Over the last few decades, lawyers have embraced technology for all kinds of tasks. We use artificial intelligence to rapidly identify case law precedents, judicial analytics to better predict how judges will rule on issues, automation and advanced document technology to assemble and check our contracts and other documents, and technology-assisted review to conquer piles of ediscovery.
But when it comes to running transactions, firms have been stuck on a slow, expensive, frustrating manual process. It’s time for that to change.
Transaction Management the Traditional Way
Until recently, most law firms and lawyers have handled transactions manually, using time-tested—and now outdated—modalities. Traditional methods for managing deals typically include sharing and negotiating documents via email, making it difficult to locate the latest version and maintain the history in the document management system.
In addition, project updates are commonly communicated through email, which get lost in the inbox, or via conference calls and meetings, where members discuss a deal’s status line by line. Hours can be wasted on these calls as participants review information that is not always relevant to everyone, and the checklists are manually formatted and updated. Every shipping cycle not only introduces security risks and potential delays in the closing process, but also the possibility for undetected changes and confusion over the terms of the deal.
The signature process also consumes a significant amount of time in the closing process. Signature pages are created from scratch or by using copy and paste methods. After the pages are created, signature packets have to be compiled for each signer and distributed via email or post all while someone is manually tracking the status of every signature page. Collecting all the signature pages and creating the executed deal documents can take hours – sometimes days or weeks – and it can take the firm months to deliver the closing binder or bible to their clients and other key stakeholders.
In short, it’s a paper-driven, slow, laborious, error-prone, and risky process—which means it’s frustrating and expensive to boot.
How Technology Revolutionizes Transaction Management
But all that administrative drudgery, as annoying and time-consuming as it is for highly skilled lawyers, is exactly what technology thrives on. There are at least four benefits of technology-driven transaction management.
It’s faster and simpler. With centralized process checklists, digital signatures, and a secure collaborative online workspace, the entire closing process is radically accelerated. At the same time, lawyers are freed up to spend time on value-added activities instead of monitoring version changes and hounding parties for signatures.
It reduces write-offs. It gives lawyers the ability to deliver their clients’ closing books at closing. Having the ability to produce closing books in minutes and automating the steps required in creating, distributing, and tracking signature pages leads to an overall better experience.
It’s less risky. Transaction documents are maintained and negotiated within a secure, encrypted online platform (in any location needed for cross-border compliance) and digitally signed in real time. This eliminates the risk of mailed and emailed documents falling into the wrong hands and simultaneously clarifies changes and comments, reducing the risk of errors in the final document.
It allows for better collaboration. The ability to assign tasks and set reminders for all parties working the deal keeps everyone accountable and everything on track. Real-time status updates—along with clear versioning and a transparent document revision history—allow the parties to collaborate more smoothly and simply.
By leveraging technology, lawyers can manage transactions in hours or days instead of weeks—and they can do so with ease rather than swirling confusion. Plus, technology reduces the risk of version error, improves security, and allows for better collaboration in real time.
At Litera Microsystems, we’ve been helping our clients prepare perfect documents for years. Now, through our recent acquisitions of Doxly and Workshare Transact, we’re making sure our clients don’t have to throw their perfect documents into the morass of manual transaction management. At the end of the day, that leads to happier users and improved client retention.