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Executing a successful product vision: An Interview with Karina Brandauer

 

Executing Successful Product Vision:

An Interview with Karina Brandauer

Karina Brandauer is a Product Manager at LexisNexis in Vienna, Austria. Focusing primarily on providing innovative tools and solutions, Karina’s customer orientation and commercialization strategies are among her many specialties. Combining the best technology, data, and design, Karina’s dedication to executing a successful product vision knows no limits.

Karina, what in particular do you find most fascinating about LegalTech?

LegalTech aims to simplify operations, optimize workflows, and improve the overall management of knowledge and information – plus it helps improve effectiveness. So, it basically does what I do as a Product Manager. Generally, LegalTech makes my job a lot easier and helps me save time for other more important tasks, such as building connections through human interactions, and project coordination.

“Generally, LegalTech makes my job a lot easier and helps me save time for other more important tasks…”

Karina Brandauer

Why did you decide to switch to Product Management from Communications? How did you find the transition?

Making that move wasn’t a conscious decision, I had quit my previous job and wanted to take some time off, which I did. One night, sitting in a hotel in Cambodia while travelling through Southeast Asia, I received a call from a friend who asked,” Hey, are you interested in taking my job as Product Manager at LexisNexis?” I thought to myself (and said), “Yeah, why the hell not?”
I love to be constantly learning and growing, and so this sounded like an opportunity to do just that, and it has been amazing. I do have to say however, that I could have picked a better time to start a new role. The pandemic and home office situation made it tricky to get to know my team and to fully settle into my new role, but at this point, I feel very happy and confident in my job, and I haven’t regretted the decision for one second. 

What do you think is the best way to start with document automation?

Always keep the user’s perspective in mind, and never over-complicate the automation process or the actual content. We are very lucky to work with renowned law firms that prepare the content for us and guarantee bullet-proof clauses and state-of-the-art contracts. 

“Always keep the user’s perspective in mind, and never over-complicate the automation process or the actual content.”

Karina Brandauer

What are the top three “must-have” features that companies are looking for in a document automation solution?

From what I’ve heard from our customers, the solution should
a) have an interface that is easy to integrate and intuitive to operate; 

b) be tailored to individual customer needs (e.g. in terms of layout/branding); and
c) be continually improved and further developed 

What are the 2 most important things you have learned while deploying Legito document automation?

At LexisNexis Austria, document automation and contract generation aren’t constant everyday projects, but happen rather, on an ad hoc project-by-project basis, so it could be that we have 4 contracts to automate in May and then no contracts in June or July, so for me, it is important to stay up-to-date about new features, and to continuously work with Legito to avoid losing touch or forgetting anything.

How would you describe the current state of legal tech deployment in Austria? Which industries do you think are most in need of legal tech innovations?

There are some interesting developments happening in Austria right now. I believe Austria is a traditional and rather conservative country when it comes to digital innovations. I recently read a study about the lack of legal tech-related subjects taken during legal education, and that many graduates lack digital literacy. I think students who are devoted to learning about LegalTech and acquire digital and technological skills will have a huge advantage in the job market. On the other hand, I can observe that law firms are beginning to develop their own digital tools and solutions to both acquire customers and convey a technology-savvy image. So slowly but surely, Austria’s legal field is beginning to recognize the importance of LegalTech.

Which departments do you think benefit most from document automation?

So far, our main target group has been people working in labor law, so Human Resources Managers, Payroll Accountants, and such. I believe that every person who creates contracts on a daily basis and spends too much time on repetitive and error-prone tasks can save a significant amount of time with document automation tools. Our focus is now on broadening our offering, and addressing new target groups, communicating the benefits of our solutions.

What documents do you find are automated most frequently?

Among our customers, employment contracts are automated most often. We will soon add partnership and shareholder agreements to our portfolio, and I am very excited to think how these contract types will be received by the users! 

What are your favorite type of automation projects?

In terms of content, I learn a lot while automating employment contracts or any contract related to labor law. Especially since the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent new laws, document automation projects in that field help me keep up with the latest developments and, for example, new home office and working time agreements.

What’s your favorite Gummy Bear Flavor/ Color?

It’s the green one, also my favorite color, so it’s both the prettiest and tastiest. ?

Thank you very much, Karina!

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Partnerships in Implementing Change: An Interview with Filip Ivanov

 

Partnerships in Implementing Change:

An Interview with Filip Ivanov

About Filip

A hands-on automation strategist with experience in business management and IT consulting, Filip Ivanov listens to and engages with businesses to understand what they want to achieve and helps them discover how automation can make those desired outcomes a reality.

Specializing in business process streamlining, optimization and automation, Filip is an ambitious entrepreneur, working towards building a better future for humanity by empowering people to develop love for what they do.

Generally, what drives your passion in technology?

I’m a huge fan of automation! I’ve been working as a consultant in the IT industry for over a decade now, starting at Microsoft Dynamics and eventually moving to implementing solutions such as ClickUp, Outreach, and Legito. Over my career, I noticed the trend of technological solutions becoming more sophisticated and more comprehensive, delivering far greater value than their predecessors from the 80s and the 90s. Previous solutions were very specialized, i.e., accounting specific automation, or automation solutions focused primarily on publishing. Today, companies like those mentioned above and Legito present process based vertical solutions that are applicable across many industries.
I see automation as the transformative event that will create better, more meaningful jobs and will change work habits. For example, as information is received in real-time, and after the decisions are made, the results of those actions are recorded by systems which in turn provide rich data for analysis. This creates an efficiency loop which increasingly speeds up and improves the decision chain process.

“I see automation as the transformative event that will create better, more meaningful jobs and will change work habits.”

Filip Ivanov

What opportunities do you see in your local market for the implementation of smart legal technology?

The landscape in Bulgaria is virgin territory where it comes to smart legal technology. There are ample opportunities ranging from the government sector to the private and administrative sectors, and any industry requiring secure and transparent operations and quality control oversight.
Although recently, as a nation, there has been a strong push towards modernizing the administrative infrastructure with more digital products, large parts of the country still struggle to overcome reliance on archaic tools (e.g. MS Word).

How much time and resources do you think a company should spend on learning about, and keeping at the forefront of, the latest technologies?

Nowadays, Automation has become a business necessity. We are moving toward an ever-growing open market that offers billions of new opportunities. Categorizing and attending to the needs of each opportunity requires the use of dynamic tools. I think there should be a dedicated individual or team within a company that is focused almost exclusively on learning about the latest technologies that could drive the business forward. Additionally, I believe there needs to be a shift in the mindset of management, moving away from doubt and disbelief, and embracing the idea that incredible automation possibilities are possible today!

“Nowadays, Automation has become a business necessity.”

Filip Ivanov

What are your two favorite Legito features? Why?

There are so many, from the ability to restrict a document view solely to sections open for editing to Data Import and Batch Generation. However, I would say the most useful and impressive feature so far is the Audit Trail created from Legito’s Automated Workflows. This nifty feature provides the client with the ability to optimize their document management process with extreme accuracy.

The second feature, and in my opinion of equal importance, are Template Tag Scripts, and generally the tagging and data extraction functionality. The ability of tags to execute scripts based on data entered into dynamic fields places Legito above its peers, and on a totally new level of automation and flexibility!

If asked to provide 3 essential qualities to drive the adoption of a new automation technology, what would you say they were?

I would say the most important quality to have is an experimental mindset. Fear of failure is often the main obstacle against adopting automation technology solutions.
Second, I think there needs to be an understanding among employees and management that automation is the best, if not the only way to increase output while keeping costs and expenses low. Having personnel dependent processes maintains the constant pressure of employee costs (i.e., compensation) while employees themselves are limited by time and physical energy. No matter how much a company offers in pay, there are only a fixed number of working hours per day, and there are limits to how much an individual may multi-task.
Third, but not least, I think it’s incredibly important for the solution to be a suitable fit for the company’s processes. Large companies often make the mistake of choosing large vendors, ignoring the lengthy implementation and high expenses, while vertical solutions which already exist in the market often can do the job just as well and at a fraction of the cost.

How can implementation partners get the most out of a partnership? What should be their relationship goals?

I think it is really important for a partner to get to know the solution inside and out. Understanding the mechanics of the solution gives partners incredible flexibility when they need to provide complex solutions. Working with a success manager and constantly updating your knowledge around the solution gives you the extra edge you need in a competitive market. I also think that if the vendor has a huge network, that is another resource a partner may leverage. Being in contact with other partners helps you build a network of service providers, which allows you to compete for larger projects.

What are you most excited about for the future of legal technology?

I’m looking forward to discovering solutions that address the entire spectrum of legal demands – from document assembly to automatic contract review and decision making. Countries have different approaches toward legal frameworks and as the amount of available information increases exponentially, the need for tools to extract meaning from massive concentrations of information becomes ever so more apparent. As the world gets smaller, I think we are noticing a streamlining in our interactions, including person to person and business to business. This is helping to create a general set of norms by which we can navigate our public interactions.  As commonalities and shared understanding grows, the ability for solution providers to extract this know-how and place it in industry leading products increases.

Thank you very much, Filip!

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Communicating Ideas in LegalTech: Interview with Ray DeSouza

Communicating Ideas in LegalTech:

An Interview with Ray Desouza

About Ray

Ray has spent nearly 20 years working in the litigation, copyrights and trademarks, and contract negotiation fields. 

Working in publishing, financial services, and law firms, Ray has experienced various facets of the challenges facing the industry. As Legito’s Director of Content and Communications Ray combines his passion for writing with an appreciation for secure and efficient document management to ensure that Legito’s great product is communicated clearly.

How did you first get introduced to LegalTech?

In my previous role as a contract negotiator at a firm specializing in providing financial services and data, I learned just how important and useful a streamlined contracts management system could be. Keeping track of contracts was an overwhelming task due to the sheer volume, but if that were the only burden, it could be managed with simple database software.

However, the challenges of i) maintaining secure up-to-date templates; ii) tracking key terms and their negotiated changes; iii) ensuring the legitimacy and consistency of negotiated language; and iv) providing useful reportable data, taught me that a robust contracts automation and management system is necessary for success in any modern legal department.

My entire tenure in this role involved a continual review of current processes, and finding ways to streamline them (I do not exaggerate when I say the ENTIRE duration – building efficient contracting processes was that important).  Speed and Accuracy were always high on the list of priorities, and we regularly explored different document and process automation tools that would best serve that goal. Our mission was to make the legal department a value added partner to the overall business, and to be ready to adapt with the constantly shifting needs of the corporation.

How did you transition into Communications?

I have long held a deep appreciation for the written word, and working as a contract negotiator, I was able to find enjoyment in drafting and revising contract language to fit the needs of any given deal. Often, negotiating parties understand that certain terms are non-negotiable, but phrasing terms in a way that makes the conditions sound more palatable can often quickly smooth the path to a signed contract.

After leaving my prior role, I stumbled upon this opportunity at Legito that not only gave me the chance to draft interesting and enticing content, but also to continue preaching the benefits of process planning and leveraging Contract Lifecycle Management automation tools for efficiency.

What is your biggest piece of advice for a company looking to implement a new Document Automation Solution?

Plan. Plan. Plan.

Many firms love to use the word “technology” as a catch-all term that represents the panacea to all problems that ail them, and as a surefire way to boost efficiency. Simply by purchasing it and “applying it”, the problems would just go away. From my experience, building efficiency doesn’t work this way.

Companies or departments must plan:

  1. Study your current processes – find ways to increase efficiencies before considering external resources.
  2. Study the capabilities of your possible vendor solutions, see how they might fill gaps in your processes and increase efficiency in other areas.
  3. Once a provider has been selected, plan every step of the process. Pre-implementation, implementation, going live, receiving feedback, and making corrections. Bring EVERYONE in. Business Process Planning should be the biggest act of democracy. Users and stakeholders of every level need to have input or at the very least, visibility. If you build the best quote-to-cash system that automates both contracts and invoices, but didn’t use this collaboration opportunity to hear your tax team tell you that the invoice format isn’t compatible with the company’s global accounting software, you’re going to have problems.
  4. With such detailed planning, implementation is a breeze. The inevitable hiccups and delays are mitigated through thorough planning. And the proper preparation will leave you well positioned to gather metrics for reporting and analytics.

If you want to sit back after an successful implementation and say to yourself, “I love it when a plan comes together”, well… you gotta plan.

What is the single biggest asset that will help a legal tech services company succeed?

Communication – Ask your clients what they need. And listen. Ask them if they have product ideas. And listen. Listen to your coworkers, from the accounting team to the janitorial staff. True collaboration can yield fantastic results.

“…And Listen…True collaboration can yield fantastic results.”

Ray DeSouza

What aspects of a document automation solution do you think are most important to a company?
 

  • Intuitiveness
     
    Just about every profession is inundated with tons of fresh information and new tools to learn that are supposed to make work (and life) easier. The last thing any worker wants is to spend an inordinate amount of time learning a new system or process. Document automation solutions should be easy to use and easier to learn. Intuitive products build an employee’s trust in the product, and the company.
  •  

  • Scalability
     
    Known Unknowns….. it sounds silly, but any piece of software needs to anticipate change. Be it a sudden increase in growth, a change in peripheral system software, or new regulatory requirements. The best way to anticipate the unexpected is to remain agile and flexible. Stay abreast of the latest news, talk with competitors and clients, be prepared for a changing landscape.
  •  

  • Metrics
     
    Companies want data. Companies want reports. Companies want Analytics. Although some people like this information purely for the pleasure of waving it around for show, most managers understand how data can drive efficiency and innovation. Even sports managers employ statistics to build and coach successful teams. For many enterprise clients, reporting is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Tell us about your best friend

Augustus. My dog. He’s arguably the prettiest dog this side of the Atlantic. We’ve been together for over 12 years. ‘Gus has been on two continents and has visited at least half a dozen countries. He might understand more languages than I do, but he’s awful when it comes to document automation and cleaning up after himself.

Thank you very much, Ray!

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Supporting Lawyers through Tech: Interview with Roman Kaczynski

Supporting Lawyers via Tech:

Interview with Roman Kaczynski

About Roman

Roman Kaczynski is a lawyer practicing both French and Polish law. Bilingual, bicultural , Roman’s knowledge of the French and Polish legal systems gives him a unique perspective into the needs and challenges of lawyers across both countries and apply the ability to apply the correct technical solution.

With his focus always on the future of the legal profession, Roman has been attentive to trends in legal tech, particularly the application of new technologies in legal practice. The nature of Roman’s field involves many repetitive tasks, and the analysis of large numbers of documents. this being the case, it quickly became obvious that by leveraging the proper legal tech tools, he could drastically improve his work life.

What in particular do you find fascinating about legal tech?

I see legal tech as a way to revolutionize a profession that unfortunately,  has evolved very little since its emergence.

Lawyers are becoming increasingly more involved in all stages of economic activity. And the economy is trending towards optimization and digital transformation, which lawyers must follow in order to remain in line with their clients’ expectations.

I also see legal tech as a  disruptor and redistributor of the cards. In my opinion, legal tech is a huge opportunity for small and medium-sized law firms. These firms, through a well-thought-out and successful integration of new tools, can see their workload capacity explode. 

This is probably what excites me the most: to see the law market completely reshaped thanks to new technological tools.

Obviously, being passionate about law, the emergence of these new modes of legal service provision opens up exciting debates about the ethics of our professions and many other philosophical and ethical issues.

“Automation will soon mean not only efficiency, but also business intelligence.”

Roman Kaczynski

What trends in legal tech do you think can most benefit law firms and companies?

Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly the most exciting subject today, not only in the context of legaltech, but in general. It has always nourished many fantasies and speculations, and even if it remains for me a medium-long term perspective, the opportunities offered by the application of artificial intelligence makes me think that it will be a real turning point!

Moreover, ethical and moral problems in particular take on a completely different dimension when they come up against the law and especially its practice.

What do you think is the best way to start with document automation?

Just try it! 

Really, I think we have gone through everything that word processing tools and spreadsheets could offer us.

The complexity of today’s transactions have far exceeded what a lawyer can reasonably do alone without having one or more juniors available to assist.

To start, I recommend that lawyers automate the documents they use on a daily basis or in recurring projects. Then, analyze the time (and therefore money) saved in order to have a clear idea of what automation has brought. I think that this single step will convince users to automate the rest of the documents in an inventory.

How did you come across Legito and what do you find to be its strengths compared to other document automation solutions?

I’ve been observing Legito for some time now. When I knew they wanted to enter the Polish market, I jumped at the chance. I absolutely wanted to be one of the pioneers of automation in Poland, and I knew that Legito would be the best partner for that.

Among Legito’s many advantages, I would mention here in particular the SaaS model which makes it possible to work on its documents, to observe their evolution and to analyze them from anywhere, or the extremely simple interface which makes it possible to demystify the notion of automation and allows everyone to concentrate on their know-how without having to acquire technical skills.

What are your future plans for document automation?

​I think that once automation is fully integrated into practice, the next step will be to use the data produced.

Indeed, automating is not only about creating intelligent forms, but it is also about rethinking your document management.

Automation, therefore, makes it possible to automatically collect information through a Document Management System from the creation and during the life and execution of the created document. All this information is extremely valuable data.

Let us take a concrete example: we will be able to see how effective a clause protecting a claim in a credit agreement is compared to another clause of the same type and thus improve our overall contractual practice.

Automation will therefore soon also mean not only efficiency, but also business intelligence.

How would you like to help improve the everyday life of Polish and French lawyers in particular?

​First, I hope to raise awareness. Technology should not frighten lawyers, because it will not replace them. My first objective will therefore be to convince lawyers that technology will be their greatest ally in a race for competition that will continue to intensify.

Then, of course, I would like to personally support each lawyer who chooses to take an innovative approach, sharing my experience and know-how.

Automation is a good way to do this because it is necessary and is the first step.

Lastly, what are your favorite activities other than law and legal tech?

I love reading and deepening my knowledge in a wide variety of subjects to broaden my horizons.

To clear my head, I regularly train boxing.

I am also passionate about photography.

The rest of my free time is spent with my family, friends, and my dog.

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Facilitating Law to People Through Tech Tools: An Interview with Andres Felipe Laserna

Facilitating Law to People:

An Interview with

Andres Felipe Laserna

About Andres

Andres Felipe Laserna is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and Legal Tech fan. He is currently a Partner and Director of Innovation and Technology at L&B Tech, a company devoted to bringing innovation to legal services in South America. L&B sets out to do so by implementing tools and developing projects that will allow them to offer their customers legal services under ideal conditions.

How did you become interested in LegalTech? 

Well, several years ago, I started to appreciate how software could improve the quality of life for people. Things as simple as shortening delivery times, or the ability to call somebody who is on the other side of the world without spending hundreds of dollars caught my attention. This, along with profound feelings of dissatisfaction towards the overly complex and dysfunctional way in which law is taught and practiced, awakened my interest in the world of LegalTech.

What do you find most fascinating about legal technology?

What fascinates me the most about legal technology is that it has the potential to transparently optimize and improve access to legal services. When society has access to better legal services at more affordable prices, its members have better access to justice, which is pivotal for the development of countries like Colombia.

“Legal technology has the potential to transparently optimize and improve access to legal services”

Andres Felipe Laserna

What do you think is the best way to start with document automation?

The first thing to do is plan for the implementation. Second, information ought to be organized so processes with a higher burden to the organization are prioritized. Third, reserve the time and execute the necessary work that implementation requires. Today, we are used to everything being done in a short time; however, quality takes time, dedication, and effort.

 

What are the three most important things you’ve learned by implementing document automation?

That technology can definitely benefit law firms and their clients.
That what should matter is the feasibility, usefulness, and the proper operation of the solution to be implemented, rather than how “fancy” it may be.
That legal services are undergoing a strong transformation that will materialize in less than five years.

How did you find Legito, and what are its strengths compared to other document automation solutions?

I found Legito while browsing the web for tools to optimize and automate document creation processes for our company.

I think it has several strengths over other automation solutions. For instance, users do not need previous programming knowledge. Moreover, it enables users to share documents and drafts in a convenient way, thereby allowing for clear and accurate monitoring of document, versions, process stages they are in, and the responsible parties. Additionally, I think that your UX/UI is incredible.

 

What is the status of the implementation of legal technology in Colombia? Where do you see the opportunities to improve the effectiveness of Colombian companies?

Currently, Colombia’s LegalTech landscape is witnessing a very interesting movement, where groups like Legal Hackers Bogota and Legal Hackers Medellin are making a difference. Many interesting projects and initiatives are being rolled out.
I believe that companies in Colombia should continue to increase their trust in innovative legal solutions. This trend has improved, but in order to innovate and change traditional ways, work must be done.

How many departments benefit from document automation in your company? Which ones?

Three. Administrative, Legal, and Sales.

 

Have you been using document automation only within your company or also externally, for example, for negotiating contracts with your suppliers or customers?

We have used Legito to work with our customers, which not only enables us to be more efficient when creating and collaborating on documents, but it has also improved our image by showing that we are at the forefront of LegalTech.

What documents have you automated?

We have automated many documents, including Service Contracts, Employment Contracts, NDAs, Supply Contracts, among others.

 

What are your plans for document automation?

As Legito’s Exclusive Partners in Colombia, we are committed to supporting companies in the region to automate their processes. Our mission is to help our clients to optimize their legal and document processes, providing automation services and document management with the best technology and support.

 

Thank you very much, Andres!

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