Implementing an end-to-end solution to reduce manual tasks
Nicola Gannon is the Deputy Chief Legal Council at Craveable Brands – the franchisor for three iconic Australian restaurant brands: Chicken Treat, Red Rooster and Oporto. The company manages a network of almost 600 restaurants across Australia which in turn keeps their in-house legal team of eight busy managing the drafting, review and execution of franchising documents, amongst their other legal work. Given the volume of work coming through the legal department, the in-house legal team needed a solution to consolidate their workflow and automate their manual processes. “Before implementing LawVu, we were using a combination of shared folders and copying and pasting emails into documents and spreadsheets to try to keep all of our information organized,” says Gannon. One of the main pain points for the team was that everyone’s work was siloed in their email inboxes, and nobody had visibility across the team. This was particularly challenging when a member of the team was sick or on annual leave, which meant a lot more time was spent looking for the correct documents and switching between systems. When the team assessed what was available in the market, they were presented with a range of solutions, including point solutions and general project management solutions, “but what clinched it for us with the LawVu legal workspace was the easy-to-use interface and the fact that it combined all of the functions we needed, the matter management, the contract management, and the added element of having automation for our franchising documents,” says Gannon.
Closing the loop by managing matters and contracts together
With the team trying to manage their workflow through applications that were not fit for purpose, this resulted in time wasted on repetitive work and disjointed workflows. In less than six months, the team has implemented and optimized LawVu to consolidate their workflows and increase efficiency. “Our business as usual work is franchising and leasing, and we now use LawVu almost completely end-to-end to manage this,” says Gannon. Using LawVu, the team has architected a workflow that manages contracts and matters together and further saves time through automation. The matter governs a single franchising arrangement and provides a single source of information to automatically populate the franchising agreement and other leasing documents preventing copy and pasting.
The workflow they have achieved looks like the following:
- Intake has been streamlined by customizing the LawVu Business Portal interface and setting up self-help tools and intake forms for business users to submit structured requests.
- Matter management capabilities are then used to set up matters from each of these requests and assign priority. The matter becomes the review of the new franchising arrangement as well as storing all the work that goes around that.
- Contract management is integrated into each matter to manage the franchising and leasing agreements. A contract wizard is then used to the documents by automatically filling in all of the information from the matter – saving the repetitive copy and pasting work.
- The team uses status updates, tasks, actions, and notifications to automate approval processes and remind them of milestones and deadlines.
- The final step in the process is supported through the Docusign integration to assist with the easy signing of the agreements by the franchisee.
“With the bulk of our work being leasing and franchising, it necessarily has a contract attached to the matter, and so having the consolidated one system means we’ve got all of the information of our legal contracts and matters in one place.”
Exceeding the business’s expectations
“There have been so many benefits for so many parts of our business – not just the legal team,” says Gannon. The biggest one for the legal team has been the time-saving with their franchise documents.
“We were creating our franchise documents manually and copying and pasting information into each document. It would take 90 – 120 minutes to create the suite of franchise documents, but because we are now using the contracts wizard, that comes down to somewhere between 20 – 25 minutes to create that bundle of documents.”
In turn, this has been incredibly impactful to the wider company as Craveable Brands has recently gone through a high growth period with many new stores coming online while also managing and maintaining its network of 600 stores. A lot of franchising documents are being created each week, and LawVu’s automation has saved the business and the legal team a lot of time.
“Having LawVu on board during the growth strategy period has meant that without adding too many human resources, we’ve been able to do more with fewer people.”
The team has received really positive feedback from the business since the rollout of LawVu. “From the business perspective, they have really appreciated having a platform that tracks what they are giving to the legal team. Previously they would email us and then had no visibility and understanding of where their matter was at. We are now getting really good feedback from the business about them being able to see the list of their work on their Business Portal interface and the status updates – at any point, they can see who it is with, where it is at, and they don’t have to be coming back and emailing us constantly for updates,” explains Gannon.
“LawVu is almost like another team member that helps us achieve the goals that we need to and align with the strategy of the business.”
Increased visibility and demonstrating legal’s impact
Being a franchisor, the team has always had to comply with disclosure obligations. Before LawVu, they already had a reporting process set up to support this however, they still lacked full visibility over the amount of work the team was doing and were not able to demonstrate their impact on the wider business. “One of the unexpected benefits of LawVu has been the availability of the data of what work we do. We are now able to look at the amount of matters we’ve had in the last 12 months, what areas of the business are instructing us? What matter types are we doing the most work in?” This has been helpful not only in demonstrating legal’s impact on the business, but also in justifying resources. “We have recruited another lawyer this year, and we were able to leverage reports in LawVu to pinpoint what skills we really needed to have someone join our team and be the most effective use to the team that we could have.” Having all the data in one system also saves time finding information and documents.
“The searchability on LawVu is so good that it means if something comes up for one person, we can search across the system so quickly and so deeply that we can have visibility across other matters that a store or team member might have encountered, which means that we’re managing risk in a more holistic, more effective way for the business.”
These time savings on workflow, reporting and searching for information have freed up essential time that the legal team can spend on higher-value strategic work. “LawVu is a fantastic tool to alleviate some of the stresses of the repetitive jobs of our legal in-house team to allow us to add value to the business in a strategic fashion and to get time to do those things that we don’t normally do – that planning, strategic thinking and process improvement all of which go to further the business and for them to see real value from the legal team,” says Gannon.
A true partnership
The team’s implementation and adoption of LawVu has been incredibly successful as a result of Gannon implementing a robust change management planand the setting of realistic expectations for the timing and success of the project.
“Our next goal with LawVu is focused on how we can help some other teams in the company with their processes that then feed into our legal instructions. For example, we’re taking a look at a couple of the processes the property team has in instructing us and particularly where they interplay with our franchisees and getting approval on new commercial terms of leases,” explains Gannon.
Setting up self-service and the DocuSign integration will support building this connection with the property team and result in making it quicker for the franchisee to get engaged.