Insights

September 12 2019

5 Types of Contracts You Should Be Outsourcing

Corporate legal practice generally involves two kinds of work – transactional tasks that are highly nuanced and complex, such as fund formation or tailored M&A agreements, and high-volume legal work that involves routine contracts and processes. This latter category makes up the bulk of the work in most companies, meaning that staff are focusing their time and energy on handling routine tasks rather than work that relates to core business objectives.

Attempting to handle routine legal work in-house is an inefficient use of resources. Outsourcing this work to a specialist, on the other hand, frees up your staff to focus on higher-value work that advances your core business objectives, while ensuring that the more routine work is handled by someone who is dedicated to seeing that it’s done right.

If you’ve been considering legal process outsourcing, these routine, recurring contracts are a great place to start. InCloudCounsel specializes in handling exactly those kinds of matters that don’t require the valuable time of your internal staff.

The following five types of contracts, while crucial to your operations, are time-consuming and highly routine, making them perfect candidates for outsourcing to a contract specialist.

1. Non-Disclosure Agreements

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), also known as confidentiality agreements, are agreements between two parties to keep certain specified information confidential. Under an NDA, you or your deal targets, vendors, or other business partners agree to not disclose things like trade secrets, business plans, or other non-public information to third parties.

Most companies who use NDAs do so under circumstances that continually recur – for example, with every deal target or every vendor. The content of the agreement rarely changes significantly, save for the identity of the counterparty or the description of the information that is not to be disclosed. Therefore, while these agreements are crucial to protecting your business or keeping your deal flow active, they don’t require the attention of your internal staff, who should be focused on more nuanced work. A legal outsourcing provider can easily oversee all your NDAs, ensuring consistency, managing your liabilities, and protecting your interests while you handle higher-value work.

2. Joinder Agreements

Joinder agreements are frequently used by companies to bind new parties to existing contracts, such as NDAs, shareholder agreements, LLC operating agreements, trust agreements, or partnership agreements. Unlike the underlying agreements to which the joinder agreements refer, which require complex negotiations and nuanced wording, the joinder agreements themselves are usually fairly standard.

Because joinder agreements are meant to bind the joining parties as if they were parties to the original agreements, the terms are already set and little negotiation is required. The routine nature of joinder agreements makes them perfect for delegating to legal outsourcing provider.

3. Engagement Letters

Many business relationships start with an engagement letter that defines the relationship and the scope of the parties’ engagement and expectations, including critical factors like compensation and duration. Engagement letters typically follow a fairly standard format.

Because companies can sign so many engagement letters, they are a high-volume task that can take significant time away from other core work when they’re handled in-house. These important contracts are one of the best tasks to outsource to a specialist.

4. Vendor Contracts

If you’re like most companies, you’re working with several vendors at any given time, each with its own agreement defining the scope of the goods or services to be provided. However, while the nature of those goods or services and the price you’re paying for them will vary from vendor to vendor, the other terms of your engagement likely won’t.

The details of how most companies interact with their vendors are usually well established, from confidentiality to security measures. That means that vendor contracts are highly standardized, requiring only a handful of terms to be changed and inserted each time. The routine nature of vendor contracts makes them an ideal task to outsource to a specialist, freeing up your internal workforce to instead focus on core tasks.

5. Non-Reliance Letters

Any company that engages in due diligence should be familiar with non-reliance letters. Prior to any sale, both the buyer and seller typically undertake due diligence, be it for legal, accounting, tax, or other purposes, which results in a due diligence report outlining the relevant findings. Most companies consent to release that report to their counterparties subject to a non-reliance letter that states that the report is being provided for informational purposes only and cannot serve as the basis for any future legal claim

Non-reliance letters are standard documents that incorporate routine clauses protecting the company issuing the letter from liability. Most companies will use the same letter in every instance, changing only the names of the involved parties and the description of the underlying transaction. Because these are routine documents that don’t require much negotiation, they’re ideal for legal outsourcing providers to handle.

Outsource Routine Legal Work to Better Allocate Internal Resources

In order for your company to succeed in a competitive market, your internal staff should be focusing as much of their time as possible on the things that your company is uniquely good at. Any time spent on things other than core business tasks prevents you from achieving your primary objectives as a company.

Routine legal work is hugely time-consuming, and not something that you should be devoting your internal resources to. The contract types outlined above are just a few examples of the kinds of routine tasks that are taking significant time away from core business tasks if you try to handle them in-house.

When you outsource these contracts and other high-volume legal work to an experienced legal outsourcing provider like InCloudCounsel that offers a scalable, end-to-end solution and a proven track record of success, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting high-quality work and that your business interests are being protected. It’s time to leave the routine legal work to the experts and free up your staff to focus on the high-value work that’s crucial to growing your business.

Interested in learning more about our leading solution for routine legal work? Contact us today.

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August 1 2019

The Many Benefits of Modern Document Management Systems

Despite wide adoption of digital record-keeping, the sheer volume and increasing complexity of legal documents continues to slow processes, take up valuable time, and introduce compliance risk if not handled properly.

Implementing a legal tech solution with modern document management functionality can address a series of pain points and unlock an abundance of benefits for corporate legal departments, ultimately freeing up time for internal resources to focus on higher-value tasks. Modern legal document management software can replace inferior practices still prevalent in corporate law and provide legal departments with many value-creating features.

Modern Document Management Systems Enhance Processes

Managing and organizing a high volume of agreements is a necessary byproduct of a most companies’ business operations. The most effective document management systems have been created with features aimed at solving specific pain points above and beyond organization. Here are some of the most beneficial process-enhancing features:

  • Real-time document status: Modern document management software can increase process efficiencies beyond the organization and management of documents by providing the real-time status for any document in the negotiation process. Once the document is finalized, the status turns into an easy to reference summary of how the negotiation process unfolded. Such workflow transparency is unprecedented.
  • Advanced workflows: If In-house corporate legal teams aren’t personally negotiating routine legal work, like NDAs and service agreements, they may need to be informed when a key milestone is met in the negotiation process. Some document management software — including part of InCloudCounsel’s comprehensive solution that automates routine legal work processes — allows users to proactively set email notifications for themselves or others on their team when there is a particular status change that may require their attention. Reminders such as these give added efficiencies to negotiation processes.
  • User-based access permissions: Entire teams should not need to have access to all legal agreements, whether for compliance or other reasons. A modern document management solution should allow for user-based access permissions to control the flow of sensitive information. Such permissions can even be used to add access to relevant third-parties who may need to reference specific agreements, allowing for the sharing of necessary information while preserving the centralized nature of the system.

How to Implement the Right Modern Document Management System

If you’re interested in implementing document management software to achieve some combination of the above mentioned benefits then it’s time to evaluate your current solution. To choose the solution that will best meet your company’s needs, start with a legal technology assessment that summarizes what’s working and not working about your company’s current document management process. To do this, evaluate the effectiveness of every step of the current process by speaking with stakeholders to gain a well-rounded perspective and consider creating a core working team dedicated to outlining the existing pain points that a new system could fix. Next, establish what success looks like with a new system. If the assessment findings reveal that internal staff spend a significant amount of time locating historic documents, for example, a key measure of success would be cutting down document retrieval times.

Companies looking to implement a modern document management system should also consider conducting a broader legal technology assessment across time-consuming processes, such as high-volume legal work, thereby exploring the potential for multiple technology areas to provide substantial value in tandem at various steps in a process. Technologies such as contract data extraction, data management, and legal managed services are all proven areas capable of bringing benefits if used the right way. It’s highly likely that a specific legal process stands to benefit the most from implementing a comprehensive solution that seamlessly blends multiple technologies into one easy to use software platform. That’s exactly what we at InCloudCounsel did to automate and enhances high-volume legal work processes for companies.

Interested in learning more about our solution? Contact us today.

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May 16 2019

Freelance Attorneys: Planning for a More Flexible Legal Career

Freelance legal work offers new possibilities for corporate attorneys interested in a more flexible career path. Advances in technology, combined with a greater openness to flexible work arrangements, allow talented freelance attorneys to practice corporate law from locations of their choosing and at an ideal work volume — tremendous benefits for individuals who require nontraditional work options.

But while flexible legal work can give attorneys the freedom to choose how much time they spend practicing law versus pursuing their other passions in life, the freelance route also presents several unique challenges. It can be difficult, especially with little or no post-law school experience, to build the type of professional network needed to successfully freelance. Vital experiences like filing quarterly taxes or even simply adjusting to being a work from home lawyer are competencies attorneys need to learn before freelancing. Additionally, larger functions like business development and strategy must also be learned to sustain a career in freelance legal work.

The path to freelance legal work

For those who are well-suited and ready to take the leap to flexible legal work, freelancing offers a multitude of benefits. Bolstered by advances in legal technology, attorneys are now able to take on flexible work arrangements while practicing law for some of the world’s leading companies.

However, not all corporate attorneys possess the skills and traits that are critical to a successful freelance career. In order to succeed, attorneys need to have excellent communication and high responsiveness to their clients’ needs — the same kind of skills that are often honed in a large law firm setting. Additionally, as a freelance attorney, you don’t have an established firm with a large support system and reputation to rely on, so impeccable client service and communication is of critical importance.

Freelance legal work may also not be a viable option for inexperienced attorneys fresh out of law school for a variety of reasons. Most law school graduates are saddled with a substantial amount of debt and look to high-paying jobs at top law firms as the fastest way to pay off their debt. Additionally, most freelance attorneys learn the ropes by working in an established practice for a period of time, gaining valuable training and experience that can gain them expert, specialist knowledge in specific practice areas. In addition to offering guidance to newly minted attorneys, law firms also provide access to valuable legal resources (e.g., Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, etc.) that can otherwise be cost-prohibitive for solo legal professionals.

So, for a variety of reasons, flexible legal work becomes more realistic as a secondary path, after an attorney has served in a traditional law firm setting for a period of time following law school. And, unlike the traditional law firm setting, the freelance path provides attorneys the autonomy to structure their personal and professional lives as they see fit. If they decide that more time is needed to care for family commitments or to pursue other life passions, freelancers have the option of adjusting their workload. Whether you’re a new parent, an aspiring entrepreneur, or someone who prefers a less demanding work schedule, freelance work allows attorneys to design a truly flexible practice.

How to prepare for a career as a legal freelancer

For many corporate attorneys, freelance legal work represents a logical step forward in their career progression. However, success as a freelance lawyer involves much more than simply hanging a shingle. To achieve your goals, you will need the right mix of experience and knowledge. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Become a specialist in your craft. Remote law jobs require a combination of client awareness, responsiveness, and relevant experience. Big Law experience can be very useful for landing high-quality clients, and experience in specific contract types (e.g., NDAs, joinders, etc.) is vital. In many cases, successful freelancers specialize in routine legal work that can be easily outsourced to remote talent.
  2. Familiarize yourself with legal technology. Technology plays a central role in flexible legal work. Since not all Big Law firms have fully embraced the latest advanced technologies, you may need to branch out to learn what legal tools and platforms are at the cutting edge in the industry. By tapping into resources outside your firm, you can gain additional insights about what legal technologies you may encounter as a freelancer, such as document management and contract data extraction software.
  3. Build and maintain a network. When you work as a freelance lawyer, you serve as your own business development apparatus and are even responsible for some administrative tasks. For these attorneys, contacts and a healthy network are essential for landing steady work, and additional resources may be necessary to help handle administrative tasks. Many freelancers are now partnering with alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) to secure a steady stream of work and get access to resources that help alleviate some administrative burdens and so they can stay focused on practicing law.

Freelance legal work can be a rewarding, more flexible alternative to working at a traditional law firm. With the right network, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit, attorneys can take the skills they honed in the corporate world and work with world-class clients, but on their own terms. Furthermore, partnering with an ALSP such as InCloudCounsel can give you a flexible, remote work arrangement with top-tier clients while caring for some administrative tasks such as billing. Interested in learning more about work opportunities with InCloudCounsel’s remote network of expert corporate attorneys? Click here to learn more.

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May 2 2019

What General Counsels Should Consider When Choosing An ALSP

Alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) are playing an increasingly valuable role in effectively delivering corporate legal process outsourcing services. With the right ALSP in their corner, general counsels can tap into a range of benefits, including increased process efficiencies, greater cost savings, and internal resources that are freed up to focus on higher-value tasks.

However, general counsels interested in reaping the benefits of a legal tech solution from an ALSP will find an abundance of options on the market. Although engaging a first-rate ALSP can be a relatively simple process, selecting a provider capable of meeting the organization’s needs is not as straightforward as it seems. Given the number of ALSPs in the market and the unique needs of every corporate legal department, general counsels must know how to identify the most suitable solutions provider and lay the groundwork for an effective relationship.

How to Identify the Right ALSP Partner and Prepare for a Successful Relationship

ALSPs are instrumental in helping general counsels bring digital transformation to their department and unlock an abundance of benefits. General counsels should first ensure they are choosing the right ALSP, as there are a variety of options on the market with a wide-range of strengths and weaknesses. To maximize value and ensure a smooth transition of services to an ALSP, companies should adequately prepare and understand what to expect with a new engagement.

With that in mind, general counsels should carefully consider the following when engaging an ALSP:

  1. Assess internal needs and align them with the right provider. The process of identifying and selecting the right ALSP requires an acute awareness of the legal department’s needs. General counsels should initiate an audit of the entire legal function to identify processes that could benefit the most from outsourced legal services. Knowing the type of work — whether it’s a document management solution for routine agreements such as joinders, confidentiality agreements, vendor contracts or other solutions such as contract data extraction — that can be outsourced helps narrow the selection process to ALSPs that specialize in specific types of work. For example, some ALSPs offer legal tech enabled solutions that employ a large network of freelance attorneys that are experts in specific document types, such as high-volume legal work.
  2. Identify a partner that can streamline onboarding. One misconception in partnering with an ALSP is that the initial engagement always takes significant time and energy upfront. It is true that the handoff process for legal services can be complex. However, an experienced ALSP should utilize a customizable yet proven process to make for a smooth onboarding experience. During any ALSP engagement, it is important for each function of the organization to have documented, built-out processes that are clearly communicated and transferred. Onboarding becomes difficult when these processes and documentation do not exist or are incomplete. A strong partner helps to facilitate the process; for example, the ALSP can create a clearly defined playbook that helps to guide processes consistently and effectively.
  3. Evaluate and iterate after the engagement begins. A partnership with an ALSP can’t run on auto-pilot. During the first several months, the services being completed by the ALSP should be regularly evaluated. When evaluating the effectiveness of an engagement, general counsels must also determine if they have solved the problem they set out to fix. If increasing process efficiencies was the goal, general counsels should verify that such processes have become more effective than when they were handled internally or by a traditional law firm. If it is determined that these goals have not been met, general counsels should be able to work with their ALSP to identify opportunity areas and implement process improvements.
  4. Humanize the process. When implementing a legal process outsourcing solution focused on improving work quality, increasing process efficiencies, and achieving cost savings, the human element can sometimes be overlooked. General counsels stand to achieve the greatest success through fostering strong human relationships both internally with key stakeholders and externally with the ALSP, ensuring that open, collaborative communication occurs. This ensures mutual understanding and alignment with respect to improvements and changes to existing processes.

If properly set up and managed, an ALSP relationship can raise the quality of work output, create significant cost savings, and free up bandwidth for teams to focus on higher impact work. By adhering to some best practices prior to the engagement and after its launch, general counsels can ensure a seamless and successful implementation. And, by making the proper considerations and decisions upfront, an ALSP partnership can prove to be a valuable asset in the long term.

Want to learn how InCloudCounsel can be your long term partner for automating and enhancing your high volume legal processes? Contact us to find out.

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March 28 2019

How the Role of General Counsel is Changing

The days when general counsels (GCs) focused entirely on advising companies about legal risks are over. In today’s corporate legal environment, GCs are expected to provide strategic advice to top-level decision-makers and to help grow the business.

The evolution of the general counsel role creates both added pressure to move the needle on business performance and an obligation to do more with less. In response, GCs must innovate to achieve desired outcomes and fulfill their role as valued internal partners. For most GCs, this means embracing technology and alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) as key resources in corporate legal processes.

From risk advisors to strategic business leaders

Historically, GCs advised their companies on legal risks and shouldered responsibility for the organization’s legal work, but rarely engaged in top-level decision making. However, corporate leaders increasingly expect GCs to participate in strategic advisory for compliance, contract negotiations, corporate ethics, transaction monitoring, and many other activities that extend well beyond the traditional boundaries of the general counsel position. In some corporations, GCs are even asked to serve as board members.

As a result of their expanded responsibilities, 88 percent of GCs believe they play a strategic role in corporate decision making, according to Ashurst. In some ways, the general counsel position has transformed into something akin to a C-suite role—GCs must now make decisions that generate measurable business value.

Although GCs command a louder voice in corporate decision making, the general counsel’s expanded role as a strategic business leader also presents new challenges, including an urgency to demonstrate the legal function’s role in improving business performance. In fact, Ashurst’s data shows that a significant majority of GCs (83%) now feel pressure to improve the efficiencies of their function and to reduce costs.

The expansion of the general counsel’s responsibilities reflects its growing importance to the business. As those responsibilities continue to rise, GCs must adapt their strategies and embrace innovations that create business value and demonstrate how the legal function directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

Technology and legal managed services are vital to the general counsel’s success

Technology offers a solution for GCs feeling the weight of added workload and management responsibilities. Proven, low-risk solutions enable GCs to improve the quality of work output, increase efficiency, and streamline work processes. Although GCs are tasked with mitigating risk, they must adopt an approach to implementing legal technology that balances risk against the ability to generate value for the business.

The use of low-risk technology may be most beneficial in the area of routine legal work. For example, legal contract management systems manage multiple drafts of agreements over the course of negotiations, creating a system that allows GCs and other leaders to monitor the status of active negotiations in real time.

Similarly, GCs can leverage the power of legal technology in contract data extraction solutions that are designed to uncover insights that produce more favorable outcomes at lower costs in future agreements. By capturing key terms as data points and generating reporting across document types to identify trends in agreements, contract data extraction solutions help GCs eliminate the guesswork from advising on legal outcomes and reduce the bias of recalling only memorable transactions that may not accurately reflect true outcomes.

Some legal managed services combine advanced, cloud-based technologies with a remote work model to deliver outsourced legal services for NDAs, joinders, engagement letters, and other types of routine legal documents. ALSPs give GCs access to an expanded pool of legal talent with narrow specializations, improving the cost efficiency of the company’s legal function, while simultaneously resulting in a higher quality of work.

In many cases, piecemeal solutions lack the strategic value and cost efficiency of a consolidated approach. Savvy GCs typically optimize performance and maximize return on investment by focusing on integrated, end-to-end solutions that combine proven legal technologies with legal managed services, including ALSPs.

The evolving nature of the general counsel role represents a win-win for both companies and legal departments. By embracing their new role as strategic business leaders, GCs are in a better position to manage risk and influence the future of the business.

However, navigating the additional workload and responsibilities of their expanded role requires GCs to move beyond the status quo and explore new ways to generate value for the business. The combination of technology and legal managed services offers GCs reliable tools for improving both performance and efficiency—factors that will ultimately determine their success as strategic business leaders.

InCloudCounsel offers a global, end-to-end legal tech solution that automates and enhances routine legal processes, helping to free up GCs so they can stay focused on high-impact work. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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March 14 2019

Data Management: An Important Legal Tech Solution for General Counsels

In the legal industry, compliance and risk concerns often require a cautious approach to the adoption of new legal technologies. However, as nascent technologies mature, in-house legal teams are embarking on digital transformation journeys that incorporate data management and outsourced legal services into the practice of law.

Given the vast amount of business and legal data available to in-house teams, data management is emerging as a key priority for in-house legal teams. Yet, the prospect of using data as a catalyst for digital innovation presents several key questions for general counsels:

  1. Which processes are most ripe for data management improvements?
  2. How can in-house legal teams best leverage legal technology to make better use of their data?
  3. What steps should in-house legal teams take to ensure the security of legal and business data when implementing such legal tech solutions?

By addressing these questions and gaining greater clarity about data management best practices, in-house legal teams can lay the groundwork for the secure and effective use of data as a business asset.

Legal AI-enabled solutions create new opportunities for in-house legal teams

Artificial intelligence (AI) provides a key to unlocking data management opportunities in the legal space. When routine tasks are offloaded to AI-powered applications from outsourced legal services, attorneys can better maintain focus on core responsibilities. Ultimately, these AI-human pairings make legal workflows more efficient and accurate.

The automation of historically manual and routine compliance processes can reduce the potential for human error and ensures that protocols are followed. For example, automated solutions can alert attorneys to take action upon the occurrence of certain events, such as when a contract contains a restrictive covenant or a critical date is approaching.

Some of the data-based processes that are ripe for digital transformation through the use of legal AI and other legal tech solutions include:

  1. Document abstracting. In the past, document abstracting has been a manually intensive process, making it both inefficient and prone to human error. When paired with experienced and specialized attorneys, AI-enabled technologies streamline the document abstracting process by summarizing key terms and verifying their accuracy against contractual provisions. With InCloudCounsel’s solution, the key terms of a finalized agreement are entered as data points, linked to specific language in an agreement and then turned into an easy-to-reference scorecard. From there, companies can tap into scorecard data to create interactive reports and data visualizations.
  2. Data-driven insights. Legal departments generate vast amounts of business and legal data that can be harnessed to uncover insights capable of generating value for the firm and its clients. With a contract data extraction solution, corporate legal teams can leverage analytics to unearth key trends. Private equity sponsors, for example, are often interested in analyzing terms of their stock purchase agreements. Collecting data points on indemnity caps, baskets, and survival allows them to negotiate future agreements more effectively. As a result, they’re better positioned to achieve better outcomes at a lower cost and in a faster time period.
  3. Real-time negotiation tracking. In most in-house legal departments, simply monitoring active negotiations requires a herculean effort and there are no guarantees that leaders have ongoing visibility into important matters. Advanced data management solutions track the status of the active negotiations in real time and ensure constant visibility into the status of material issues.

Data security best practices for in-house legal teams

While in-house legal teams stand to benefit from utilizing AI-enabled legal technologies to improve their data management practices, they need to ensure that any outsourced legal service contains an enterprise-grade security infrastructure. With cybercriminals increasingly targeting businesses of all sizes, it’s more important than ever for decision-makers to re-evaluate their legal team’s ability to protect business and client data from unauthorized access.

Partnering with a data management service can bring significant benefits for in-house legal teams. When evaluating the flow of data both internally and with legal process outsourcing partners, it’s critical to assess the security of existing systems and to identify vulnerabilities. In some cases, additional legal technologies or strategies may be required.

Additionally, firm leaders need to gain clarity about the security status of the firm’s legal technology solutions. For example, at InCloudCounsel, we provide data encryption, redundant storage and backup, certified ISO27001 and SOC 1/2 data center hosting, regular security audits and testing, and other capabilities within our robust security infrastructure.

Taking the next step in improved data management

At InCloudCounsel, our end-to-end legal process outsourcing solution to automate routine legal processes includes a software platform with comprehensive data management features. Combined with our network of expert attorneys, we help hundreds of companies operate more efficiently, better manage compliance obligations, and gain valuable insights about their business and the broader market. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.

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February 21 2019

3 Steps for Managing High-Volume NDAs

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) play an essential role in important legal matters. Without NDAs, some of the world’s largest corporate transactions could be subject to substantial business and legal risk.

For large companies, a high volume of NDAs is a given—but also a challenge due to the drawbacks of traditional solutions for completing and managing the work. Although some companies tap internal resources to handle routine legal work, these individuals often lack the bandwidth. Time spent handling NDAs comes at a cost as time is taken away from higher impact work. In some cases, they may even lack the expertise required to effectively negotiate and manage these recurring agreements.

Other companies outsource routine legal work to traditional law firms, but the work usually falls to generalist, junior staff, while the firm charges their costly standard rates.

What can companies do to effectively handle a high volume of NDAs in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, while also yielding a high-quality output? To uncover an ideal NDA solution for their processes, companies can follow several steps.

  1. Outsource the work to an ALSP – Outsourcing to a third party is the most efficient way to handle the high volume of NDAs that most companies face. However, general counsels must take precautions and engage the right kind of third party. Alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) offering legal technology-enabled solutions serve as the ideal option for outsourcing recurring agreements because they can offer faster completion of NDAs at a substantially lower cost than traditional law firms—and with better end results.
  2. Leverage specialization – When you’ve made the decision to turn to a legal process outsourcing partner, it’s not enough to simply find someone capable of taking over your NDA workload. Although NDAs are common agreements for corporate transactions, effective negotiation and management still requires specialized document and industry expertise. Your in-house legal team should select an ALSP that offers a solution that includes highly experienced attorneys who specialize in NDAs and understand your industry.
  3. Evaluate the role of technology – The specialist ALSP you choose to engage for your NDA needs should include best-in-class technology as part of its solution. Cloud-based platforms offering document and workflow management features can drive substantial process efficiencies. In addition to providing efficiency benefits, contract data extraction technology allows valuable insights to be exacted from business and legal data in NDAs. For example, companies can identify trending terms across NDAs, helping them to approach future negotiations more effectively and better manage compliance obligations.

NDAs play an important role in corporate transaction processes. Without the right solution for handling them, companies are vulnerable to potential process inefficiencies, higher costs, and poor outcomes. ALSPs can offer solutions combining specialist-level resources with cutting-edge technology to handle NDAs without the pain points of traditional approaches.

Looking for a better way to handle your NDAs? InCloudCounsel combines some of the world’s best corporate attorneys with cloud-based document management and reporting software to offer a scalable, end-to-end solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work that helps companies streamline processes, free up resources, and achieve substantial cost savings.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide substantial value to your company.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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