Changing the approach to the delivery of legal services requires choices to be made. Broadly, these fall into two decisions.
- How can we enact impactful process improvement?
- Should we use technology to do so?
Asking these questions can determine the significance of the necessary change and provide insight into how that change can be achieved, and is the first step in building an “alternative delivery” solution.
Alternative delivery - at its essence - is using the combination of technology and law to change how we deliver legal services. This involves pinpointing inefficiencies in how legal processes are managed for clients and targeting the best approaches to resolving them. Doing so can have several benefits for both clients and lawyers:
- alleviating unnecessary pain points, delays, or problems;
- increasing effectiveness and accuracy of the work produced by reducing human error and risk; and
- providing usable commercial data and insights for clients.
Implementing alternative delivery involves collaboration between legal teams and technologists.
Working in collaboration with our private funds practice, our lawtech team identified one such process: investor onboarding for fundraisings.
Onboarding new investors is a complex and time-consuming process. Satisfying regulatory obligations, ensuring tax compliance and processing data requires close oversight and careful management. Addressing the potential inefficiencies in this process is vital - bottlenecks can form in collecting investor information intended to populate legal documents, such as subscription agreements and other compliance documentation. For a document heavy process such as this, manual data collection can be prone to delay and there is risk of manual error – particularly when investors can number in the hundreds for larger fundraisings.
To address these spotted inefficiencies and pain points, our lawtech team developed an alternative delivery solution called “Onboard” – a digital tool intended to ease the data collection process for investors. It uses a series of “smart” questionnaires to gather data from investors directly, in one specified format and without duplication. Onboard also provides real-time oversight of fundraising and commitment progress, providing a single point of truth for all information relevant to the fund and allowing ease of access for all relevant parties such as fund managers and administrators.
In deciding upon and designing the solution, key aspects of investor onboarding were considered:
- customisation and flexibility: allowing investors to take different approaches to providing their data and adjusting the solution to their requirements;
- objectivity: ensuring the alternative data collection process actually saves time and avoids user error;
- presentation and visualisation: structuring collected data in an intuitive and easily understandable way;
- user experience: keeping the process familiar while making it more manageable for both investors and fund managers.
The key cornerstones of legal service delivery are security, familiarity and trust. It is imperative that alternative delivery approaches provide enhancements to legal processes using technology while maintaining these cornerstones. Grappling with investor onboarding is an example of this alternative delivery at scale – transforming a complex and time-consuming process into a streamlined technology-enhanced system, for the benefit of clients, third-parties and lawyers.