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CLOC Ask the Expert: The Changemaker's Toolkit

This week, we’ve been learning from top leaders in the legal industry as part of CLOC’s Ask the Expert series.

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Automation + self-service go hand-in-hand in this sphere: if you can empower your users to move business forward easily, they will.

Jacqueline Rodriguez, NS1

Implementing a new technology usually involves a mix of three things: People, process, and technology. While the technology may make promises to solve specific problems within your organization, it doesn’t stand a chance unless it’s adopted by the primary business users.

To address how legal operators can manage change effectively, we partnered with CLOC to bring a panel of experts from L’Oréal, NS1, and Impossible Foods to share their experiences in legal transformation.

Watch Now: The Changemaker's Toolkit

Key takeaways

Here’s some really important things you should remember:

  • Legal is a partner, not a roadblock. Perfection isn’t what you’re striving for, it’s about productivity and efficiency, and what you have to do to get there is test it all.
  • Be innovative and build trust. Innovation is important, but innovation doesn’t mean throwing different technology, tools, or resources at a problem, but [instead] you really need to dig deep and think about what you’re really solving for. And you need to build trust, whether you’re a lawyer or in legal operations, you need to take people in the organization along with you, and the only way they’ll do that is if they trust you.
  • If you build a system that just works, then people will use it. They’ll use the right system.

How do you convince your attorneys that typing information into the CLM platform is worth their time?

Angela: For us, the process starts with the business since they are the ones requesting contract review and creation. By the time the contract workflow gets to Legal, all the metadata should already be populated. True — there may be a thing or two that the lawyer needs to update, but I would focus on your top five things for them to review.

For us, the business completes all the info initially, they are responsible for edits during negotiation, and once executed, the lawyer should only have to check a couple items (less than 30 seconds).

Jackie: Other than the basic contract metadata (counterparty, agreement type and effective date), there should only be a few pieces of key information that attorneys need to capture, depending on what’s deemed essential by the department for reporting, risk analysis, automated date reminders, etc. My advice here would be to contextualize the need, define the specific data that should be tracked, then templatize the manner in which it’s recorded. Eliminating ambiguity helps to increase compliance.

How do you persuade sales teams to self serve vs. just email Legal?

Jackie: Quite the opposite, most of our sales team were thrilled to be able to generate their own agreements and gain a window to the status of their requests! I’ve also witnessed the most enterprising AEs strive to take on more complex contracts, which has made them great partners as I evolve what they can accomplish with our CLM tool. We fill out all sorts of short forms online in our personal lives, so I hinged on that familiarity to create clear and succinct prompts that wouldn’t feel burdensome. Automation + self-service go hand-in-hand in this sphere: if you can empower your users to move business forward easily, they will.

Angela: Our sales time adopted our system well. With our current contracting platform, we are able to present and tailor questions upfront and reduce the amount of back and forth that can slow the deal cycle. The sales team was the easiest team to on-board because we enabled self-service and allowed them to see the status of their deals independent of Legal. We delivered on our promise of saving time and efficiency.

Mary: I’m a big believer that the new way of doing things should be markedly better than the old way, if change management is to be successful.

Presumably, if the Sales team was just emailing legal in the past, Legal still had to get that information from them through verbal communication, back and forth emails, or meetings. If the tool is streamlined and easy enough to use, the request form should take less time and capture all the information upfront, therefore speeding up the process for the salesperson and making their life easier. If the new form is more cumbersome and difficult to navigate, then adoption will be an uphill battle.

How do you collect and track feedback on the bugs and feature requests from the end users?

Angela: We have very few bugs, but occasionally something doesn’t work right. Although anyone in the company can email Ironclad Support, they all come to me first. If I can’t fix the issue, I will email support. I track major requests or issues and remedies in Airtable.

Jackie: Most of my feedback has been collected through observation—by seeing where users get stuck, or what triggers most questions or errors. I’ve also found focused questionnaires helpful for understanding how my users like to learn, uncovering their pain points, and even to highlight lesser used features that could reduce their ‘admin’ load.

What is one thing you wish you would have done differently or known before implementation?

Angela: Remember to think of implementation as a first draft. It should be a good first draft because you should have done a bunch or prep work, but it should still be considered a first draft. Don’t worry about wanting to iterate at some point.

How do you handle point solutions not speaking to one another?

Angela: If you find the right tool, it can potentially handle it all. We do not use Ironclad for other requests that come into the Legal dept. But any and everything contracts related (which is a huge amount of our workload) goes through the system. Ask your customer service rep how other companies use the system to do what you are thinking about. We have used Ironclad for many things that are not contracts and I have heard of other companies that use it as an all inclusive system for any inquiry to Legal.

Mary:The Legal industry is still in the early stages of digital transformation, and as a result, there is no true department wide system that can fulfill the needs of different practice areas (i.e., eBilling, eDiscovery, matter management, contracts, and more).

Due to how different some of the needs are for these systems, I’m not entirely sure there will ever be a one system for Legal. Some of the existing “Enterprise Legal Management” systems can service a small and simple legal department, but if you have specialized functions in your department, it is still necessary to go with best of breed systems for certain areas. With that, yes, you will need to manage a bunch of point solutions that don’t always talk to one another.

Before you try to integrate and connect all of them, consider the level of effort and what you hope to achieve. Another option is to pipe data out of each system into a common database to report across all the tools. There are several different ways to deal with this challenge. Happy to talk further if helpful!

Jackie: Rather than undermine, I think retaining a shared messaging forum for discrete questions is a great way to aid the shift. Not every request or question is tied to a contract, so using a tool that fits the task is essential. For instance, an email to a core or subset of the Legal team for questions that we all need visibility to keeps us on the same page and a public chat channel that supports the tool offers insight to users about how it’s being used by their colleagues (and provides a dedicated medium to communicate updates + tips).

What’s key is to define for our clients how Legal should be engaged and to streamline those processes for the benefit of the legal team members as well.

How do you balance the demands of a roll out with other projects and business-as-usual tasks?

Mary: It’s a matter of prioritization. Think about where the biggest impact is and that’s where you should be spending your time. Oftentimes, an investment in a special project will result in a ton of saved time, effort, and money after it is completed, which will free up more resources for business as usual (BAU). If you keep putting off that investment, it will catch up with you in the long run.

How do we manage change across processes, people, technology, and a diverse culture?

Jackie: I like to prime people for change by contextualizing it, demonstrating it and letting them know when a cutoff will occur. This gives our users time to process it, surface any resistance and experiment with the new behavior. All of this helps to strengthen the quality of the guidance that accompanies the change, by soliciting feedback and uncovering obstacles to adoption.

The transition window should also be tied to the magnitude of a new process. For example, when we transitioned our Salespeople from using an e-signature provider to our CLM for the execution of their contracts, the period for adoption was much shorter (and stricter) than when we introduced the option for them to create their own order forms, which was a more variable process.

To get a sense of the period that would be appropriate, I would recommend taking the beta route with a small group of participants to refine your PPT approach and then working with your users’ team leads to determine the timeline.

What KPIs can help you measure the success of your implementation?

Angela: Less email requests for contract review was our first success point. Over time we have started to track the speed at which we can close certain contracts. Based on a variety of factors that were largely driven by the Business (like reviewing their document first and making sure high frequency issues were addressed by them upfront, making sure our entity name was correct and payment terms were in line) we were able to speed up review and close contracts faster.

How did you manage the build-out of integrations?

Angela: Any good system should not have a problem with this. You should be able to make customizable templated flows or non-templated flows. We have 7 distinct flows that allow different users to start workflows for what their function needs most of the time, but also the one offs that are not part of their specific function. For example, Sales might mostly be customer paper, but occasionally they plan an offsite and submit a caterer agreement or a vendor order for some swag. The workflow is designed mostly for customer contracts and selling, but can accommodate the one off too.

Mary: Agree with Angela here. Find a CLM that can handle all types of agreements, or you will end up with multiple systems and repositories which will make things very difficult for both legal and its stakeholders.

For CLM in global companies, do you think we need to force global templates from the top down to be successful?

Angela: I have not set up a global approach, but I don’t see why it would be different from other templated variabilities. For example, the first question in your NDA drop down could be which country are you in or which country will services be rendered. Based on that, a specific NDA is automatically populated into the workflow.

Mary: Your system should be able to manage that pretty easily. Once your user has chosen the workflow and country, the correct template should populate based on that logic.

Can you offer best practices for training legal and business teams on CLM?

Angela: Lots of availability on your part and working to speak their language. I offer all training materials in several forms (video, memo, and pictorial) as much as possible. Beyond that, I offer open office hours several times a week and let everyone know they are always welcome to add 10-15 minutes to my calendar for questions that can’t wait till open hours.

Jackie: I’ve exclusively offered training in remote environments and generally follow a beta group > team demo > formal release (with instructional guide) structure, followed by 1-on-1s and the occasional workshop as needed. I also keep an eye on new users and am proactive about reaching out to them as they build ‘muscle memory’ with the system.

Similar to Angela, I employ different kinds of media to meet people where they’re at in terms of learning styles (detailed guides, “too long, didn’t read” TLDR; highlights, GIFs, etc.). Lastly, being highly responsive, integrating feedback and sharing a genuine enthusiasm about how our CLM will make our colleagues’ work a little easier have been the icing on my implementation cakes.

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