Doxly Could End Late-Night Document Scrambles For Transactional Attorneys And Paralegals
Haley Altman has worked as an attorney in transactional law for a decade, representing emerging growth companies and venture capital firms in both Indianapolis and Silicon Valley through sales, acquisitions and funding rounds. She has a lot of experience with a common occupational hazard for people in her line of work: sitting in an office at 1 a.m., searching for the last signature document needed to close a deal in the morning.
During one such search, Altman and fellow attorney Elizabeth Brier had an epiphany that they could use technology to eliminate many of the problems caused by the chaotic, cumbersome and mostly paper-based system of legal transactions.
Altman says, “I sat there thinking, ‘What tools could we bring into our area to help get these transactions done?’ ”
This was the seed of Doxly, an SaaS platform that creates workflows for transactions (including diligence and closing tasks) and organizes all relevant documents in one place. This creates transparency for clients and helps attorneys find the documents they need when they need them , eliminating last-minute rifling through file folders.
Watch Altman pitch her legal-tech startup, Doxly:
Breaking Down Legal Transactions
For everyone who isn’t a legal professional, we should take a moment to clear something up. Transactional lawyers and attorneys deal with business transactions, typically writing contracts and guiding their clients through exchanges of capital or ownership. Unlike their colleagues who work in litigation, transactional attorneys don’t resolve lawsuits in court, but rather handle the administrative tasks that ensure a business dealing is done legally. Doxly was made for them.
The big problem with how legal transactions are currently handled is the lack of unified tools and workflows. Altman explains, “We have a lot of legal pad work, PDFs—all these different systems that we have to use to get the transaction to close.”
On the one hand, this method is just plain messy and can lead to lost or misplaced documents. On the other hand, it frequently leaves clients in the dark about what documents or signatures are needed, elongating the transaction process (which no one wants).
Doxly digitizes these disparate tools and unifies them on one platform. It provides clear workflows for each task and lets lawyers collaborate with their clients using an in-app chat feature. It even allows for e-signatures on documents via integration with DocuSign.
According to Altman, the goal is to bring everyone and everything together in one (virtual) place and get the deal done simpler and faster.
Early Traction and Obstacles to Success
Doxly launched out of Indianapolis, IN-based venture studio High Alpha in July 2016 and has gained a lot of traction in a short amount of time. It closed a $2.25 million seed funding round in September with investments from High Alpha’s venture fund, Hyde Park Venture Partners and Nextlaw Labs, the venture arm of Dentons law firm.
Doxly’s customers—including attorneys and paralegals at Dentons, Ice Miller LLP, True Capital Management and Brennan, Manna & Diamond—report that the product has helped them save time and work more efficiently, but Altman couldn’t provide specific metrics when pressed after her pitch by Jenny Vance of PERQ. Altman also says the team is still locking down their go-to-market strategy and don’t yet know how much they’ll market to individual lawyers and how much they’ll market to executives who will enable adoption throughout a firm.
But there could be some obstacles to adoption in an industry that has a long tradition of how it charges its clients for services rendered. As Ade Olonoh of Jell points out, many attorneys still charge a fixed rate, so they may not be agreeable to the idea of getting paid less as a result of time saved with Doxly.
Altman claims that clients push back on fixed fees more and more these days, and she seems to think this point of contention will resolve itself due to a generational shift in the legal market and increased pressure to close deals faster. She believes the time is right for the legal industry to implement technology, and Doxly’s early successes give some credence to the idea.
Not all attorneys may agree with Altman’s assessment, but it’s safe to say the industry will have to begin utilizing more technology sooner or later. Doxly could be a great tool for early adopters, especially younger, tech-savvy legal professionals. And if it works well and meets their needs, then it could help bring similar software to other areas of legal practice.
A move toward technological integration could be a boon to lawyers everywhere trying to get their work done faster, more efficiently and with more transparency for their clients. We’ll just have to wait a little while to see if the trend takes off—and if Doxly takes off with it.