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Customer Stories

BLG delivers closing books in minutes with iManage Closing Folders

How a national law firm transitioned 100+ transactional lawyers and staff to digital closings

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is the largest full-service Canadian law firm with more than 725 lawyers delivering advice for domestic and international clients.

The business challenge

James Mathers, senior partner at BLG’s Financial Services Group, learned about iManage Closing Folders at a local lawyers group.  “Closing Folders seemed to have actually delivered a product that brought together a bunch of ideas I’d had or heard of for a long time,” states Mathers.

The firm chose Closing Folders as a new automated solution for its closing process because its attorneys quickly saw the benefits of how it expedited their workflow and improved client interactions, without putting a strain on its IT department, which enabled them to focus on other priorities.

Within months after BLG started their pilot project with Closing Folders the firm was live with more than 30 active users and 50 active deals per month. By the end of the first year, BLG had more than 100 active internal users, 200 active deals, and 50 active external users each month. Most importantly, BLG was producing over 100 closing books a month for its clients using Closing Folders — reducing an hours-long process to a few quick clicks.

Headquarters

Canada

Industry

Legal

Products

iManage Closing Folders

Benefits

  • Gives clients direct visibility into deal progress 
  • Quick delivery of professional closing books
  • Enhanced reporting and deal transparency 

 

Lawyers were impressed with what they saw — particularly the ease with which signature packages could be generated and the speed with which closing books could be created.

Eva Sommer, Knowledge and Innovation Lawyer, Business Law Groups at Borden Ladner Gervais, LLC

The solution

Lawyers were impressed with what they saw

As a cloud application, Closing Folders can be deployed in a variety of flexible and secure configurations. “Being cloud-based, it was not a strain on our IT group after they did due diligence,” Mathers stated, “and Closing Folders is easy enough to use that we didn’t need to involve our IT trainers, who had other commitments.”

Mathers finds that different people react differently to new technology and the firm does not mandate the use of Closing Folders. They adopted a flexible approach to promoting widespread adoption of the tool.

“Initial uptake was good and lawyers were impressed with what they saw," said Eva Sommer, BLG’s Knowledge and Innovation Lawyer for the Business Law Group. "Particularly the ease with which signature packages could be generated and the speed with which closing books could be created.”

BLG tips for achieving strong adoption

Mathers and Sommer share five recommendations for a positive adoption experience.

1. Start small

Getting your first transaction under your belt on Closing Folders is key to adoption. However, trying new technology on a complex deal with a tight timeline might lead to frustration. Sommer recommends starting with something simple:

“We typically encourage users to have a less stressful first experience on Closing Folders — start with doing a closing book after the deal is finished, or try a digital closing on a smaller, simpler transaction without a tight timeline.”

Mathers offers similar advice:

“One of our big messages has been that Closing Folders can be implemented in varying degrees depending on user comfort levels. We want senior lawyers who are responsible for transactions to promote Closing Folders, but they don’t have to interact much with the tool. Often junior lawyers, paraprofessionals, or assistants will do the ’heavy lifting’ and other lawyers don’t do anything at first.”

2. Find an internal expert to train new users

“One of the first things we did was ask one of our team members who had shown an aptitude for technology and was responsible for preparing a lot of record books to become an expert in using Closing Folders,” said Mathers. “We encouraged new users to experiment with Closing Folders on their own, but this individual provided ‘just in time’ training for them when needed.”

3. Provide self-help tools

BLG promoted Closing Folders internally in as many ways as they could, establishing a home page for Closing Folders on their intranet with tip sheets, introductory videos, recorded training sessions, and links to the dedicated Closing Folders training materials from iManage.

“We also established an internal email address so that a group of expert Closing Folders users could assist others,” said Mathers.

4. Keep it Top of Mind

Keeping Closing Folders top-of-mind for busy lawyers and staff was a key initiative. BLG staff played Closing Folders videos on screens in the office coffee areas, visited practice groups to talk about the program, and featured Closing Folders in reports to partners and other groups within the firm as an example of recent innovation.

5. Run mock deals to engage the whole team

BLG holds small group training sessions with deal teams to run mock deals within Closing Folders.

”We find this approach can help transactional teams better visualize the workflow and give them the confidence they need to adopt and use the technology,” says Sommer.

100

Active users

200

Active deals

100

Closing books per month

Business outcomes

Response to Closing Folders has been very favorable within BLG. Vincent Frenette, the Managing Partner of the Financial Services Group in BLG’s Montreal office, sees five main benefits the firm achieves by using Closing Folders:

1. Reputation as a technology adopter: We look good to the clients and to other firms by showing that we are early adopters of technology.

2. Clients have direct visibility into a deal’s progress. Clients are amazed to be able to see what is going on in their deal by simply logging in.

3. Workflow and action. On a lending transaction, satisfying the conditions precedent of a business nature is made easier by the various parties simply uploading those in the system for the lender to review.

4. Professional Closing books delivered quickly. Custom-branded closing books are delivered minutes after closing.

5. Reporting and deal visibility. With digital closings you have all the information about all of the deals you’re working on at your fingertips.

Making Knowledge Work

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