Following up on my last post on Goodlegal vision, we will clarify how the platform could be used by startups, while in the following posts, we will go into more detail about how scale-ups and large enterprises alike can use it.
The Goodlegal platform is uniquely designed to offer a full suite of features needed for legal compliance - a Legal Infrastructure Platform(which is badly needed and still missing on the market) to any company, irrespective of the size or industry.
When we think about infrastructure, the first thing that comes to mind is probably something related to the tools needed to support the operations of a company. Infrastructure is the backbone of the company and can be tangible (physical tools and hardware) or intangible (software and organizational logic).
While for the tangible stuff, it is pretty clear what an organization needs to do to operate its business (rent a location, buy hardware, etc.), the situation is a bit different for the intangible stuff. Because these are not some tangible items that you can quickly determine how useful or well they work or might work based on the external physical qualities, the approach to be taken for the intangible items assessment is not that clear. These intangible items that we need to choose are also very important in terms of how a company can maximize its business efficiency and productivity. Implementing an organizational system with gaps or shortcomings can negatively affect the entire organization. A snowball effect of negative consequences follows up soon.
A startup has to decide many high-impact things for its future and initial infrastructure setup.
These pressing questions need some sort of an answer from day one of the company creation or even sooner. Delaying or taking the wrong approach on this can be very costly and put the company and its officers and employees in difficult situations.
Therefore to make sure that a company can function properly, the founders and employees use whatever is at hand to achieve their company's business purposes.
There are various generalist types of tools that can be used for this to set up an initial infrastructure of a company that can also be used for legal-related parts of the company's required legal infrastructure, such as:
- Google Drive, Microsoft Sharepoint, Box, etc., for storage of documents and basic collaboration;
- Wrike, Asana, Jira, email and other project management tools, etc. for project collaboration;
- Word and Google Docs for document editing;
- Jira, email and other project management tools for approvals; and
- UiPath and other Robotic Process Automation solutions for automation.
There are also specialized types of tools that can be used depending on the company's expertise and budget.
These more point-specific solutions are tailored specifically to address one legal-specific business need (although the trend is to add more point solutions under one brand), and the below technologies can be used for matters such as:
- Kira, Klarity, Docugami, etc., for document analysis;
- Wolters Kluwer or Lexis Nexis for legal content;
- DocuSign, AdobeSign, PandaDoc, etc. for e-sign;
- Conga, Ironclad, Contractbook, etc., for contract lifecycle management (CLM);
- OneTrust or DataGrail for data privacy;
- Governance or Diligent Entities for corporate;
- Law firm support - browsing through hundreds of law firms without indication of how suitable they might be for the things you need support for.
Therefore based on the above short overview, the need to implement something more specific to address particular business legal and compliance risks, which can at the same time be integrated as seamlessly as possible in the overall tangible and intangible infrastructure to help with the above issues, never disappears.
We can see how only a very specific set of tools have the generalist status (allowing reusability for various business purposes, although very limited, as they were not designed specifically for those purposes - industry agnostic general solutions - ex. Gdrive, Sharepoint) while others have the specific status (allowing for specific use as they were designed precisely for that use but limited to that specific use only - industry-specific point solutions -DocuSign, Klarity, Ironclad) depending on the addressed business need.
There is also a third category in which only a few tools are and which have characteristics similar to general and specific types of platforms (industry agnostic - domain-specific), such as Salesforce or HubSpot. They started with a specific issue they wanted to solve better than existing providers. They succeeded in building leading global companies providing Customer Relationship Management "CRM" (a technology that helps companies implement the needed infrastructure for interacting with their customers) solutions that compete with titans such as Oracle and Microsoft.
Even though CRMs are designed to facilitate the business relation of companies with their customers by offering a specialized suite of tools for this purpose, they still fail to address (as well as the other two categories) the legal infrastructure needed by a company (which is intimately linked to the customer relation part).
These three categories of tools miss key elements required to provide what we call a Legal Infrastructure Platform (LIP).
The first category (IAGS) of tools was never designed in the first place to address or to provide a Legal Infrastructure Platform but only to offer certain generic (among others) features such as storage and document management.
The second category (ISPS) of tools was specifically designed to address or to be used for legal matters. Still, they lack important characteristics from the first category to make them viable for company-wide use. These are mostly dealing with specific legal-related features such as Natural Language Processing or e-signatures of documents, including Contract Lifecycle Management tools (which consolidate various features to allow for as complete as a possible end-to-end document processing for revenue-generating contracts). But even these types of tools are narrow in their scope (solving only the customer contracts side of what legal is doing in a company), so we can also consider them point-specific solutions.
The third category (IA-DS) of tools is specifically designed to be industry agnostic but domain-specific, meaning, irrespective of the industry, these tools solve a particularly common issue across the board, such as in our example of Salesforce and CRMs. In these tools, legal issues or features are also not important and were not included as features by design but only by request. In some instances, there were integrated some point-specific solutions were with a CRM to allow simplistic document generation features to be able to create a contract, for example, by using a CRM. Still, there is no comprehensive set of features to effectively do the same things legally that a company can do in customer relationship management.
For our discussion, each of these categories can represent a good temporary solution to solve the need for a LIP if the right integrations are implemented (which takes a lot of vendors, time, money and work). But again, this is only a bandage applied to an open need for effective legal compliance through technology which every company, irrespective of their legal know-how or support, budget or resources, needs to ensure by implementing the right LIP.
This implementation can be done by (i) applying a bandage which is extremely difficult to do due to the lack of resources and time and is only partially (does not solve all issues) and temporarily effective (all point-specific solutions amalgamated together require ongoing maintenance and support on multiple fronts) or by (ii) implementing a platform specifically designed to help companies put in place a LIP matched for their needs.
This is why we created Goodlegal - to ensure that we help facilitate legal compliance for all companies, irrespective of their resources or size and that this can be done in one platform.
The lack of a LIP such as Goodlegal on the market makes legal compliance and effective use of legal tech extremely difficult and possible only for sophisticated technology companies, large enterprises, or well-funded startups and scaleups. For everyone else, leveraging technology to achieve legal compliance and business success is largely a dream or a bad experience. To some extent, the same can also be said about companies with the resources to implement various solutions to solve critical legal needs, but they all need a better approach.
Goodlegal offers an answer to any company looking to implement a Legal Infrastructure Platform - a platform for putting in place and managing all your company's legal-related matters through technology.
In our first Goodlegal Community free version, any startup will be able to access the six core workspaces we will offer to help them hit the ground running on day one of their use of the platform:
- Corporate Workspace
- Contracting Workspace
- Compliance Workspace
- Product Workspace
- Privacy Workspace
- Employment Workspace.
The legal matters of these workspaces are common across the board, and any company needs to handle them as efficiently as possible. With the help of Goodlegal, this can be done in a wholly digital manner, consolidated and structured under one platform providing standard relevant features to all legal teams working on these areas but also to the founders and non-legal professionals of a startup who will most probably be the ones managing them in the early days.
In each of these workspaces, a startup will be able to set up its legal operating framework and put in place the required legal documents by: (i) using Goodlegal and our legal partner's network-provided content (meaning legal documents, policies, contracts, and other industry standard templates), (ii) or by adjusting what we provide (to correspond to the nature of that specific business and company), (iii) or using entirely their own one existing content (bring your templates and documents).
Companies will be able to set up, manage and collaborate internally and externally, with one click in one platform, all its required legal documents to operate legally safely and negotiate with its customers and partners, in predefined workspaces (or by building their own), by using predefined industry standard templates (or their own), and by leveraging the right law firm for legal support where needed (or onboard their existing firm).
Activating the templates means that these companies can manage them fully digitally, from document generation, editing, review, and approvals, to e-signatures and publishing. This means both internally within the company and its existing employees, as well as externally with its customers, providers and future employees (for ex. Activating an employment agreement will allow doing the entire employment agreement process, including signatures, fully digital - we discussed some of the benefits of going with Fully Digital Processes in our previous post on Goodlegal Vision).
Starting with Goodlegal early days will ensure that many operational and infrastructure issues that appear in a startup's growth and company lifecycle are effectively mitigated. The organization avoids a lot of scaleup issues (such as mishandling of contracts, high costs for legal operations, lack of visibility over the company's legal issues, potential fines and other legal liabilities).
The objective and operating principle here is simple: Goodlegal accelerates your company's success.