration with other departments, fueling smarter legal processes in companies.

CLOC has found that collaboration is striking a chord as many lawyers become frustrated at inefficient processes. By way of example, some 1000 legal leaders attended CLOC’s event in 2017. The institute predicts the attendees will more than double to 2500 in 2018.

Carroll told the Institute that everyone needs to be on board for real change to occur.  “I need everyone to be passionate and ready to transform the future of the legal services delivery model”, says.

“If only a handful of legal departments are ready to automate internal workflows and the rest are still tracking things on spreadsheets… or even post-its(!), then we’re not going to get very far.”

For more information or a LawGeex demo Get In Touch.

Jonathan Marciano, Communications Director at LawGeex, is  originally from London. He is  currently in Tel Aviv, helping to bring about the legal revolution, one press release at a time. Follow him on Twitter. @J_Marciano

 

 

 

 

 

Salesforce praises new legal technology in eliminating sales bottlenecks

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Technologies that eliminate legal bottlenecks will play a significant part in closing deals faster and driving business growth at top companies, according to a Salesforce executive.

Robin Fisher, area vice president of Salesforce Europe and the Middle East, discussed the success of legal technology companies which are integrating with the $272billion Salesforce ecosystem.

Presenting at Salesforce Essentials Tel-Aviv conference (Monday 12 June), Fisher introduced the contract review automation platform, LawGeex, and its CEO Noory Bechor, as an example of a new breed of legal technology providers changing the way business is done for Salesforce’s 150,000 customers.

 “Once the deal is agreed the biggest challenge is then getting the paperwork through, especially when a company has finite legal resources”, Robin Fisher, Salesforce

Fisher said: “Once the deal is agreed the biggest challenge is then getting the paperwork through, especially when a company has finite legal resources.

“LawGeex helps lawyers focus on what is important, and provides an amazing opportunity for our customers. It represents a fundamental shift in aligning sales and legal around the same value of closing deals faster.”

(L-R) Robin Fisher, VP Sales EMEA, Salesforce;  Shif Arad, VP Proucts and Innovation Partners at CloudTech; Bar Israeli, Regional ISV Salesforce; Noory Bechor, CEO, LawGeex; Ori Yankelev, VP Sale, OwnBakup

 

LawGeex’s empowers salespeople to upload contracts using Salesforce and have them approved based on an organization’s legal criteria. Users are also able to access LawGeex reports within the platform.

Noory Bechor, Founder and CEO, LawGeex, said: “Sales teams are dependent on legal to review and approve contracts before the deal can move forward. This process sometimes takes days, weeks or even months, and sometimes deals just don’t close. With the LawGeex Salesforce app, companies can now automate the review and approval of contracts, without having to leave Salesforce.”

Salesforce the global leader in CRM and sixth biggest software companies in the world, was built to serve companies who are looking to optimize their sales processes. It’s AppExchange currently has more than 2,800 apps and includes LawGeex among a number of these apps, joining companies such as Apttus, DocuSign and SpringCM.

For a Review of Salesforce’s application for lawyers and more than 100 legaltech solutions check out The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide 2017.

About LawGeex

LawGeex (www.lawgeex.com) is transforming legal operations using artificial intelligence, and helping businesses save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars reviewing and approving everyday contracts. Founded in 2014 by international lawyer Noory Bechor and leading AI expert Ilan Admon, LawGeex enables businesses to automate their contract approval process, improving consistency, operational efficiency and getting business moving faster. LawGeex combines machine learning algorithms, text analytics and the knowledge of expert lawyers to deliver in-depth contract reviews using the legal team’s pre-defined criteria. LawGeex removes the legal bottleneck, helping customers and their legal teams focus on the big picture without getting lost in the paperwork.

For more information, please visit http://www.lawgeex.com or tweet us @lawgeex_.