Customer stories

Cockroach Labs playbook for preparing their legal department for growth

With LawVu we can scale, and that’s going to help us in very significant ways as volume continues to increase.”
Dan Hegwood, General Counsel at Cockroach Labs
  • New York
  • 3 - 5 person legal team
  • Tech
  • Matters
  • Contracts
  • Contract Automation
What you'll learn
The importance of implementing legal operations through a robust change management strategy with stakeholder buy-in
How you can increase your teams productivity through automation and save three days per lawyer on creating NDAs
The benefits of managing legal work in a one single system and leveraging integrations to improve collaboration across departments

The background:

Adopting technology early is a game-changer as organizations look to scale their in-house legal function. Getting ahead of an increased volume and complexity of work mitigates the risk of fragmented processes, convoluted email threads, and a lack of transparency into workload, which can ultimately have a negative impact on efficient communication and collaboration across departments.

The Cockroach Labs in-house legal function is a model example of a team who has set themselves up for success to meet the growth targets of their wider business – which operates in the competitive landscape of distributed database management technology.

In this playbook, the team details the three steps they took to operationalize their in-house legal function.  In turn, this has empowered them to evolve into even stronger partners for the business and provide a service that is data-driven and focused on producing quality over quantity.

“It’s been about striking the right balance for the organization between risk and accomplishing the important tasks that we need to do as a business to succeed,” says Daniel Hegwood, General Counsel at Cockroach Labs.

The challenge:

It was quite simple for the in-house legal team, as the business expanded and operations grew, relying solely on email became a barrier for achieving maximum efficiency and productivity.

“Staying organized via email was challenging, and dealing with email threads became cumbersome and frustrating. These features of email are the things you don’t really think about being that significant, but it does actually make a difference once you’re managing six or seven matters at a time,” explains Adam Becker, Director of Legal Operations at Cockroach Labs.

So, even as the company continued to grow, the team recognized the need to act swiftly and implement a system capable of supporting its ambitious 10X scaling goals.  In order to act fast, the team gained the buy-in of the wider organization to select and implement a new software. It was important to Becker that he and the team demonstrated what was in it for all stakeholders, ensuring that they painted a bigger picture of how the wider organization would benefit from it.

How Cockroach Labs ran this play

Step 1: Implementing a robust change management strategy

In a noisy sea of options for in-house legal tech, Becker prioritized finding a company that matched Cockroach Labs’ own values. “We were looking at companies like LawVu which understood where we were as a company in terms of our growth.”

With this, the team wanted a solution that was quick to implement. “Our LawVu implementation manager actually made me use the product to do the implementation – which was pretty clever on their part as it made the process quick.

 

“Our LawVu implementation manager actually made me use the product to do the implementation - which was pretty clever on their part as it made the process quick. We launched LawVu six weeks after buying it.

Adam Becker
Director of Legal Operations - Cockroach Labs

 

Once the LawVu system was set up for the legal team, adoption from the wider business was the next step in the process of rolling it out. During the discovery phase, Hegwood’s top concern was that implementing a technology system would create a friction point for the business in working with legal. But instead he was pleasantly surprised by the positive response, the result of Becker bringing the whole company along, gaining their buy-in from the get-go.

“It underscores the significance and benefits of initiating scalable channels of engagement with the legal department from the outset. By establishing clear communication protocols early on, we prevent the formation of a cultural expectation that could pose challenges as the company continues to grow exponentially. Ensuring streamlined communication processes now sets the foundation for sustainable growth in the future.”

“With LawVu we can scale, and that’s going to help us in very significant ways as volume continues to increase.” says Hegwood.

Ruchi Shah, Senior Associate General Counsel at Cockroach Labs, believes that a healthy amount of friction was created during the process. “LawVu really legitimizes the legal team’s function; it forces the requester to structure their request, which has resulted in a much more thoughtful engagement process between the business and us.”

 

“LawVu really legitimizes the legal team’s function; it forces the requester to structure their request, which has resulted in a much more thoughtful engagement process between the business and us.

Ruchi Shah
Senior Associate General Counsel - Cockroach Labs

 

The LawVu business portal function provides a simple and easy-to-use front door to legal. “Now, the only times requests are difficult is when we go outside of the process and we’re not using LawVu as the communication point. So, it does require a team that is bought in – and this team is really bought in,” says Hegwood.

Step 2: Centralizing all data into a single source of truth

“I am really grateful for LawVu making the invisible visible” – Ruchi Shah

Not only is there now one place for the business to interact with legal, but for the legal team itself all of their work is managed and stored in one system. LawVu is a single source of truth for the department to reference on a daily basis. “The ability to search in there with no effort is great. I search for one word and I can see, for example, that a matter was created in April, and it was completed in three days and who did it,” says Becker.

The system also provides a knowledge hub for the team. “I still get substantive questions over Slack or email that I put into LawVu. I do this to keep track of my work, and it’s also super-helpful for our planning purposes to have visibility and transparency into the volume of requests and the nature of them,” says Shah.

The transparency and visibility across the department’s workload benefits the team, especially when someone takes time off. “With everything now in the one discoverable system, another member of the team is easily able to cover for them, which saves an immense amount of time and reduces risk,” says Hegwood.

“We’ve been pleased with the level of responsiveness and attention to detail we’ve experienced since implementing LawVu. Our team feels confident that all requested work is being effectively managed.”

Step 3: Automating the high-volume low-value repetitive work

With LawVu now in place and optimized across the department, the team is already seeing time savings.

One area the team initially focused on was automating some of the low-value repetitive work. Becker has made it accessible and easy for the wider business to generate their own NDAs using the LawVu business portal functionality.

“Now that everybody does their own NDAs using LawVu, we know how many NDAs have been done and we are saving five minutes a day not having to do them ourselves. That’s 25 minutes a week over the course of a year that the department is saving. That’s about three business days that a person is no longer looking for something – which is pretty significant.”

LawVu’s impact has significantly enhanced our operational efficiency,” explains Becker. “We can now effectively allocate tasks to the appropriate level, allowing our legal team to focus on high-value, substantive work that truly benefits the company.”

Step 4: Demonstrate legal’s impact on the business through reporting

The team is now able to demonstrate the legal function’s impact on the business which is a key factor in advocating for resources and mitigating potential risks.

“Ruchi expressed her frustration with the surge in urgent requests, highlighting its disruptive nature in our business operations. Armed with this feedback, Adam and I swiftly ran reports to analyze the trend—revealing that twenty percent of our requests were urgent and potentially growing. This data facilitated productive discussions with the respective departments on necessary improvements, pinpointing areas for targeted training and enabling us to measure the resulting impact seamlessly.” – Dan Hegwood

The data that LawVu surfaces for the team is also proving highly valuable in that it tracks trends over time. “You’re always going to have a very significant recency bias in doing that analysis, and the data inside of LawVu is something that can really help ground our thinking on what’s actually a repetitive task. Because it’s not what happened five times in the past two weeks, it’s what’s happened 50 times in the past year that you want to look at if you want to affect real change and scale the department,” says Hegwood.

Next steps for Cockroach Labs:

As Cockroach Labs continues to evolve and expand, LawVu remains a trusted ally in its journey toward operational excellence. The team’s goal is to work on integrating LawVu with all the applicable workflows and systems across the wider business to gain a complete end-to-end experience.

“Firstly, we will be connecting Salesforce directly with LawVu and applying automation. I think, when it comes to end-to-end management of workflow, this will be a good example – the salesperson will be able to start and end in Salesforce while the legal team lives is LawVu – which will ultimately mean everybody’s happy,” says Hegwood.

The results of this play:

  • Tangible ROI: LawVu’s impact on time savings and productivity translated into three days per lawyer saved on creating NDAs
  • Risk reduction: By consolidating the team’s work into one system, there is little room for work getting lost or errors in copy and pasting across platforms
  • Seamless integrations: LawVu’s integration with Salesforce will facilitate cross-functional collaboration, driving productivity and innovation across departments
  • Structured intake for legal requests: LawVu’s business portal has provided organization and clarity, legitimizing the legal team’s function to the wider business

Run the play yourself!

Now it’s your turn! Here are three steps to help you improve your legal operations and support growth:

  1. Develop a change management strategy
    • When assessing technologies, prioritize quick implementation to facilitate adoption
    • Engage the entire company in the adoption process to gain buy-in
    • Establish scalable modes of engagement with the legal department from the outset
  2. Centralize your data into a single system
    • Utilize technology to centralize communication between the business and legal team
    • Manage and store all legal work in one system, creating an easily searchable single source of truth
    • Enable seamless coverage during team members’ absence by having all work in one accessible system
  3. Automate low-value repetitive work
    • Automate basic contracts like NDAs through a self-service portal for the business to access
    • Redirect freed up resources to focus on more valuable, substantive work
  4. Demonstrate legal’s impact on the business
    • Calculate time saved per day, week, and year to demonstrate the impact on department productivity
    • Utilize reporting capabilities to identify trends, urgent requests, and departmental impacts
    • Conduct productive conversations with departments based on data-driven insights to address issues and deliver training effectively

How LawVu can help

Rapid business change, growing workloads, staffing concerns, and economic pressure make scaling your legal services imperative.

At a time when choosing the right technology is more important than ever, the LawVu legal workspace delivers greater efficiency, superior ROI, and faster time to value, so you can truly do more with less.

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