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Mastering the Closing Process Part 1: Introduction

The legal industry is evolving. In addition to increased security risks, clients are expecting law firms to offer more value at a lower cost or alternative fee arrangements for their services. This is putting pressure on firms to run more efficient businesses and focus resources on higher value activities rather than administrative tasks.

 

Transaction management is a high-stakes, labor-intensive, and largely opaque process, with multiple points of potential risk and very little margin for error.   

 

Technology can play an important role in overcoming all these challenges, and firms who are adopting technology to master the deal management process are mitigating security risks, increasing profits and staying competitive in today’s legal industry.

 

According to Law Firms in Transition: 2017 Trends an Altman Weil Flash Survey, Digital transformation is creating new kinds of competition for law firms and the numbers are surprising, according to the Altman Weil Flash Survey:

 

  • 83% of law firm leaders say they believe competition from non-traditional service providers is a permanent change in the legal market and those competitors are already taking business from law firms
  • 67% of law firms say they are currently losing business to corporate legal departments that are in-sourcing legal work – if clients can’t buy it from law firms, they’ll build it themselves
  • 24% of law firms are currently losing work to client technology solutions and another 42% see this as a potential threat to their firms’ business

 

Some of the benefits of adopting technology to improve transaction management process include simplifying complex processes, increasing the speed of closing, increasing control and visibility, avoiding errors and preventing a data breach.

 

Understanding how technology can benefit a firm and their clients in today’s environment is just the first step in the process. Once a you have made the decision to move forward, several other questions may come to mind;

 

  • Which technology is best suited to solve our problem?
  • How do we evaluate the different options?
  • Do we need one or more solutions and how do they integrate with each other?
  • How long does it take to implement and how do we make sure it gets used?
  • How do we measure the success of our technology investment?

 

This article is the first in a series of weekly blogs that will cover three key areas that need to be considered in order to leverage technology to Master the Closing Process and ensure a successful and sustainable digital transformation.

 

  1. Creating a Plan – include goals, an adoption strategy and success metrics
  2. Enhancing Workflows – standardize checklists, automate signature processes and closing books
  3. Leveraging Data for Continuous Improvement – track and monitor non-billable time saved and optimize service delivery to increase profitability

 

For years the tools that have been available to attorneys have been Excel and Word documents, data rooms, and email. These tools not only raise security concerns when it comes to protecting client data and confidential information regarding multi-billion-dollar deals, they also don’t meet the criteria of what attorneys need to serve their current clients. Moreover, these tools do not enable firms to have the capacity to expand their business. Reducing overhead allows law firms to offer clients services that provide more control, transparency, accuracy and speed, while gaining an edge against the growing competition.

 

Law firms who embrace technology and master the deal process will be able to grow and evolve before others are even considering trading their spreadsheets and emails for streamlined technology. Will your firm be behind or ahead of the curve?