These days, the business of law is all about collaboration. No longer can legal teams work in a bubble and assume clients are content with what is being done on their behalf. The world of jurisprudence has become more and more competitive of late, and businesses and individuals increasingly demand what they expect when they undertake legal proceedings.
The current turbulent times serve to prove that those leaders of legal teams who won’t embrace shifting demands, shape new organisational framework and align with new client values are not able to stay competitive anymore.
Full collaborative framework can create a harmonious and efficient legal working relationship to deliver expected value and compete in the new market.
Jeroen De Coninck (Advocatenkantoor De Coninck):
In 2020 we are further developing the interaction with clients, the collaboration within our law firm, and the way we follow up on the wellbeing of our collaborators by measuring hours worked.
As to our real estate contracting, we are entering a collaboration with Avokaado in order to make our contracts more accessible and flexible. As the framework will be settled, the real work can be devoted to specific questions within the contractual situation. We have already had a lot of positive feedback, because we are entering into a program to increase the quality of our contracts.
Increasingly, clients come to legal teams with an opinion already formed on how long certain tasks should take and what is the expected cost. It is important to be able to stand up to scrutiny on this, and to offer a new, more intuitive way for law firms and legal departments to interact with their stakeholders.
With Avokaado, it is possible to have a new kind of collaboration, packaging contracts in a choice of templates, and bringing for the client the chance to draft, negotiate, and sign documents in-platform. All aspects that usually take so much time and cause so much waiting, are now possible in one secure, cloud-based environment.
Knowledge consolidation and automated templates
Whatever the size of your legal team, you are as much in the business of people as of law. Team morale, staff retention, and efficient employee recruitment and onboarding are all helped tangibly by a clear collaborative framework. Effective knowledge-sharing platforms ensure that everyone from the intern to the senior partners can share in the best practice of the firm or team, and can add their input when it is requested. Everyone on the team can be sure they are working with the latest version of the company-wide templates and all legislation changes have been made throughout all the documents.
Templates, prepared by lawyers and suited to the specific role for which they are intended, ensure no time is wasted on menial tasks, and that legal documents can be built up in easily managed blocks. The risk of human error is also reduced greatly, because the available automated templates cover every eventuality, and can be checked by all relevant parties without being stuck in the kind of ‘version-control-by-email’ vortex that most of us have seen far too many times. Nobody needs to feel lost within the platform, because of tool-tips guiding the user through each automated clause, encouraging self-learning and cutting confusion.
Client satisfaction and collaboration
Staying connected is also aided by a joined-up approach, made easy by Avokaado’s cloud-based platform. Legal documents can take far longer than they need to when individual files are emailed from person-to-person. Our knowledge consolidation and collaboration environment makes it a breeze to see what progress has been made, and to track changes and what needs to be done.
Cloud storage combined with an easy-to-use, clear, interface is what enables clients and firms to work together on negotiations and on co-drafting in a collegiate atmosphere. People don’t enjoy looking for representation, and they don’t want to have to change firms again and again. One of the most common reasons for people choosing to try a different firm is a perception that a lawyer and their colleagues were not proactive enough in chasing up details needed for a successful case, and in attending to the needs and wishes of a client.
Using Avokaado collaboration environment law firms can make contracts more accessible and flexible for clients. By packaging contracts according to the different use cases, law firms can offer digital legal services for their clients. Clients can access the contracts 24/7, draft templates tailored for them by lawyer, negotiate and sign.
For in-company legal departments, collaboration is made just as simple, as contracts can be shared with other business units or external clients so that they can self-serve based on the pre-lawyered templates. Non-lawyers can confidently generate their own legal documents, negotiate them with lawyers if needed, and sign digitally.
Efficiency and workflow management
Avokaado also solves the age-old problem of how to communicate with clients often enough, and quickly enough, that they are satisfied. There is often a disparity between the amount of time it takes to perform a certain workflow, and the time in which a client expects to be contacted. It is often the case that a client may be anxious to hear details before they can be communicated.
For these moments, Avokaado offers notifications which can automatically alert the client when key milestones are reached, and when client attention is required. Contract automation should work both for the law firm and for the customer, and we make sure everyone is on the same page, both metaphorically and literally. Precious time can be wasted managing a relationship with a demanding client – Avokaado does this, so that you and your colleagues can stay focused on the case at hand.
For in-house company legal teams, workflow management means that it is easy to keep track of contracts, along with all matters requiring your attention, while also keeping colleagues and managers informed on progress as required. The dashboard ensures that all of your team can keep an overview of the status of a contract, while any negotiation that needs to be done can be done in the comments, in the way people are increasingly used to doing on programs such as Google Docs. This cuts down on time spent on emailing, and on phone and online video calls.
Avokaado also brings the power of a business task manager to the legal profession, with accurate timing, quick assignment of tasks, a fluid signing flow, and easy messaging all possible within the platform, for a legal team that is a well-oiled machine.
During these challenging times the value of a legal team comes down to its ability to be flexible and client-oriented: to be able to adjust remote collaboration within a team and external clients, organize processes to optimize internal efficiency, and serve clients’ needs through digital means.
Dainora Tverijone (former Head of Business Support @ Motieka & Audzevicius)
“The most important priority for us in 2020 is very clear – continuing to improve our client experience. It means analyzing every touchpoint of the client journey, identifying pain points and generating possible solutions.
This year, we plan to pursue a much more proactive approach in collecting customer feedback and involving them in the discussion. We believe that we need to form a habit to ask more and listen better in order to offer a more valuable and innovative service. Listening to our client expectations will allow us to update our roadmap accordingly.
At the moment we are working on delivering a better onboarding experience, offering document collaboration tools more often, and visiting clients in their workplaces to gain an in-depth view of their businesses.”
In the end, the success of a law firm or legal department is reliant entirely on the quality of the people working for it. That will be the ultimate decider of whether clients are satisfied with the job done or not. No professional can ever be better than the tools they are given, though, and muddled administration can lead to equally muddled thinking.
In order to gain the confidence of clients and of our colleagues, contract automation, and a collaborative management platform that can be used by people with any level of technical knowhow are a must.
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