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.