Customer story

“Contracts and matters are often related, so managing them in one system makes sense. Even better will be the application of AI to this process to further increase the efficiency of our legal team and the wider business

Ben van de Beld - Chief Legal and Operations Officer - Emapta

KEY OUTCOMES

Managing matters and contracts together increases efficiency for the legal team and wider business
Automation enables self-service for the business and has resulted in the legal team rarely having to review contracts
Reports can be pulled in a matter of seconds allowing the legal team to respond to business needs in real time
Managing all legal work in one system creates better connection with the wider business

Why managing contracts and matters together is better together

Emapta is a leading business process outsourcing provider serving clients across multiple geographies and sectors including law firms, accounting firms, building and construction businesses. This distills down to operational work that supports customer service and support functions, back-office support, digital marketing, and sales. Australian owned, the company’s global headquarters is now in Singapore with its largest operations based out of the Philippines. All work can be done remotely, which means their clients are able to tap into markets where resources may be much more competitively priced. This has resulted in an immense amount of growth for the company and the legal team now comprises 20 members spanning a legal and advisory team, governance and risk team, migration and business services and global auditing team.

Streamlining legal operations within a single system

Before bringing on LawVu the team was operating out of a mixture of documents, email and spreadsheets and their approach to legal operations varied across the different disciplines. Highly regulated sectors and compliance requirements in the Philippines had become extremely laborious with the team trying to manage all their work in spreadsheets and with manual processes.

“Relying on email and spreadsheets meant the team wasn’t able to maintain a cohesive file structure,” explains Ben van de Beld, Chief Legal and Operations Officer.

The catalyst for change was when the company decided to bring the governance and risk, and migration and business services disciplines under one in-house legal department. “This triggered us to look at how we could implement a system that we could use across all of the disciplines and that we could then roll out to the business.” The goal for the team was to bring on something that would have a good user experience for both the legal and business users as well as have the ability to automate the high-volume low value work.  Managing change was critical to the success of this project – not only were they aiming to improve the efficiency of the legal team, but equally important was improving their impact on the wider business. A change management plan was instituted because they were consolidating the whole of the department as well as bringing in new teams and restructuring. This allowed Ben van de Beld to properly consider what an ideal system could look like from an internal usage perspective. “Contract management, matter management, intake, automation of documents, and workflow were the key requirements we identified which meant we came across the LawVu legal workspace in the market.”

“There are a number of solutions that obviously have similar functionalities, but they all work differently. So one of the things that we looked at in particular was how user friendly the system was and how user friendly in particular it would be for our business users. This is why we landed on LawVu. We have about 600 core staff that all interact with legal in some way so we needed something that obviously was easy for them to use and that they would buy into,” says Ben van de Beld.

The team also needed to make sure that legal requests and queries were moved out of their email inboxes, where they had become very difficult to track even once allocated to a lawyer. They needed a legal front door – one portal to manage legal requests and allow the business user to have visibility across their matters and communicate with the Legal team. “The Business Portal feature was something that I liked about the LawVu system – that connection between the business and us,” says Ben van de Beld.

Managing contracts and matters together

Managing matters and contracts in one system was always a priority for this legal team.

“Contracts and matters are best managed together and the LawVu legal workspace provides us the platform to do so. To have the matters sitting in one system and then a contract somewhere else when it might be related to a particular matter wasn’t going to be a good solution for us.”

An added benefit to managing this in one system is that it creates team and business continuity. “We’ve been able to formalize many of our workflows into the system – instead of them existing in someone’s head. It saves an immense amount of time having everything searchable and connected within the one system,” says Ben van de Beld.

“LawVu wasn’t just a standalone matter management system that we could use across our team – it has really assisted with connecting the business with our team. And having contracts integrated into one system is certainly beneficial. We have a large in-house team so having to integrate different point solutions and make them work together would have taken a long time. So having everything in the one system has been ideal and it certainly works.”

Applying automation to accelerate efficiency

To accelerate these time savings further, Emapta has applied the use of automation to enable business users to self-serve many of their contracts. “Because we deal with different geographies we need multilingual contracts and so we’ve been able to achieve this quickly through a contract wizard. Each time we roll out to a new geography we’re able to create the local employment agreement in two languages and then through the wizard, they can automatically pick that up,” explains Ben van de Beld. In deciding what impact the legal team could have on the business through this digital transformation, it was about looking at what the business really needed. “A lot of our contracts across our business on a day-to-day basis are not complex, so it meant that we could roll out particular agreements that were quite simple and, using automation and conditional logic, offer them as self-service for the team.”

“Now we rarely need to check these contracts or we check them only at the final point which has saved our team and the business so much time,” says van de Beld.

This also speeds up the process for the business user, instead of having to come to the legal team and request a particular amendment agreement for a client they can simply hop on the system and look at the options, pick up the relevant template, and roll it out. The team has integrated DocuSign so it can then be easily sent over to the client for execution. As a result, this has taken much of that low value work off the legal team’s plate. It has also reduced risk for the team because they are able to control the documents that are being used. “Previously you would have a database of different templates floating around that may change over time. But now it means that whatever template is sitting in the wizard is the one they’re allowed to use,” says Ben van de Beld.

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Accelerating efficiency gains with AI

Because matters and contracts are now managed within the one system, all the team’s data is captured and stored within the one system too. “We can now see the volume of matters running through the system, the volume that’s coming into the department so we can look at how many matters are open at any one time, how many contracts are going through the system, how many new client contracts are being signed,” says van de Beld. This gives the team and the business better visibility across the type of work and the velocity of work the legal team is working on in real time.

“We’re operating so much more efficiently now with the ability to pull reports in a matter of seconds allowing us to track growth in different geographies in real time and align with the overall company strategy.”

The next steps for the team are to revise the new processes and workflow they’ve set up with the business users to assess further opportunities for optimization.

“Our next focus is to further improve our contract and self-service functionality through utilizing AI in the LawVu legal workspace. This will significantly speed up contract turnaround through the ability to quickly compare clauses and reduce the number of intake forms we require from the business,” concludes Ben van de Beld.

“LawVu wasn't just a standalone matter management system that we could use across our team - it has really assisted with connecting the business with our team. And having contracts integrated into one system is certainly beneficial. We have a large in-house team so having to integrate different point solutions and make them work together would have taken a long time. So having everything in the one system has been ideal and it certainly works.’

Ben van de Beld - Chief Legal and Operations Officer - Emapta

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