While technology is part of innovation, technology alone is not innovation. We brought in three guests this week to talk about what they are doing to innovate in the area of process improvement and give us some examples of some of the projects they are working on.
There is a methodology when it comes to how law firms handle process improvement. O’Neil’s process starts with communicating with the attorney and staff teams to determine what pain points they have and evaluate the current workflow. Sometimes it is as simple as tweaking the processes that already exist by adding or removing steps in the workflow, or by adding or removing the number of people involved. Sometimes it means reaching out to Alana and Jack to see how a technology tool like HighQ can improve the overall workflow through automation and improvements in communications and clearly defining and assigning steps in the overall process.
The firm’s clients are also involved in the process improvement design as well. Carson and Godsey mentioned that including clients in the overall process enables them to define what they need, and makes the law firm/client relationship stickier so that the clients really feel like a part of the firm’s efforts toward process improvement and creating a better value for the client.
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As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!


Marlene Gebauer  0:18

Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert  0:26

And I’m Greg Lambert. Well, due to a number of factors, Marlene and I were unable to record the information inspirations portion of the show. So we’ll get right to our guest interview. And we’ll bring the information inspirations back next week. Well, Marlene, we have a trio of guests today to talk about their experiences with project management and process improvement within law firms. And you know, me I usually file these types of missions within law firms is no good deed goes unpunished, but our guests have a slightly more enlightened view than I do. So let’s jump into the interview.

Greg Lambert  1:01

We’d like to welcome Tiffany O’Neil, Director of Knowledge Management and Technology Innovation at Procopio in San Diego. And Alana Carson, Client Success Manager at Thomson Reuters HighQ. Jack Godsey, from HighQ is also here to lend his expertise as well. So Tiffany, Alana and Jack, welcome to The Geek in Review. Hey, thank you. Thank you.

Marlene Gebauer  1:22

There’s a habit that I think many of us have seen in law firms when it comes to innovation, and that is to use innovation and technology interchangeably. While two of our guests are from Thomson Reuters high Q, which most definitely is a technology, the idea of process improvement isn’t solely reliant upon technology, is it?

Tiffany O’Neil  1:40

Okay, I’ll answer that. This is Tiffany. And basically, I would say definitely not process improvement is not reliant upon technology. It’s not the focus, but it can be used to streamline the process in some cases, but not all. At my firm, we basically, you know, weigh the pros and cons because sometimes technology isn’t always the answer. You know, we look at process improvement, you know, to analyze waste, remove unnecessary steps, bottlenecks, productivity, obstacles, we’re just trying to look at a way to make workflows more efficient for our attorneys and our staff. So a lot of times technology does play a key role, but not always.

Greg Lambert  2:16

Alana, do you have a counter to that?

Alana Carson  2:18

Well, I just I would like to echo Tiffany’s thoughts on that. As well as say, sometimes it’s as simple as pressing a pause button. I think about, you know, the way in which we perform our daily, you know, activities. And what we look at is potentially inefficient. And sometimes that inefficiency can be overcome by just taking a breath, taking a pause. And just really thinking about, you know, the best way to go about your activities in a more effective way.

Greg Lambert  2:48

Yes, it’s Zen and process improvement. I think that’s Tiffany, when you think of methods to improve performance, what are some of the steps that you take and identifying those processes, and then determining whether or not if this is a project that’s actually worth addressing?

Tiffany O’Neil  3:10

Yeah, we have a whole methodology about how we handle process improvement. And basically, my CEO is a strong proponent of process improvement and efficiency workflows. And we started out going out to the teams and looking at some of their processes. And then a lot of the times the the teams came to us saying, Hey, we have this workflow that we want you to analyze. And can you help us with it. And then what we do is we do a six sigma type, you know, analysis that we find the biggest block in the workflow. And then we look to automate or remove pieces of the of the process that might not be necessary. So we really analyze each step of the process in some are very granular, some are a little more high level, but we’re trying to limit the number of hands, whether it be attorneys paralegals that that touched the process, or that need to we try to look at the essential people that need to really touch the process. Because sometimes we find that there are folks in the workflow that don’t need to be there, or maybe somebody needs to be added. So we just look at the whole process in general. And then we sit with the team members, and we create the list of the process. And we review all the applications to see what might be a solution for it, whether it be technology or just looking at the process in general.

Greg Lambert  4:26

Just to clarify one of the things when you talk about the teams, are you talking about practice groups? Are you talking about other teams? What do you mean by that?

Tiffany O’Neil  4:35

Yeah, let me let me let me be a little more clear on that. Basically, it depends. It depends what group it is. I mean, we’re looking at right now currently, a lawyer. Oh, boy, that’s scary. No, we like for example, right now we’re looking at a an HR process. So it’d be the HR team, the HR group, and we’re looking at some of their processes. So that team would be members of their group. Sometimes it’s a practice group. Sometimes it’s an administrative team, like I said, like HR or accounting, it just depends or we’ve done some big processes improvement with our IP prosecution team. So it might not be the whole IP team, but maybe a piece of it something like as simple as certain pieces of a patent application or something like that, the processes for completing those, so it just depends. So it depends whatever the members of that particular group for that process are.

Marlene Gebauer  5:27

So Alana and Tiffany, this is for both of you. One aspect of innovation that seems to be catching on revolves around interconnectivity of knowledge capture and work process, what solutions have you seen in this regard?

Alana Carson  5:41

So one example of interconnectivity is the way that we think about our matter outcomes. So I was a big proponent, and still am of legal project management on matters. And the final step in legal project management is called Aftermath reviews, also known as post mortem reviews. I’ve never really liked that phrase. So I go with Aftermath reviews. But we get a lot of information, a lot of really good information in those whether they’re meetings, client meetings, internal meetings, and then some of that information can include you know, what went well, what didn’t, what the results were, the deal values, what the different experiences were of the team members, but also really good knowledge comes out of those meetings, though, what documents were generated that we reused again, and again, were there checklists developed that can be again repurposed in some way? Can we look at any of the successes, assuming that those matters were successful? Can we look at those successes and say, All right, we’re going to be able to report on these to summarize for our clients, whether we’re doing a client service interview, or we’re doing some sort of an annual review for our client, and then how can we also use those insights for future business development and prospecting?

Greg Lambert  6:54

So, Alana just how difficult is it to get people together to do an after action review? or post mortum?

Alana Carson  7:02

Um, I think it really just depends on firm culture. I mean, I think that there are some teams that just do it organically, it’s part of their it’s part of their process. It’s what they’ve always done, I think getting teams to do it, that haven’t done it in the past, you have to show them what the value is, you know, they’re spending their non billable time, in most cases, working on those after matter summaries. And they can they can be short, I mean, you think about even if it’s just a form, you know, we can create a form that says, hey, fill out your summary and send it to a few people, they spend a couple of minutes and boom, we have a collection of those experiences.

Marlene Gebauer  7:38

Now, to me is like it’s not as a knowledge professional like that, what you’re talking about, I mean, that that sounds like a treasure trove, right? But what do you find is the tangible ROI for users and maybe even more particularly firm leadership in terms of doing this?

Alana Carson  7:54

I think it helps to understand I see, I see the ROI, specifically in terms of business development, really helping to understand where your experiences lie in the firm, what kind of deals that you were successful on, you can be able to sell that in order to, you know, gain new clients. Tiffany, I don’t know, you want to help me out here?

Tiffany O’Neil  8:15

Yeah, basically, what we do is as our ROI processes, obviously, we look at it as basically showing where attorneys and staff time can be freed up by the process improvement. If there were automating tasks, like for example, we do a lot of Process automation. When a task is completed by a staff member, the attorney automatically gets notified by email. And so they know that you don’t have to have a bunch of email traffic back and forth. Oh, where are you out with this. So we have all these things streamlined. So the ROI is taking those mundane tasks and automating them, which leaves the attorney or the staff with more free time to do higher value work spending more time with the client, retaining clients getting new business from the clients, because they have more time, as well as building business. So that’s our big ROI.

Greg Lambert  9:05

In Tiffany, are you still seeing that law firms kind of live in email when it comes to project management?

Tiffany O’Neil  9:13

And yes, that is one of our biggest pain points. So we’re, we’re really trying that’s one of our main objectives for the next year or so is really trying to get attorneys away from like, all this email traffic. So one of the things that we’ve actually done with HighQ is we brought HighQ on a few years ago, and we use it primarily for our bonds team, because you know, there was a lot of different Council, there’s the bonds Council, there’s government Council, there’s our council, there was all these different players involved, and there was tons of traffic. So we built a collaboration room for those teams, so that they had one spot to keep documents and work on the documents and not have so much email traffic and that helped with version control. So that was made hierarchical products because you weren’t worrying about version control, because everything was done in the platform, which was really nice. And then instead of emailing attachments through outlook, they can email documents directly into high Q, and we would set up, you know, individual emails for the different high q sites. And it really, really streamline the process and it cut down the email traffic for those projects, twofold, threefold, tenfold,

Marlene Gebauer  10:25

you know, but you both make it sound so easy. It’s like, you know, you’re talking about the ROI. And you know, it’s like, yeah, then we did this. And we did. And how do you get the CFO to write the check?

Tiffany O’Neil  10:34

Well, for me, I can say that, like I said, Our CEO is a very, very strong proponent of efficiencies and process improvements. And he’s a pretty influential guy. So he actually thought of creating this Technology Innovation Group at our firm that I oversee. And he is just a strong proponent, and he sells it to the Management Committee. And we’ve made our high q contract bigger and bigger, because we’re using it and they can see how it’s benefiting the firm. And what we do is, you know, we started off with some groups that are very open to the idea, and are really willing to work with us and sit down and create these different Well, we create it, they use it, and then it becomes word of mouth, because then some of the groups or teams that were not interested are like, wait, what do they have? Why do they have it? Because they start talking, you know, and they tell they tell their friends, and they tell

Marlene Gebauer  11:29

There’s a fear of missing out, right?

Tiffany O’Neil  11:31

They do they think they’re missing out. Exactly. And so, so really, I’ve had zero problem getting management buy in? None, absolutely none, which is great. I mean, when I when I said I wanted to beef up HighQ and do some other things with it, it was a no brainer.

Marlene Gebauer  11:47

And Alana, what arguments Do you find work best in terms of getting firms to take the plunge?

Alana Carson  11:53

So I think that, you know, when you’re thinking about speaking to not only your CFO, but you know, other leadership and other stakeholders in the process, use data, I mean, data is really going to be your ally here. And, for me, what I’ve seen is having really good examples that come directly from your clients, so really paying attention to what your clients are saying in, you know, what are they asking for in their RFPs? That, you know, you see trends in what are they asking for, when you do your client service interviews, you know, when they’re going out when business development or marketing is going out to the community and asking different stakeholders in different businesses and industries, you know, what pain points they’re currently experiencing with their firms, look for those trends, and then look to technology to see if you can overcome some of those pain points. And that’s how you’re going to be able to sell it to your CFO. And then the other thing, when I think about internal efficient inefficiencies and and process improvements, look to your legal teams look to your support staff, I think that it’s really easy to look towards leadership and management. But your support staff is on the ground, they’re doing the work, they see the inefficiencies every day, and they have a lot of really, really good insight. And they can, again, help you identify those trends. And then you can look at those trends and and ask yourself and try to monetize, how much time are we losing and non billable time? Because of these inefficiencies, those dollar losses that’s going to sell the technology all by itself?

Greg Lambert  13:25

What about on the client side? Do you Tiffany or Alana, when you were at your firm up in the northwest? Is there any type of feedback or interaction that you want? Either yourself or your attorneys to reach out to your clients and get some of the pain points back on them on on what they see is inefficiencies?

Tiffany O’Neil  13:45

I can answer that. Absolutely, yes, we do. Because some of our process improvement are internal only but a lot of our process improvement do affect our do have clients involved. And so absolutely, you know, because we we see we build things and and the clients definitely give feedback. And obviously, our objective is to provide the best legal services for our clients. And when we have these processes that we’re looking at, that we definitely go to the clients to see where some of the pain points are and how we can improve those processes.

Jack Godsey  14:19

Hey, Greg.

Greg Lambert  14:19

Yeah, Jack,

Jack Godsey  14:20

I was just gonna jump in. I spent four days at ILTACon. And you know, you’re right there is it’s software, right? And everybody’s afraid of this software that sliced bread and then ends up being shelfware. Yes, and then everybody’s just angry with it, especially the CFOs and the CEO. So that’s the thing that people are looking for is once again, that process improvement. They’re looking for parts of that workflow that they can streamline and moving into high value but just the point your question, in the past month, I’ve had four law firms in the vetting process of high q bring their clients on And actually, we built the portal, we built the workflow, and the client said he had this fits with us. And what General Counsel ever said, I wish I would have less interaction with my outside counsel.

Greg Lambert  15:14

They don’t mind the interaction as long as they’re not being billed for it, I think.

Jack Godsey  15:18

Correct. But if they’re gonna be billed for it, they want to, they want to understand what their matter is. Their Depo calendar is their documents. So they if you have 40 new witnesses, let them know. And that’s what high q does, because they can directly link to that calendar. So that’s, I know Alana has done a great job. I know we’re doing things with, you know, Tiffany and her firm, but I just kind of those trends from ILTACon. It seems like there’s a bigger appetite for like a client facing option for law firms. Because I think the law firm law firm markets kind of behind the scenes, like every other industry has client portals,

Greg Lambert  15:53

except law firms, what is it that you’re seeing it maybe even give us some low hanging fruit that that you’re hearing clients kind of asking of their firms in these types of efficiencies?

Tiffany O’Neil  16:05

Well, I think I think a big thing is one of our big clients, we have created a portal for them, that they can run a lot of their reports themselves, or they can see we’re doing another one with another client, they can see where we are in the process for litigation in terms of where we are with drafting some motions and things like that. We want to eventually, you know, put, put invoice data and things like that for specific clients. Because then they can go, they don’t have to wait for the attorney. They don’t have to talk to the attorney, which is not a bad thing to talk to them. But like you said, they don’t want to be billed every time they talk to the attorney. And if there’s things that they can have access to their information themselves, that’s invaluable. Like I said, if they want to run, you know, a report on for example, like a trademark or a patent portfolio, they can do that they can run reports to see where their applications are in the process, things like that. And they can they can look at those things themselves. And I think they really liked to be able to do that. Because then they’re really a partner in the process. You know, it’s just not the attorney and the client, it’s more of a partnership.

Alana Carson  17:10

Tiffany, can I add to that as well. One of the things that we did at my prior firm, and that I’m encouraging my clients to do now is to use the high q rollout as a partnership with certain clients to identify and target certain clients that are really interested in technology interested in innovation interested in seeing their firm deliver legal services in a new way, and to partner with them on ideas, because what happens then is the firm gets to experiment pilot HighQ along with the client, and build use cases. And it really makes that I’m going to use one of Jack’s terms that really makes that relationship stickier, and makes the relationship with the client a lot stickier and they feel like they’re really part of the firm process improvement effort.

Marlene Gebauer  18:02

So Alana, I want and Jack, I want to piggyback on what you were saying, you know, bringing the client in in terms of rollout and making decisions, you know, in choosing, you know, tech to support innovative projects, you know, what’s been your methodology for assessing and rolling out large scale multi-platform solutions?

Tiffany O’Neil  18:20

Yeah, we do a couple things that when we started out, we started out with smaller projects, we didn’t want to, you know, eat the whole cake, we just wanted to take a little piece of the cake. So we started with smaller project, we looked at the process improvement for smaller projects on a small scale. And then we use the successes of those to expand those to larger projects. And then the larger projects we would do in phases so that it wasn’t just a big chunk to take off and then have to look in all these different areas. We’d look at it in in compartmentalized, you know, we’d look at the whole process, obviously, in general, but then start out with small projects and do it in phases. Yeah. So and again, like I said, incremental change, yes, incremental change. And then, and then also, like I was saying earlier, then a small project. Again, they tell others, and then somebody comes to us and says, Hey, we heard you did this, can you do this? And then we analyze whether it is worth the manpower and the resources to do that? Or is it something that maybe there’s already a solution out there, and that might be a better fit? So we really analyze where we want to go with the project.

Marlene Gebauer  19:29

So, you know, do you run into challenges where, you know, different groups, you know, don’t want to manage a new solution that gets coming in or, you know, maybe a bunch of business teams want to own the solution. Alana, do you have any thoughts on that?

Alana Carson  19:45

Yeah, I think again, it goes back to firm culture. It also goes to you know, the, the structure of the firm, you know, the different departments involved. I have, you know, in my current role as high q client success manager I have, I work with IT departments I’ve got a couple of clients who we’ve got just timekeepers building the solutions. They’re really into tech, they’re really interested and they’re innovative. And they’re super excited about it, they’ve taken it on and they’ve run with it. And there it folks have said, Go, I really just think it depends, although, you know, the flip side is, is that you don’t have anybody who wants to take ownership of the platform or have the solution. And I think having those conversations early and often is critical in order to keep momentum on the rollout on use cases, and really just continuing to get that buy in. And again, keeping the client front and center whenever you’re designing solutions.

Greg Lambert  20:41

And we all know that, obviously, the solutions go off without any hitches and everything is perfect, and everyone’s happy. But you know, just in case, or do you have any have any advice on some of the traps that you’ve learned to avoid over the years is, especially when it comes to dressing and, you know, improving processes and workflow among lawyers and legal professionals?

Alana Carson  21:04

So this is a phrase I use all the time, don’t try to build the Cadillac right out of the gate, start with maybe the Ford, not that Cadillac is better than a Ford so far, because everyone is so. Right. And you know, again, really understand what your business needs are, what the client needs are, sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution. We, at my prior firm, we created some very, very simple modules with high key or some simple sights based on one or two modules. And they were so successful. And I think that sometimes all you need, yeah,

Greg Lambert  21:41

do you run into the the perpetual problem of lawyers being issue spotters? And if it’s not perfectly, you know, they’re afraid that it’s going to increase their risk?

Tiffany O’Neil  21:52

I can I can answer that if you’d like. We’ve had both sides of the coin. We’ve had, we’ve had folks that just don’t want to be involved at all, they just don’t want to do it. And we’ve had others that are very open to changing the streamline processes. And what I found is that those people that are adverse to it, I’m not going to force it down their throats, you know, I’m just not going to do it, I go with the low hanging fruit, I go with those that are wanting to look at these processes. And it’s not that the folks who don’t want to do it, it’s just they have their way of practicing law, and they want to do it the way they’ve done it. But what happens is, they see what what the other groups have been doing. And some do come to us and say, Hey, we want to look at this. But I’ve had a contract review. Example, we you know, I’ve seen people not just at this firm, but at previous firms, where they have their process, and they want to keep their process as it is it’s not broken, and their clients are happy. And so we keep it as is.

Greg Lambert  22:51

Yeah. And Jack, do you have any common traps that you have to avoid?

Jack Godsey  22:56

Absolutely. And you know, you know, I’ve been doing this since before we bought West and there was only books, but that high key or technology is not everybody’s cup of sunshine. I mean, it there has to be an appetite with leadership, to embrace technology and look for better ways to increase. It’s all about profit per partner and realization for most law firms. Right? You know, most problems are not in there for pro bono, they’re there make money. And if they, most attorneys, and managing partners, if even if they’re not technology savvy, if they know a technology will make their firm more money, they’re going to figure out a way to do it, because that’s their job, right. That’s what a CEOs job is. So I think it’s actually level setting it up front. You know, no software goes out without glitches, data is dirty, people are dirty. There’s issues, you know, and but, I mean, if you have a good team that works through with it and kind of knows enough, it’s I think you just have to be upfront with it. It is software, there’s a learning curve, right. But if you have a good team that can actually teach him I think that helps along the way. And if you have a software that’s flexible, then you can get creative and figure out a way to make it work. But oftentimes, I will I’ve had for people this year, I just saw they were they were kind of Well, I think we’ll do and I was like yeah, no, this is not for you.

Greg Lambert  24:20

I mean, I was expecting you to act and when he started this with the with this call back to the old west days was to have the pipe and take it. Well back in my day. We

Jack Godsey  24:33

I won’t I won’t harken back to the day where book reps at West would drive around with the annotated codes in their trunk. No, I will not be.

Marlene Gebauer  24:43

Well, well, speaking of dirty people. You know, I had to work that in somehow. What is it that people need to do in this process? And what is it that needs to be turned over to technology? You know, how does technology help? With the scaling process and projects over time,

Alana Carson  25:03

yeah, so I, when I think of how technology helps me in my day to day, I think of having like a little personal assistant, right? Something that helps me get the job done faster, more efficient, so that I can get on to other things in my day. And you know, I can use a lot of examples there. But, you know, thinking about how, you know, somebody uses high q versus their kind of their typical workflow, if they’re drafting a contract for a client, and they have a process that takes them days to go through, you know, the contract, pulling out the right clauses, doing the research, having many conversations back and forth with the client back and forth with their supervising attorney or you know, other attorneys and thinking about all of that billable time that it’s probably going to get written off, because they’re not doing it in the most efficient way. I’ve got this really nice little personal assistant sitting next to me that can do things like, you know, help me identify the right contract that I should be using based on, you know, industry and state controlled regulatory guidelines. And I know that that documents are updated, because it’s been updated anytime there’s a change in the law, and I can use that document and compare it to a template, I can then collaborate on that document with my client, I can create automation that I can send it to an attorney or my supervising attorney automatically, with a click of the button, they can review it send it automatically via an electronic signature to the client, the client can save it, the client can be notified of expiration dates, and things like that. So there’s, I think about all that technology that’s happening in the background, that is just providing so much client value, and it’s also generating a tremendous amount of revenue for my firm.

Tiffany O’Neil  26:52

Yeah, I could speak to that. Also, I mean, what people need to do in the process is, is understand that things can be done differently, and to have the confidence that the technology can provide that, because that was one of the pain points that we had is sometimes when you automate things, is it really going to get done. Like one of the things one of the projects that we had was a patent soft docketing project where we have an IP docketing system, where it tracks the the hard statutory deadlines with the USPTO, and things like that. But we have some clients that have their own soft deadlines for when they want to see the draft of a patent application or a response to an office action or something like that. And so we created automatic reminders and things like that, where emails automatically go out, so that somebody didn’t have to create a spreadsheet in an old fashioned spreadsheet and follow it manually, because that’s a lot of mundane work. And so this technology allows our attorneys to interact with their clients and not let all the mundane work, get in the way and just have the confidence that that technology will work. And it does. It’s a learning curve. And it takes some time to have confidence in an in a new process, whether it be technology or not.

Greg Lambert  28:05

Yeah, I’m glad you talked about that, that learning curve, because, you know, when it comes to technology, one of the things that I learned decades ago, when doing when programming literally on a mainframe is my boss told me that you know, making something as easy, but making something easy to use is not easy at all. And so what about the user experience in design? You know, people get locked into how they’re doing something because they’re comfortable. Can you use the the UX design to make them more comfortable?

Alana Carson  28:37

Absolutely. You know, one of the things that I really love about HighQ, I loved it when I was a customer, and I love it even more now that I’m helping to support it is that it’s incredibly flexible. There are a lot of different customizations. And you’re not required to do any coding, you can just use modules, but it allows for even more enhanced customization because it does allow for some enhanced coding and design. But it allows you to give the user the ability to really control their own experience. So you know, you can have different sites, you can have tasks that can be templated, which can be reused. And then even within specific sites, you can use the dashboard features and workflow features that are available to customize based on certain personas, certain groups, you can surface different data points and action items and processes that are unique to the individual that’s coming into the site or the group that’s coming into the site. And the clients love it. They love the simplicity of the use. They love the simplicity of the design, they can access their information, 24 seven, so I do think that that user interface was top of mind and continues to be as we continue to develop out the product.

Tiffany O’Neil  29:52

Yeah, I completely agree in that. What’s nice about it is like it was stated already is that it’s very flexible. Well, I mean, we have some, you know, just like with different learning, people have different styles. Some people like graphics, some people like text, they can pick and choose what different sections they want in their high q site, do they want a wiki? Do they not want a wiki? Do they want a splash page in the beginning that has certain dashboard data, some people like that some people don’t. But you can make it very specific to each to each group and to each instance. And another thing that I like is that you can actually compartmentalize. So if we have something that is client facing, but we only want the client to have access to part of it, we can do that. Or let’s say we only want one group on the team to have to be working on this group, we can we can segment which is really nice. So it’s very customizable. But as a lot of said, it could also be used out of the box, too, if you just want to use it as is it’s very easy to use, because that’s what we did in the beginning, before I had a I had a team that would help me build all this because now we’re doing a lot more coding and we’re doing a lot more customization. But in the beginning, we just use the out of the box and it worked great. I like

Greg Lambert  31:06

that you mentioned compartmentalize, we can kind of like me and my emotions.

Marlene Gebauer  31:16

So you know, we talked to Joe Raczynski in our last episode, and we discussed this this matrix idea that’s applied to technological development. So you know, white hat black hat, tech will be used for the greater good or for evil. What are the dangers ethical and otherwise associated with vendor integration and monopolization of content and platforms? How are vendors and their clients being mindful of this dichotomy and trying to stay on the right side of things.

Alana Carson  31:44

So coming from the HighQ perspective, I mean, obviously, we are going to do what we can to seamlessly connect to our other TR products, lots of stuff on the roadmap. But we also understand that our clients have many, many relationships with other legal technology providers, and will always have those relationships. So high key was designed to allow for those integrations with the best in class solutions that whether it’s Microsoft or Google suite, the many DMS is that are out there, e signature and CRM platforms, and several others. And so its ability to connect and pull data from these various sources really provides clients with, you know, those real time matter updates your project status, knowledge and insight. And again, that’s all coming from other vendor applications. And that was by design.

Tiffany O’Neil  32:33

Yeah, one of our major concerns with our it is, is security concerns, you know, having SQL connectors to our elite database and things like that. So that has always been a big concern. But you know, we’ve worked through those and we we’ve actually had meetings with stop security, people at HighQ, to really talk through these issues and make sure that the vendor integration is not compromising any of our systems, especially when you start looking at tapping into a lead or any of that, you know, the high sensitive items.

Greg Lambert  33:06

And Jack, I think you were saying something?

Jack Godsey  33:09

No, that’s what I was saying is, you know, back in my past life, I, I had a brief hiatus away from Thomson Reuters. But whether with its ad or and, or a lead, or even on the smaller end, like a coyote, we were agnostic. And that’s because most firms are looking for best of breed solutions. And it has to fit the culture and the personality of the firm, depending on the features. So instead of, you know, trying to hammer the Thomson Reuters way, which we think we have a great solution, I’m drinking the Kool Aid again, don’t worry. But if somebody uses address we live, we link to that if somebody wants to build an estate planning page with Bloomberg tax portfolios, and it not they are a we just link it to that. So it’s more of a best of breed connectivity that makes sense of all the different data points in the workflow, as opposed to trying to hammer a round peg into a square hole and you obey Thomson Reuters and we want you to use what is the right fit for your firm’s work workflow, and high q just connects them?

Greg Lambert  34:16

Alright, what I’m going to, like end this conversation with kind of a speed round, we’ll see how it goes. I mean, obviously, we get people that use in our working with one type of workflow product, that really when people think about examples of what workflow tools can do, I want to throw some things out. And I want to I want to hear back from you on what you think workflow tools can do. So I’m going to start off with what about things like team collaboration, what do workflow tools do to help with team collaboration?

Alana Carson  34:50

I would say a couple of examples that come to mind with HighQ are things like social intranet, places where folks can really get together, share information and share their insights. Get key updates to what’s happening in the firm and their unique office environments, things like that. Also things like online board and committee rooms where again, privacy is key, they need to have a secure place to have meetings and share data within those environments. virtual data rooms, that’s a pretty common one.

Tiffany O’Neil  35:20

Yeah. And back to our bonds or bonds team issue, that was a big thing, because the different groups were collaborating in one space, as opposed to the email traffic.

Marlene Gebauer  35:29

Okay, how about document management?

Alana Carson  35:32

I would say for document management. So I’ve seen a lot of firms do you know, some real estate portfolio management lease agreements, secure file sharing, document collaboration, being able to collaborate in different types of platforms, within the high q environment?

Greg Lambert  35:48

All right, knowledge management?

Tiffany O’Neil  35:50

again, client portals, that’s a big thing for us, the being able to have them access to information. Same with practice group portals and things like that, or for particular litigation matters. So they can go and have one place to look for their information,

Marlene Gebauer  36:05

standard process and workflow design,

Alana Carson  36:07

So, I think about you know, anything to do with legal project management, anything to standardize a particular process that you know, you’re going to use again and again, so litigation management, you know, looking at your phases and activities that you do again, and again, in a litigation matter and being able to build that out in a task workflow. Also, things like closing checklists in a due diligence matter,

Greg Lambert  36:31

How about project and matter management?

Jack Godsey  36:34

Yeah, we actually we just affirm in Dallas that this is the one that the client brought on, and they are doing 60 closings that need to be done in about 90 days. So we are actually automating those tasks with deadlines, bringing in their DMS, connecting their calendars. And the great thing about it is it’s just like the old days of Westlaw, their clients passing the cost to back to the client, and the client says, Yes, please, because they were they were involved in the buying process.

Marlene Gebauer  37:05

Wow, that’ll probably sound like music to most people’s ears in law firms.

Jack Godsey  37:12

Okay, well, you know, they came to the point that chief legal officers want to have a better relationship with their, they want to be billed fairly, they don’t mind the high rates, as long as they’re being taken care of, well, you know, I used the term stickier everybody wants clients stickier, and that this is a relationship tool, because you’re working on things together.

Marlene Gebauer  37:30

And the last one, delivery of legal services.

Tiffany O’Neil  37:33

One of the things that we’re doing with that is we’ve created a site that basically on a particular legal issue, basically has a number of the applicable laws that the client is following, whether it be legislation or already enacted laws. And these are fast moving laws that are kind of trendy right now, so to speak. So having a update of these laws constantly being updated, and seeing where they’re at, whether it’s in legislation where they’re at, and that way the client can go and say, Okay, what, what’s going on with this law, you know, in New York, what’s going on with this type of law in California, and constantly keeping that updated?

Alana Carson  38:14

And I would say, just in generic terms, you know, I think we’re we all read the reports that come out about the state of the legal market, and the way that we deliver legal services, and it’s changing and it has changed, and it’s changing even more so due to recent events, right? So we need to really look to our technology to help offer more value to our clients, whether that’s automating whether that’s giving more self-sufficiency to the client, that that they have, you know, maybe some things that they can do on their own, that they don’t have to farm out necessarily to their firm, and visibility into their matters. I mean, we know that clients are asking for more visibility into their matters. In hike, you can do all of those things.

Greg Lambert  38:53

Well, Tiffany O’Neil, Alana Carson, and Jack Godsey, I think all three of you for coming on in talking to us about this.

Marlene Gebauer  39:01

Thank you so much.

Tiffany O’Neil  39:02

Thank you for having us.

Jack Godsey  39:04

Thanks for the opportunity. Y’all have a great afternoon.

Alana Carson  39:06

Right. Thank you, Greg. Yeah, thank Marlene.

Marlene Gebauer  39:11

Well, that was a really great conversation. I just loved hearing all the different ideas of what you can use. And also, that it’s just not all about technology, you know, that there’s, there’s a human factor that you have to really account for as well.

Greg Lambert  39:29

Yeah. And one thing I learned is that we’re terrible at speed rounds.

Marlene Gebauer  39:34

So, you know, I was gonna say they’re gonna be like, Alright, 15 minutes, one person answers and we just Oh, they would

Greg Lambert  39:42

have done 15 minutes.

Marlene Gebauer  39:43

I mean, sorry. 15 seconds. Wow. Wow.

Greg Lambert  39:47

Okay. It was good. And I know, you know, obviously, we had a person that was using HighQ and two people from HighQ, but I think, you know, we really, were trying to use this more as a workflow automation kind have discussion. And so I think just like with everything, it doesn’t matter what you’re using, and that’s really one of the reasons why we did the speed round at the end was to say, okay, you know, what are some of the low hanging fruit that you can use workflow automation tools like this to do so. And I think I gave some really solid examples.

Marlene Gebauer  40:19

Yeah, good ideas.

Greg Lambert  40:21

Well, thanks again to Tiffany O’Neil, Alana Carson and Jack Godsey for taking the time to talk with us.

Marlene Gebauer  40:28

Thank you.

Greg Lambert  40:29

If you enjoy the show, please go ahead and share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media or go ahead and leave us a voicemail at The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270. And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thanks, Jerry.

Marlene Gebauer  40:47

Thank you, Jerry. All right.

Greg Lambert  40:48

I’ll talk to you later Marlene.

Marlene Gebauer  40:49

Okay, bye, Greg.