About McCarthy Tétrault
McCarthy Tétrault LLP is national law firm with offices in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver as well as in New York City and London. McCarthy Tétrault offers a full suite of legal and business solutions to clients in Canada and around the world. The firm prides itself on being a leader in innovation, which includes leveraging new technology and resources such as its in-house digital information management specialists, MT>3, to increase efficiency for its lawyers and enhance the client experience.
Jake Irwin has been with McCarthy Tétrault for nearly seven years and has been a Partner for three. Over the years, Jake observed that the legal processes around transactions were not evolving with the pace of technology. Most closings early in his legal career were still taking place in a physical closing room the same way they had for decades, despite significant advances in technology. As lawyers themselves, the founders of Closing Folders had been on a mission to solve this problem. When they came to Jake to present their solution, he was thrilled.
Prior to adopting Closing Folders, McCarthy’s transactional practice had been handling a growing number of their closings virtually, which involved circulating documents over email. Even with this virtual closing process in place, some mundane tasks still required significant time and attention, specifically:
- Identifying signature pages and their signatories
- Pulling signature pages by signatory and sending them out
- Putting signed pages back in documents
This was not only time consuming and inefficient, but it was susceptible to human error. Combining this with the firm’s continuous efforts to provide its lawyers and clients with streamlined and cost effective processes, it was evident that there was a need for a single platform to compile complete sets of documents and allowed for the sign off on execution versions of drafts, quickly and efficiently.
“We were looking at all facets of our transaction process and how we could improve it and create efficiencies for our lawyers and clients.”
– Jake Irwin, Partner, McCarthy Tétrault.
In keeping with McCarthy’s unique approach to innovation, the firm has an interdisciplinary committee focused on evaluating legal technology tools. The goals of the committee are to help modernize the transaction process, introduce, test and refine tools for lawyers and clients that can make the transaction process run more efficiently using the best available technology.
Following a recommendation from Jake, the committee invited the Closing Folders team to do a demo of their Legal Transaction Management (LTM) software to a group of the firm’s lawyers and paralegals. “The Closing Folders demo really resonated with the lawyers and paralegals,” says Irwin.
After thorough evaluation by IT and user pilot tests, the committee concluded that Closing Folders would be an effective tool for the transaction practice. They decided to move ahead and roll out Closing Folders in July 2017 simultaneously with a number of other transaction tools, including DocuSign, a leading e-signature provider that integrates seamlessly with Closing Folders.
“Now our clients are included in the closing process earlier on because there’s no need to set up a closing room. As soon as a closing agenda has been established, we can open up the Closing Folders deal to all participants, including clients and lawyers on the other side of the transaction, to collaborate on the closing documents.”
In combination with the firm’s in-house services offered by MT>3’s transaction management services team, the firm and its clients have realized a number of benefits with the adoption of Closing Folders, including increased efficiency and enhanced service delivery. What’s more, an unexpected (but pleasant) side effect of the switch to Closing Folders was increased boardroom availability across their offices.
Increased efficiency for lawyers
McCarthy’s monthly reports show high adoption rates that continue to grow month over month. Adoption is particularly high among associates and students, with a significant percentage using Closing Folders more than 20 days per month – an indicator that the solution has become integral to their day-to-day activities as transactional lawyers.
“Our active users fluctuate between 90 and over 100 per month. Which represents 80 or 90% of transactional lawyers at a certain level at the firm. By latest count, we’ve got over 800 transactions that have used the tool since we launched,” says Irwin.
Senior lawyers find the solution helpful because, instead of having to deal with the time consuming challenges that come with more traditional closing rooms, they can manage a transaction more efficiently by logging in and checking to ensure the junior lawyer’s work is meeting quality standards and expectations.
“The technology has improved the engagement between junior and senior lawyers which helps us deliver the top tier quality our clients expect.”
Closing Folders is also helping lawyers practice more efficiently, not only during a transaction, but also in post-closing and on future deals. When lawyers log into their Closing Folders platform, all their deals are there and they can quickly access materials and help clients more quickly.
Enhanced client experience
The McCarthy team has noticed that clients are more relaxed leading up to a closing now that they actually have visibility on the progress and can review documents at their convenience from the comfort of their own homes or offices. Closing Folders eliminates the need for lawyers and clients to spend late nights or weekends in a physical closing room.
“Our clients really appreciate Closing Folders because it gives them the assurance that things are moving along. The fact that they can sign off on a transaction without sacrificing their evening or weekend has been a significant benefit to them.”
In the past, providing a client with a final record of a transaction could take a month or longer. Now, a custom-branded closing book can be delivered within hours because the need for printing, scanning, and binding files has been eliminated – saving both time and money. Clients are impressed.
Increased boardroom availability
An unexpected benefit the firm has experienced since adopting Closing Folders is an increase in the availability of boardrooms in their offices. In the past, boardrooms would be tied up for days or weeks holding folders for closings.
Now, these boardrooms can be used more effectively for face-to-face negotiations, client meetings, and other firm activities. This seemingly small benefit is actually significant in McCarthy’s busy offices where there is a high demand for scarce boardrooms. Closing Folders has alleviated boardroom congestion and the stress of not having access to a boardroom when needed, as well as the need for staff to manage boardrooms.
“When closings are happening more efficiently, transactions are easier to manage and close. Closing books go out more quickly and clients are happier. It’s really been a success story for us,” says Irwin. “Closing Folders has proven to be an effective tool since it was launched and we’ve made it our default process here at McCarthy.”
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