Host of the Fringe Legal podcast.Technologist, with interest in LegalTech. Lawyer by training. Work for a leading legal tech company in Chicago — views are his own.
Ab: Hello everyone. And welcome to this experimental episode. And this episode will be using machine learning too. read out one of the articles I've written in the past. Probably will be getting a few of these in the coming months. So please do let me know what your thoughts are and excuse any mispronunciations from the ai you can find the full text of the article on fringe legal.com and as always love to hear your feedback. Enjoy.AI narrator 1: This is the audio version of an article, read by your friendly neighborhood artificial intelligence.AI narrator 2: Solving the Last Mile Problem for the Utilisation of Legal Technology  The last mile is a concept that specifically focuses on the movement of goods or services from the distribution centre to the destination – this final aspect of the supply chain is often the most difficult and expensive than any other part of the supply chain.This article considers the last mile problem framed as the utilisation of technology at law firms, and how solving it could provide significant business benefits.The Multi-faceted Approach of Considering the Last Mile Problem  The idea of the last mile was originally conceptualised around the delivery of telecommunications and electricity; since then it has been extended to many other verticals, and is commonly referenced with regards to logistics and transportation.The question we consider here is what is the last mile affecting the legal profession, and how should we start to solve it?The last mile is partly a matter of perspective – when considering the legal eco-system the problem to be solved depends on which part of the legal supply chain is considered – the delivery of legal service, the utilisation of technology, or one of the many other end points.The Promise of Significant Business Gains  Regardless of which part of the value chain is considered from the perspective of a legal technology leader, the mandate should be to help the lawyer (the end user) finish their work quickly and with a high degree of competency.In this article we will demonstrate the value of solving the challenge of the last mile problem by focusing primarily on the utilisation of technology at law firms. My hope is that in working through this a mental framework can be constructed which can also be applied to other forums.Below we will define the problem, consider the benefits, and review some considerations for IT leaders and knowledge professionals.  Delivery and Utilisation of Legal Technology  There has been a boom in the number of technologies being offered to and implemented within law firms. This is particularly the case in large legal markets such as the USA and the UK. The same observation can be made of emerging legal tech markets such as Singapore, where initiatives promoted by the government and other agencies are ensuring a healthy appetite for law firms to obtain legal technology.Law firms are complex businesses with many moving parts, but they all want the same thing: to realise the full potential of their investment. For this to be accomplished there must be a smooth delivery from end-to-end. This is done by maximising the bandwidth so that workflows can be created that put the right tools in the user’s hands at the right time, and in the right way.Often the last mile is the least efficient part of the delivery process. When implementing technology this is often translated as complexities with implementation itself, troubleshooting and training to maximise adoption.Most firms have a fragmented eco-system of legal technology. The annual publication by Litera Microsystems – The Changing Lawyer – reported that almost half of firms are working with over 10 legal technology suppliers, and 68 per cent of firms say that their tech tools overlap in functionality.The problem with this approach is that the users are perpetually confused by which technology to use, and there is a dizzying array of training that must be attended and remembered each time a simple task needs to be accomplished. In solving these issues, we must work towards a simplified system which encompasses a large workflow that is frequently followed by lawyers.  Benefits  Before considering how to solve the problem, let’s consider the benefits of doing so.If we return to our earlier example of transportation, it is easy to see the business paybacks to be gained by solving the problem.In the last five years, within the transportation vertical, companies such as Bird, and Lime have become some of the fastest growing – Bird became the fastest Unicorn in the US (company valued at over one billion USD) – by focusing on solving the last mile problem through the use of scooters. In doing so, the company considers what is the easiest and the most cost effective way of getting an individual across that last mile: from the hub (eg a train station) to their home.Solving for the last mile with regards to delivery of technology means saving time and effort. For lawyers the result is to have more time available to think and, to provide greater value to their clients. This has the secondary benefit of minimising the mundane, inevitably increasing morale and job satisfaction.For a business, the benefits include reducing errors in delivery of the work product, having the ability to service more clients, and generally increasing revenue.What must be considered is that most customers expect quick delivery but are not willing to pay the high premiums. Therefore, to accomplish the task productivity tools for a lawyer that improve workflow, efficiency is needed.  Better Technology and More Integration  When thinking about how to achieve said benefits, it may be tempting to opt for even more technology. However, I would argue that this is not the right approach – as it further fragments an already fragmented eco-system. Instead firms should aim for better technology, more conversations, elegant delivery mechanisms, and more integration.Systems that are put in place should provide an integrated approach to the workflow – this means integrating with relevant systems (for example, a Document Management System (DMS)) so that as many of the necessary actions can be accomplished from within the application where the lawyer spends most of their time (such as Microsoft Word).  Is Your System Being Used as Intended?  If we consider this from the perspective of an IT leader or the business unit, it is important to pay attention during the implementation stage to ensure that the delivery being received is as intended.Are your users able to go through workflows (eg creating, checking, and collaborating on a document) in a cohesive manner without significant cognitive burden?Companies like Litera Microsystems have formed around this specific narrative and as a result their suite – the Litera Desktop – can be delivered as a single, lawyer focused ribbon. The advantage of this is that it provides all the necessary tools for the entire workflow which all look and feel the same, allowing the lawyer to focus on the task at hand instead of jumping from tab-to-tab and ribbon-to-ribbon.  Integrating – In and Out  As you consider the workflow, where possible, ensure that there are multiple points of integration. Beyond those that are essential, like a DMS for instance, it is worth considering whether the systems are able to integrate with each other ie, is your content library able to draw results from an AI driven document review tool? Do your tools offer APIs to allow the technical professionals to design their own workflows?  Efficiency Across the Entire Business  As the head of a firm, or practice, the focus should be on understanding how the technology is being used across the firm, and/or practice. The return on investment (ROI) can be increased by identifying where technology can be better leveraged to provide greater value to your clients.This could well be accomplished using simple technologies such as those that help with reviewing documents for drafting issues. Having consistency around this process could mean more efficiency, and ensuring that every document finalised meets a minimum quality threshold across the firm, thereby resulting in fewer mistakes being picked up by clients.  Final Thoughts  Ultimately, there is no silver bullet. Firms and individuals can start seeing real effect by considering simple items which may be overlooked as being too obvious.As a starting point, it is suggested that you consider if implementation of simple systems such as automating your drafting review process which are quick to value, can provide efficiencies freeing up lawyers and IT professionals to consider a broader strategy and to focus on what really matters.Whatever your approach, aim to simplify the offering and ensure that there are real user and business benefits. Understand how multiple actions that affect one overarching workflow can be tied together to create better results to truly change the game.  This article was authored by Abhijat Saraswat and first published on the Singapore Law Gazette: https://lawgazette.com.sg/practice/tech-talk/solving-the-last-mile-problem-for-the-utilisation-of-legal-technology/
Eric Laughlin is the CEO of Agiloft - the no-code contract and commerce lifecycle management software company.  I think, as everything changed, people had to have had sort of two insights: one insight is that the world changes more rapidly than I even thought that it could. And then the second thing is, I, as an individual, as a human, was able to adapt more quickly than I thought that I might've been able to. And that sort of plasticity that we discovered in the world and in ourselves, I hope has allowed everybody to, think of a sort of positive outcome from this pandemic, which is, it allows people to be more, imaginative about what the future might look like. and that should have implications for the way that we work. And for the way that we have our family life and our personal lives, but it certainly has implications for the way that we think about technology. What technology we choose, what we think that technology does, how long we think we'll use that technology and, the rigidity or sort of plasticity that we expect from the technology.In this episode you'll learn about: What is contract lifecycle management? The benefits of no-code technology - from an implementation, design, and adoption perspective From the legal ops perspective why you should consider all software instead of just legal tech solutions What Agiloft plans to do with their $45M investment  Eric’s experience as a new CEO - his onboarding experience and his leadership focus for the next few months SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW:  iTunes // Spotify // Pocket Casts // Stitcher If you're sitting in a law firm or if you're sitting in legal ops, you might be thinking, what are my legal tech options? you certainly should be thinking: what are my technology options, not what are my legal tech options. And especially in something like contracts, where, there are many people outside of legal department who have their hands in contracts every day, whether it's the procurement department or it's sales operations, those are either your partners in the law firm, or they're working in parallel with you on different contracts. You can find Eric on LinkedIn and find out more about Agiloft here.   Agiloft Secures $45 Million Growth Equity Investment from FTV Capital   Names Accomplished Legal Tech Executive Eric Laughlin as CEO to Accelerate Growth in No-Code Contract and Commerce Lifecycle Management Software Company   Redwood City, Calif., August 17, 2020 – Agiloft, the global standard in no-code contract and commerce lifecycle management, today announced a $45 million growth equity investment from FTV Capital, a sector-focused investor in innovative companies in enterprise technology and services, financial services, and payments and transaction processing. Bootstrapped since its inception and profitable, Agiloft’s investment from FTV is the company’s first round of external funding and will be used to build on its leadership position in the rapidly growing enterprise contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM) space as it accelerates its AI-based product development and expands its vertical and geographic market presence. Agiloft’s no-code platform drives industry-leading configurability and automates complex enterprise workflows through an iterative design process at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional software. In conjunction with the transaction, Agiloft appointed Eric Laughlin to the role of CEO, effective immediately. Laughlin most recently served as global leader of legal managed services at Ernst & Young, LLP, where he managed the Pangea3 and Riverview Law teams and provided clients with technology and service solutions in the contracts, e-discovery, and compliance domains globally. Founder and former CEO of Agiloft, Colin Earl, will remain with the company as chief technology officer, overseeing product development, engineering, security and technology infrastructure and providing strategic guidance to the company.    “Colin and his team at Agiloft have built a unique company, emphasizing customer-focused execution and a culture of trust and transparency — all built on a foundation of technical excellence,” said Laughlin. “The result has been steadily accelerating growth and consistent profitability. I’m honored to have been chosen to lead Agiloft in the next chapter of its development. A big part of my role will be to grow the company while maintaining the elements that have made it so successful.”   "Eric not only has a track record of success, growing and leading large global organizations, he has the vision, domain expertise and integrity to lead Agiloft in its next phase of growth and product innovation. The search took over a year–and it was well worth it to find the right individual.” said Earl. Named a leader by Gartner in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for Contract Lifecycle Management, Agiloft has reported 134% growth in new sales thus far this year, an implementation success rate of 99.6% and has a loyal customer base of more than 600 customers, including Honeywell, CDW and Roche. Its adaptable contracting software is built on a no-code platform, allowing organizations to customize complex contract and commerce workflows without writing a single line of code. A robust AI engine simplifies the intake and organization of existing contracts and also identifies the level of risk in documents and clauses. The result is cost discipline in procurement, quantifiable reductions in revenue leakage in sales, and visibility into contractual risk and regulatory compliance for legal departments. The platform is easily extensible to the commercial processes adjacent to contracts such as spend management and integrates with enterprise systems.  “Agiloft has established itself as a trailblazer in the fast-growing market for contract and commerce lifecycle management software,” said Alex Mason, partner at FTV Capital. “To develop a no-code product that customers love, while prioritizing profitable growth without external investment, is a remarkable achievement. We are proud to be a collaborative partner to the Agiloft team and look forward the exciting journey ahead.”    “With digital transformation moving at the speed it is today, contract management solutions that are well-scoped and executable are mission critical,” said Abhay Puskoor, principal at FTV Capital. “As businesses continue to find new efficiencies and ways to reduce costs, contract management will play a significant role in adoption of automation, and Agiloft’s highly configurable no-code platform will enable automation at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional software. We welcome the opportunity to connect Agiloft to the enterprises in our Global Partner Network who will value the measurable ROI that the platform delivers.”   As part of this transaction, FTV Capital’s Alex Mason and Abhay Puskoor will join Agiloft’s board of directors. About EricAgiloft CEO, Eric Laughlin, has over a decade of leadership experience running legal software and tech-enabled services business serving Fortune 1000 clients. Prior to Agiloft, Eric was the global leader of Legal Managed Services at Ernst & Young, LLP. His organization, including the Pangea3 and Riverview Law teams, provided EY clients with technology and service solutions in the contracts, e-discovery, and compliance domains globally. Before EY, he was managing director of the Corporate Segment within Thomson Reuters, responsible for information, software, and service offerings for corporate legal departments. His career at Thompson Reuters included posts as general manager for Serengeti (e-billing & matter management software), consultant in the Global Strategy function, and marketing leadership roles. Eric earlier worked in marketing at 3M, and sales & business development at About.com. He began his career as a consultant for the Parthenon Group. Eric has an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. He lives in the Seattle area, and is an avid runner and skier.About Agiloft  As the global leader in contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM) software, Agiloft is trusted to provide significant savings in purchasing, enable more efficient legal operations, and accelerate sales cycles, all while drastically lowering compliance risk. Founded in 1991, Agiloft’s adaptable no-code platform ensures rapid deployment and a fully extensible system. Using contracts as the core system of commercial record, Agiloft’s CCLM software leverages AI to improve contract management for legal departments, procurement, and sales operations. Visit www.agiloft.com for more.   About FTV Capital FTV Capital is a growth equity investment firm that has raised nearly $4 billion to invest in high-growth companies offering a range of innovative solutions in three sectors: enterprise technology and services, financial services, and payments and transaction processing. FTV’s experienced team leverages its domain expertise and proven track record in each of these sectors to help motivated management teams accelerate growth. FTV also provides companies with access to its Global Partner Network®, a group of the world’s leading enterprises and executives who have helped FTV portfolio companies for two decades. Founded in 1998, FTV Capital has invested in 115 portfolio companies, including Docupace, Egress, Enfusion, InvestCloud, ReliaQuest, Riskalyze, Sunlight Financial, and VPay, and exited companies Globant (NYSE IPO), HCS (acquired by Ally Financial), and WorldFirst (acquired by Ant Financial). FTV has offices in San Francisco and New York. For more information, please visit www.ftvcapital.com. 
Ray Biederman is an experienced litigator with nearly two decades of experience removing obscurity from the eDiscovery process for other attorneys and corporate resources. Ray is the President and co-founder of DiscoveryMaster.co, CEO of Proteus Discovery Group, and Partner at Mattingly Burke Cohen & Biederman LLP.most people went to law school to practice law and not to practice technology, or practice updating Excel spreadsheets all the time. It's like the rule of 80% rule, right? You cover 80% of what the needs are, and then the other 20%, either custom build or figure out a workaround for it. As litigators, we're working in a pretty fast-paced environment, and that 20% is critical. So you don't want to make a move until you've got everything covered or you don't have to change your processes that much.And that was part of the beauty of what we've done; people don't really have to change their practices all that much, it unifies everything into one place and they get the information they need, but they don't have to learn a new piece of software in order to do it.In this episode we discuss: Technology adoption and innovation: the difference in enthusiasm & sophistication between in-house legal teams and AM Law 200 firms Cloud: the dichotomy between legal tech ecosystem moving to the cloud, and requirements by IT teams to keep things on-prem for security reasons In-house/outside counsel: the dynamics of this relationship and how the bleed from consumer tech into the professional world is affecting it.  the law lives in the past a little bit and so trying to add new tech or add tech stacks to the legal profession is an exceedingly difficult road. What we've noticed is, at least lately, we launched at the beginning of COVID, and I think that instantly brought in-house teams in the cost-saving mode as fast as possible.You can learn more about DiscoveryMaster here, and connect with Ray on LinkedIn. 
Adrian Camara is the CEO of Athennian. Athennian is a legal entity management software for in-house teams and law firms.
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