Doc automation company, Clarilis, has formed a partnership with UK law firm, TLT, to provide document automation services to corporates. The move follows an earlier ‘re-seller’ type of deal with US legal AI contracting platform, LegalSifter. (N.B. see below for in-depth interview).
The move is part of a broader strategy at TLT to create a platform of tech solutions that it can provide directly to its clients, in what should be a win-win scenario, i.e. the client gets easy access to the tech vendors’ solutions, and TLT benefits from providing this capability directly to clients in an easy to tap way.
The strategy could also help to cement client relationships, as TLT then becomes a key partner in the long-term provision of these tech-based services to the clients.
In this case, Clarilis enables in-house lawyers to engage with doc automation via a questionnaire-based approach that produces documents in line with the company’s precedents and playbook. This is then supported by a managed service.
TLT added that this approach will help clients ‘wishing to self-serve contracts in-house, from creation, review and negotiation to storage and analytics’. Clarilis is also TLT’s preferred provider for its own document automation needs.
Now the Bristol-based firm can provide a range of contract-related services, from LegalSifter that uses NLP and ML techniques to help to negotiate and review contracts, to Clarilis’ capabilities, to the wider services of TLT’s lawyers as a whole. And, as explored below, this is by no means the end to the tech platform’s growth.
James Touzel, partner and head of digital at TLT, said: ‘We have always believed that we should share with our clients the solutions we deploy within our own business that increase efficiency and consistency, and manage risk.’
‘Clients are under significant pressure to do more with less and to find ways of improving efficiencies across the in-house legal function. Partnering with the best technology providers in the market and bringing together their solutions with our legal services, gives clients a best of breed solution designed to answer a real need,’ he added.
While, John Lillie, commercial director at Clarilis, said: ‘TLT has always stood out as an early adopter of leading technology and is always thinking about the best way to meet the needs of its clients. We have a shared vision to transform the way in-house legal teams create and manage documents and deliver further value to their businesses, and I am looking forward to working closer together with TLT.’
So, what does this mean? There’s a detailed interview below that gives you some more insight, but overall this looks to be a useful strategy.
Clients don’t necessarily want to go shopping around the market looking for solutions, nor do they always have time to get them set up. In this model, the law firm, TLT, handles all of that. All the client has to do is come to the firm that they’re already using to get the benefits of the tech solutions.
Moreover, they then get the comfort of having a firm-full of lawyers they already know to provide any additional legal input they may need, rather than being left on their own with just the tech. Such an approach could make client relationships more ‘sticky’, it avoids the need for the law firm to build its own tech, and potentially generates additional business following the use of these solutions, i.e. it has both a utility and BD aspect.
Interview with James Touzel, partner and head of digital at TLT
Will this work the same way as TLT LegalSifter?
We are partnering with Clarilis because we see that we offer complementary solutions to our clients’ needs. So to that extent it’s like our relationship with LegalSifter.
Clarilis and TLT will work jointly to identify client needs and alongside each other on implementations (with LegalSifter TLT handles all UK sales and implementations).
We know from our own internal implementations of Clarilis the value of the fully managed service Clarilis offers, and we can wrap TLT’s other services around this, e.g. by writing the precedents that Clarilis will automate, or by offering clients TLT LegalSifter to support negotiations once the document has been created.
By working together we feel that clients will get the best value from an overall solution.
Why did you choose Clarilis to work with?
We chose Clarilis as our partner because they have exceeded our expectations on our own internal automation implementations.
Before selecting Clarilis as a supplier we ran a tender process with a number of the main providers. We selected Clarilis because we were attracted by their managed service approach and technology platform which addresses the challenges of automation in a fundamentally unique way.
They take our templates, configure their solution to meet our needs and provide ongoing updates and support. With the other providers we would have been offered a toolkit and largely left to our own devices.
We get significant benefit from the experience of Clarilis’ automation professional support lawyers and this differentiates them in the market.
Do you hope to enter more partnerships like this in the future?
Definitely. We do not see our role as technology developers, but as value added partners.
In a very crowded and confusing lawtech market we can help clients’ in house teams identify the right solution for their needs, as often we will have had the same need ourselves. Clarilis is a good example of how we share solutions with clients.
We can help clients select the right vendor and we offer additional services to support the operational change and efficiencies they want to achieve. In our experience clients take comfort from working with their law firms as well as technology vendors.
From the technology vendor perspective, we offer good insights into client needs, strong client relationships and complementary services.
The legal technology market is no different to technology in other industries. Sometimes it makes sense for experienced and well-resourced clients to buy direct from the technology vendors. And often clients get significant value from the advice and additional services offered by partners like TLT.