January 14 2019

Inside InCloudCounsel’s European Expansion

At InCloudCounsel, we believe the most effective way to serve enterprise customers is to deliver a comprehensive, global solution to a problem. This belief was central in our decision to set up dedicated operations in Europe by opening an office in London.

By doing so, we’re able to provide our end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work to a greater number of companies across Europe. This milestone also represents an important step forward in our quest to deliver a truly seamless global solution to our large enterprise clients, with plans to work in all major legal markets in Europe and open an office in Asia-Pacific by year-end. Our expansion also creates valuable corporate legal work opportunities for highly experienced lawyers who are seeking a flexible work arrangement.

What factors played into the expansion, and who did we select to run our new international operations? Read on for the details.

Why the expansion?

From the beginning, many of our global clients have said that when it comes to negotiating and managing routine legal work, they experience the same pain points in their European divisions as they do in the U.S. They’re generally stuck choosing between two imperfect options: sending the work to a traditional law firm (and paying high rates for it to be handled by junior, generalist attorneys) or trying to find the right internal staff to effectively handle the work, ultimately taking focus away from the core aspects of their jobs.

Outsourcing legal work to InCloudCounsel’s network of highly experienced remote lawyers working on our cloud-based platform offers a best-in-class solution that can help large companies streamline processes, free up resources, and save money.

London was the natural choice for our first European office because it’s widely regarded as a business and legal hub of Europe.

According to Research and Markets’ Legal Services Global Market Report 2017, the U.K. was the largest European legal market in 2016, accounting for about $45 billion or 7 percent of the global market. From a business perspective, London hosts 40 percent of the European headquarters of the world’s top companies, according to Deloitte.

Based on these numbers, it’s clear that London is home to an abundant number of companies that could benefit from our end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work.

InCloudCounsel’s London leader

Once we set our sights on establishing operations in London, we had to find the right person to run our new office. We sought a leader with deep experience in corporate and international law based in London and attuned to the European legal landscape.

Our search led us to Bridget Deiters. Bridget joins InCloudCounsel as Managing Director, U.K. Prior to InCloudCounsel, Bridget practiced corporate and capital markets law at Kirkland & Ellis and Cravath in London. Bridget holds a J.D. from Georgetown and a B.A. from Yale, and she brings extensive international legal experience to our company.

Looking forward

We couldn’t be more excited about the increased value that our European expansion will allow us to bring to our large enterprise clients. With our London presence established, we welcome the opportunity to spread our best-in-class solution to other large companies throughout Europe.

With increased access to a wider international audience, we’ll continue to grow our network of remote lawyers by providing a uniquely flexible yet steady work arrangement. As we aim to open our first office in Asia-Pacific by year-end, we foresee even more growth in both our attorney network and the volume of enterprises with access to our offering, putting us well on our way to providing clients with a truly global offering wherever they operate.

Interested in learning more about InCloudCounsel’s global, end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work? Contact us today.

Want to learn more about work opportunities for highly experienced, U.K.-qualified lawyers? Click here to view opportunities in our network.

Read More →
January 10 2019

Why Corporate Attorneys Exit Big Law

Corporate attorneys in the Big Law world accept long work hours as part of their career paths, but the time requirements of a Big Law career can make it challenging to focus on (and achieve) goals outside of work. In the end, some attorneys have to choose between staying with their corporate legal careers or leaving to pursue other goals or life events.

The simple truth is that the long work days and high billable hour requirements in traditional practice have caused talented attorneys to leave the legal profession. But the rise of flexible work arrangements via alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) means the legal profession no longer has to lose some of its brightest minds—only that some of those legal minds may realistically choose not to work such long hours.

Why do corporate attorneys leave Big Law careers?

Attorneys step away from legal careers at Big Law firms for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the reason may be to pursue an important personal goal. But in other cases, attorneys leave Big Law careers due to life events that may or may not fall within their control:

  • Pursuing a career change – No profession is immune to turnover caused by employees’ desire to pursue a new calling. In the legal field, one survey found that up to one-third of lawyers consider leaving the profession to find their way in a new industry. Simultaneously, "side hustles" have risen in popularity. Some attorneys leave Big Law because succeeding at a side hustle isn’t possible while working so many hours—working at a traditional law firm doesn’t leave much time to explore a new field or line of work on the side. Ultimately, corporate attorneys have to decide if they want to continue their commitment to working long hours on complex matters or if they want to pursue a path that offers more flexibility.
  • Starting a family – Parenthood is a life-changing decision that forces people to juggle multiple priorities. But in Big Law, attorneys must be always on, making it difficult to dial back a work schedule. Transitioning to a part-time legal position doesn’t always feel like a viable alternative for many lawyers preparing to be parents. While some Big Law firms offer part-time policies, one-third of attorneys who work at these organizations have not taken advantage of part-time work opportunities for a variety reasons, including concern about the feasibility of practicing a demanding type of law in a part-time context.
  • Relocating outside of a major city – Big Law jobs are primarily concentrated in major cities. If an attorney starts their career at a Big Law firm in a big city, but then decides to move to a rural or suburban area, they have to leave their firm and forego working with high-caliber clients since these firms aren’t likely to offer remote legal jobs. But there are a variety of life changes that draw professionals to less urban locations. Whether it’s raising a family, moving closer to loved ones, moving for a spouse’s career or just a lifestyle preference, legal professionals value location independence.
  • Caring for themselves or a loved one – An attorney may become ill and need time away from work to recover, or may experience a loved one falling ill and need to take leave to care for them. Either of these scenarios could involve temporary relocation in order to seek treatment or be with an ill family member in another city or state. But coming back to the office from an extended leave and returning to a normal work pace can be challenging. Attorneys have to ramp up their billable hours and advocate to work on upcoming projects. Some attorneys decide to leave rather than go through the process of reintegrating themselves into the life of the firm.

New opportunities for flexible corporate law work

Imagine if there was a way for talented attorneys to practice corporate law with world-class clients and still achieve true flexibility. Attorneys desiring to continue practicing at a high level while also pursuing other passions or needing to practice remotely would enjoy access to the best of both worlds. The good news is that this opportunity already exists.

At InCloudCounsel, we offer corporate attorneys with Big Law experience the opportunity to set their own hours and choose their homebase. As a result, our attorneys have accomplished some pretty spectacular goals on the side, while being engaged and motivated to provide exceptional service and legal work to Fortune 500 clients.

From writing children’s books to working with Cirque du Soleil to starting a family, InCloudCounsel has seen how top-notch corporate lawyers benefit from flexibility. The benefits are also realized by clients, who receive expert-quality work from highly experienced attorneys specializing in the routine legal documents they need negotiated.

Interested in putting your corporate law background to use in a new way while accessing total flexibility in your work schedule? Reach out to learn more.

Read More →
December 13 2018

Managing the Hidden Costs of Routine Legal Work

There’s a reason why large companies turn to traditional law firms to help facilitate their most significant business transactions. With so much at stake, the most complex aspects of an agreement need to be managed by highly specialized experts.

But along with these bespoke, highly complicated matters come plenty of high-volume, routine legal documents, such as non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and vendor contracts. Finding the right party to handle this work isn’t as clear as finding the right one for larger matters.

Law firms and internal resources are traditional, but imperfect solutions for effectively handling routine legal work, due to multiple factors such as turnaround time, attorney fees, and lack of expertise. There has to be a better way—and thanks to today’s technology, there is.

Traditional law firms are expensive

In the world of large transactions, traditional law firms are often the go-to solution for companies’ most challenging legal work. They serve as a safe option because they are trustworthy. To maintain client relationships, many of these firms take on routine legal work when they’re asked, even though it’s not their core competency. Thanks to their stellar reputations, no one worries that a firm like Kirkland & Ellis or Cravath will make errors on routine legal documents.

But having a traditional law firm handle routine legal work tends to be inefficient and expensive. While a traditional law firm may negotiate routine legal work for the sake of a client relationship, it's not necessarily delegated to the attorney with the most specialized experience in that document type. Instead, it’s delegated to the attorney who has available bandwidth or an associate supporting the partner who manages that client. The turnaround time isn’t ideal because these resources are continually devoting a significant amount of time to other, higher priority work. Since the work is billed against the standard rate card, it can also incur a significant financial cost to the client.

The cost concern is significant for in-house counsel since 93 percent of legal departments note that controlling outside counsel costs is a key priority, according to Thomson Reuters. Another survey of in-house counsel found that participants spent an average of $4.2 million on legal services and attorney fees each year. The fees that companies accrue in sending routine legal work to traditional law firms run counter to their goal of cost containment.

Internal teams lack bandwidth

Some companies assign internal resources to high-volume legal work in lieu of sending it to a traditional law firm. This could include in-house counsel or even business resources such as deal team members. For both groups, routine legal work can take time and focus away from the core aspects of their jobs. Because handling routine legal work is additive to employees’ roles, it can limit the bandwidth to care for the work, which can pose a risk to the overall speed and efficiency of the process.

Additionally, when internal resources in a business function are tasked with negotiating routine agreements, they do so at a disadvantage because they don’t possess a formal legal education. And since their interests primarily lie in moving the deal forward quickly rather than mitigating risk, companies may find themselves with less-than-ideal negotiation outcomes.

The emerging option: legal tech

Over the past decade, a handful of players have pioneered the legal tech space. These innovators have capitalized on the rise of tech and software to find solutions for addressing multiple pain points in the legal process.

While the corporate law industry is risk-averse by nature when it comes to embracing new technologies (and rightfully so), engaging with the right legal tech solutions is no longer a gamble. The companies that have already adopted legal tech solutions are reaping the benefits and have a leg up on their competitors. Bringing legal tech into the equation often increases process efficiencies, lowers costs, and allows for better quality legal work.

InCloudCounsel is a legal technology company that has created an ideal solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work, combining cloud-based workflow and data management software with a virtual network of the world’s best solo practitioners. The result is a solution that’s uniquely high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective.

The attorneys working in our network possess expertise in specific document types such as NDAs, vendor agreements, and engagement letters. By focusing our solution on the routine legal work niche, we’re delivering high-quality work while helping clients achieve a 70% average cost savings compared to their prior outsourced solution and freeing up thousands of hours of internal resources’ time.

To learn more about our scalable, end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing your company’s routine legal work, contact our team today.

Read More →
November 15 2018

The Case for Freelance Corporate Attorneys

In the legal profession, traditional law firms are usually associated with cream-of-the-crop attorneys and a flawless end product for their legal services—and rightfully so. Some of the most talented attorneys commit to a Big Law career and go on to be extremely successful, reaping financial and professional benefits with many even making partner at their firms.

Producing the quality and quantity of work expected by a traditional law firm requires a significant commitment that can force attorneys to sacrifice aspects of their personal lives to allow for more time in the office. But those demands, which often entail an intense workload and stringent hours, aren’t the right fit for those who cannot or do not want to make such sacrifices.

In the past, the accommodation of personal goals outside of work meant that some top-tier corporate law talent would have to pursue alternative outlets to continue practicing corporate law, which would often mean having to work with less sophisticated clients. InCloudCounsel provides freelance corporate attorneys the opportunity to achieve the flexible work arrangement they desire, while still practicing law for some of the world’s leading companies.

On the client side, working with freelance corporate attorneys offers its own benefits. Aided by cloud-based technology, large companies have access to an ever-increasing pool of highly experienced, specialist attorneys that can deliver a cost-effective, high-quality solution for negotiating and managing their routine legal work.

Benefits for attorneys

The legal industry is evolving and making space for a greater breadth of work arrangements. Freelance legal work opportunities provide corporate attorneys with several important benefits.

For one, freelance legal work enables flexible work hours and geographic independence. Instead of working under the constraints established by an employer, freelance attorneys practice law from their own home base and on their own schedule. Because freelance attorneys are not limited to working in major cities for access to the best clients, they can move closer to family or relocate to areas with a lower cost of living.

Freelance legal work also offers the ability to pursue other passions. With a flexible workload and schedule that works best for them, attorneys benefit from the ability to focus on other important aspects of their lives. For these talented professionals, having flexibility with corporate legal work means having enough time to commit to other passions or interests, whether that be spending more time with family, founding a startup, or traveling the world.

Benefits for companies

Large companies that use freelance corporate attorneys are able to address pain points in their existing legal document processes, especially when it comes to routine legal work. Previously, companies would only have two options for handling their routine legal work—outsourcing it to a traditional law firm or handing it to internal resources. Neither option is ideal.

When the work is handled by a traditional law firm it gets completed by junior, generalist attorneys who are less experienced and don’t possess specialist knowledge by document type. This often results in slower turnaround times and potentially less than ideal quality of outputs, on top of being billed against the firm’s standard hourly rate card. When the work is handled by internal resources it takes precious time away from the core aspects of people’s jobs. In some cases, the individuals who are assigned the work may not possess a formal legal education.

Using freelance corporate attorneys as part of a legal technology solution can eliminate these pain points. InCloudCounsel offers an ideal solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work by combining a virtual network of highly experienced, specialist attorneys with best-in-class, cloud-based technology. The result is a uniquely efficient and high-quality solution that helps companies save time, free up internal resources, and substantially reduce legal costs.

Looking ahead

The traditional career path for corporate lawyers has remained unchanged for many years, with few options available to attorneys interested in pursuing opportunities outside of the traditional law firm environment. As the gig economy continues to gain traction in the legal industry, both attorneys and corporations can expect to see more corporate lawyers going the freelance route, giving them the freedom to build the practices they want in order to live the lives they want to lead.

If you’re a highly experienced corporate attorney ready to achieve this freedom for you and your practice then apply to opportunities in our attorney network today.

Interested in learning more about how InCloudCounsel’s scalable, end-to-end solution can help your company save time, free up resources, and significantly reduce legal costs? Request a live demo today.

Read More →
October 25 2018

Unleashing the Potential of AI and Human Teams in the Legal Space

We’re hearing a lot of talk in the tech world about how artificial intelligence (AI) will change the way we work. Inevitably, conversations broach the possibility that AI will displace humans in the workplace. Some even estimate that automation and AI will replace as many as 800 million jobs over the next 13 years.

But most of the conversations taking place around AI don’t take into account the potential of AI and humans working together. It’s worth noting because this pairing is already reshaping the way we approach common tasks across the business world, including within the legal industry.

How can humans and AI work together?

For certain tasks, the marriage of people and AI can accomplish more than either humans or machines are able to accomplish separately. Rather than replacing living, breathing workers, embracing both means recognizing that AI and humans complement each other in ways that go far beyond the processes most organizations currently rely on to achieve their goals.

Nearly all industries recognize that artificial intelligence is coming and will be a part of how they do their work. While the extent to which specific industries and even organizations will rely on AI varies, there’s a growing consensus that people will continue to remain an important part of the equation.

To understand humans’ evolving role, we need to remember that AI and humans offer different skill sets to the organization. While it’s possible to apply AI to certain tasks, others are difficult or impossible to apply it to. These tasks require human intervention simply because humans are better at accomplishing them. This is especially true for specialized tasks and processes that fall beyond the parameters of AI technology.

Salesforce recently offered a good example of how the AI-human relationship plays out in the real world. Over the past few decades, the U.S. Postal Service automated 99 percent of its processes. But while that seems like a lot (and it is), 1 percent of postal processes still require humans to accurately sort the mail. With more than 500 million pieces of mail passing through USPS’ doors each day, that means 5 million mailed items a day would be undeliverable without human employees.

Embracing the union of manpower and AI power works in a similar way. While AI dramatically improves the organization’s ability to handle routine tasks, humans continue to play a vital role in achieving key objectives. In many cases, AI improves our ability to achieve those objectives accurately and efficiently.

AI-human teams change the game in legal tech

Legal tech is an ideal candidate for the teaming up of humans and AI. Why? Because a significant percentage of legal work involves routine tasks that still demand the attention of specialized attorneys.

Consider NDAs. Most large companies negotiate these routine legal documents at the onset of a significant transaction. These documents need to be completed quickly and effectively, and an experienced, specialized attorney as well as AI each have an appropriate role in that process. But in a typical scenario, the company turns to internal resources or a Big Law firm for assistance—both of which can be costly in their own right.

For years, standard procedure for abstracting documents has involved humans taking the whole process on themselves—a process which has functioned just fine. But InCloudCounsel’s document abstracting process for routine legal work combines highly experienced, specialist attorneys and AI to deliver an even more efficient process and higher quality end result.

While InCloudCounsel attorneys handle the negotiating of an agreement, they are assisted by AI when abstracting the key terms of an agreement onto an easy to reference summary called a “scorecard.” AI helps verify the accuracy of the key terms by checking them against the provisions in the actual contract, reducing the risk for human error. The attorney saves time by harnessing AI to efficiently deliver a highly accurate product. As a result, clients can count on improved efficiency, accuracy and overall higher quality of output.

AI is already changing legal tech in important ways. But more often than not, we’ll find that the best use of the technology involves the winning combination of AI with the specialized expertise of actual attorneys.

Read More →
October 5 2018

Solving the Routine Legal Work Challenge

For large companies, high-volume but necessary recurring legal documents—such as NDAs, vendor contracts and other simple agreements—present a unique issue.

When negotiating multi-billion dollar transactions, completing routine agreements may not be the highest priority for busy in-house legal teams. But while in-house attorneys need to stay focused on more complex tasks, high-volume documents still have to be handled quickly and expertly.

Routine legal work can be outsourced to a traditional law firm. However, doing so often comes with a high price tag and generalist, junior-level attorneys negotiating the agreements. For many years, companies simply didn’t have access to an ideal solution to handle this type of work.

Enter InCloudCounsel in 2014

When Troy Pospisil, Ben Levi, and Lane Lillquist came together to form InCloudCounsel, they wanted to solve this unmet need in the marketplace. Their solution was simple: Offer companies a better way to effectively negotiate and manage their routine legal work by combining a virtual network of highly experienced attorneys with best-in-class cloud-based technology.

This solution would help companies to free up in-house resources and drive down legal costs while yielding higher quality work, all while incorporating technology that would drive process efficiencies, increase organization and transparency, and provide a new level of insight through document and legal data management and analytics.

The founders’ unique backgrounds (in finance, law, and tech, respectively) have allowed them to build a company that redefines how organizations can effectively handle their high-volume legal work. In fact, InCloudCounsel is already working with some of the world’s leading companies. This is how it all came together.

Lessons from the business side

Founder and CEO Troy Pospisil started his career in the consulting field, eventually moving into private equity investing. In both fields, he experienced firsthand the inefficiencies that high-volume legal work could create for a large organization.

While working at a private equity firm, one of Troy's responsibilities was to negotiate NDAs, which took some of his focus away from his primary job responsibilities of evaluating investment opportunities. He also realized that there was no good system in place to track document workflow, which created the potential risk that two different deal teams could be negotiating the same NDA. There was similarly no quick way for Troy to check which NDAs were in place or to easily see previously negotiated terms. So, while he didn’t possess any formal legal education, Troy handled the work but recognized that an experienced legal professional would be far better suited to efficiently negotiate the agreements. However, Troy also understood that his in-house legal team wasn’t structured in a way that would afford them the bandwidth to negotiate and manage thousands of routine contract negotiations per year and that outsourcing the negotiation of NDAs to a traditional law firm was not a cost-effective solution. There was no good way for his firm to do the work, and so it became one of his responsibilities.

Lessons from the Big Law side

Truth be told, Big Law firms aren’t ideally suited for handling simple contracts either. Ben Levi, co-founder and COO at InCloudCounsel, started out as a fresh-faced Harvard Law School graduate in Kirkland & Ellis’ Chicago headquarters, where he immediately encountered high-volume work.

While Big Law firms handle routine work for some of their clients, it doesn’t fall within their core business offerings. They exist to advise companies on significant matters, which is why they tend to place generalist, junior-level attorneys on routine contract negotiations.

Consequently, turnaround time for routine legal work is often less than ideal—a product of less-experienced attorneys handling the work, and the fact that it’s low priority work for such highly utilized Big Law attorneys. In addition to long lead times, clients often experience sticker shock after being invoiced for the work, which is billed at the firm’s standard rates.

As for the attorney side of the equation, during his time in Big Law, Ben also realized that there wasn't a good way for top corporate attorneys to practice high-quality law outside of a Big Law firm. It was this observation that created a passion for finding a new solution for great attorneys who didn't want their lives to revolve around their work.

Carving out a new solution for routine legal work

Troy and Ben joined forces to offer InCloudCounsel’s end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work. Shortly after, they teamed up with Lane Lillquist, who joined the company as CTO and became the company’s third co-founder. With his deep software engineering background, Lane helped InCloudCounsel build a proprietary software platform designed to maximize document organization, efficiency, and insight, further bolstering its ability to help large companies save both time and money.

The InCloudCounsel founding team set out to find a way to better deliver a subset of legal services for both clients and attorneys. In so doing, they created a platform that affords its attorneys the flexibility to work part-time from anywhere and the freedom to build a practice that makes sense for the lives that they want to lead. All while helping hundreds of companies around the world streamline their routine legal processes, saving them valuable time and money. With this two-fold challenge that the legal industry and its clients have experienced for years finally addressed with an ideal solution, both sides are free to tackle routine legal work more efficiently than ever before.

Click here to learn more about our scalable, end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing your company’s routine legal work.

Read More →