| Marie Bauer

Mastering the Closing Process Part 3: Enhancing Workflows

Law firms who successfully leverage technology to enhance legal transaction workflows experience more control, transparency, accuracy and speed, while gaining an edge against the growing competition.

 

As we continue with our blog series on Mastering the Closing Process this week, we take a closer look at the importance of enhancing workflows, which is the second of three key areas firms need to consider to ensure a successful and sustainable digital transformation.

 

Without the aid of a workflow management platform, legal teams run the risk of misspelling a client’s name on one out of 50 signature pages, accidentally leaving out a page from a signer’s packet, forgetting to add a key party to a signature page, or even completely missing a deadline to close the deal due to signature delays. All of these mistakes cost firms money, can damage a firm’s reputation and can be easily prevented.

 

When you break down the closing process, a majority of the time is spent building a closing checklist, creating, distributing and collecting signature packets, and generating closing books. Firms can significantly lower overhead costs of executing the deal by utilizing technology and adhering to the outlined strategy and goals determined in the planning phase.

 

Standardizing Closing Checklists

Electronic closing checklists closely resemble manual spreadsheets and Word documents that are commonly used during the closing process, but they can be preloaded and standardized to ensure a smooth transition for attorneys and paralegals who are adopting new workflows.

 

Another benefit of adopting technology to manage closing checklists is giving the internal team visibility into the status of the deal in real time. Instead of circulating a Word or Excel document, and struggling to keep information up to date, everyone can see the progress of the deal, who is responsible for next steps, and instant transparency to when documents are finalized.

 

Automating Signature Management

Signature management is one area that legal teams spend an incredible amount of time on when done manually. It involves creating multiple signature blocks for each signer on different pages within Word, emailing packets to signers, and collecting and tracking hundreds of signatures. Once collected, signed signature pages are separated into the appropriate closing documents. Finally, the closing documents are scanned into electronic format with all of the signature pages added to the end.

 

This is an extremely time-consuming process that can be significantly improved with the use of the proper technology. Immediate ROI can be seen by automating the signature block and signature page creation process, sending them with the push of one button, and providing the deal team visibility into signature statuses. Administrative tasks that were once written-off can be streamlined and time can be focused on more pressing, billable items.

 

With technology, deals can be closed faster by sending out signature packets earlier in the process. If a signer or signature block is incorrect and needs to be updated, technology allows you to easily update and redistribute signature packets, saving significant time over having to make changes manually.

 

Leveraging technology to streamline the signature management process can be a huge win for law firms and for their clients. Clients’ expectations are rising as they are used to using technology in other areas of their lives. Automating the signature management process allows firms to meet these expectations, providing more value and a better client experience.

 

Simplifying Closing Books

The final workflow that can be enhanced with the use of technology is the creation of closing books at the end of a deal. Closing books may be requested in different formats with different documents depending on who the closing books are being provided to. This often creates a lot of administrative work that clients won’t pay for. Using technology to streamline this process is a huge benefit, automatically compiling closing documents and generating closing books in varying formats in just minutes.

 

When a law firm has enhanced these workflows, from standardizing checklist templates, to automating signature management, to compiling closing books, they will see immediate results. Miscommunications will occur less frequently, deals will close faster, and clients will be happier.