The Many Faces of Legal Matter Intake Automation

Seth Colaner
Seth Colaner
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
5
min read
The Many Faces of Legal Matter Intake Automation

Legal intake is inevitable, but managing it doesn’t have to be a slow, painstaking, manual process. If you can unify your key intake channels and leverage smart technology like AI, automation, and intake orchestration to automatically triage responses, you can streamline intake processes and reclaim hours of time and effort. 

You can also turn intake into a vehicle for creating net new business value and for increasing the appreciation of the legal team throughout your organization by helping employees get to resolution much faster.

But let’s back up. Legal intake is not a one-size-fits-all challenge. Every organization faces different intake challenges depending on their business, their clients, their employees, and their industry. That means there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to legal intake, either. 

This can make getting started automating legal intake seem a daunting task. Where to start? What should it look like? 

To help bridge that imagination gap, we compiled use cases from a range of F200 legal ops departments that are using Tonkean LegalWorks to repurpose intake into a value driver for their legal teams and companies. Tonkean LegalWorks is a 100% no-code process experience and intake orchestration tool for matter lifecycle management. The legal ops departments who’ve worked with us to take back control over their intake processes include mid-size to large enterprises—Fortune 500 to Fortune 200 companies—representing fields as diverse as SaaS, cybersecurity, media, publishing, finance, and transportation. 

Many of the use cases for legal intake are straightforward, like automating intelligent responses to simple requests with an AI Front Door. Think: employees looking for or submitting documents, employees charged with onboarding new clients or vendors, sending approval forms for outside counsel to work with an organization, and triaging and routing miscellaneous legal questions. 

Tonkean customers routinely use the platform for those sorts of issues. And sometimes, improving legal intake has to do with augmenting existing solutions, like Ironclad, or replacing others, like TAP.

Here’s what each looks like, in brief summary. We hope this helps spurs your imagination, as it pertains to the honestly potentially exciting world of legal intake automation. (We’re serious!)

What automating legal intake looks like with intake orchestration

Here are a few things that enterprise legal ops teams are using intake orchestration tools like Tonkean to do today: 

  • Automating outside counsel management processes, including new engagements, managing records, and leadership reporting.
  • Creating a company-wide services portal for legal intake to enhance visibility, manage team capacity, and reporting. 
  • Intake from Slack, using NLP to evaluate messages and respond to NDAs and campaign internal order (IO) requests.
  • Automating requests to set up new users in Ironclad, along with centralized reporting.
  • Intaking, triaging, and reviewing requests for patent ideas and solicitations to be included in company patents. Establishing a metrics dashboard that gives the team visibility into request data, such as the number of requests, types, submitters, and so on. 
  • Intake of vendor, retailer, and contractor agreements that come to the legal team via Tonkean and Google forms from other units across the entire business. 
  • Triaging and orchestrating email requests from outside law firms who wish to work with the company’s subsidiaries’ conflict waivers processes. Requesters need approval from the correct internal groups, and Tonkean starts and monitors two separate email chains between requesters and those groups.
  • Automating legal mailroom operations intake by 1) scanning PDFs and routing them to the correct folder assigned to the appropriate department. And 2) triaging other mail and correspondence from Mailroom 360 to a Google sheet to prioritize and assign work.
  • Automating contract management: When a submitter uploads a final contract, Tonkean triages it through a group of approvers via Google Drive. Then each is uploaded to Evisort for historical analysis and connected with Airtable for tracking.
  • Automating intake of requests that come from sales, finance, marketing, HR, and external partners into the legal email inbox.
  • Consolidating and funneling all of the organization’s legal email requests through a Tonkean module that uses NLP to tag and assign owners.
  • When a requester fills out a form for a legal matter, the legal ops team gets a notification. They can approve or edit the details, and then Tonkean creates an entry in SimpleLegal.

The business value of automating legal intake

Ok, so why, really, does all this matter? 

The business value each customer draws from automating legal intake is as nuanced as legal intake challenges are diverse.

There are broad similarities, of course. Commonly, customers report increases in speed, simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use, along with better risk management and the ability to scale their operations. Meanwhile, there’s typically a reduction in errors. 

They also see better collaboration between parties and across teams.

There’s a lot of “more,” too. More visibility into the state of processes and transparency, thanks to the centralized reporting, which leads to greater control. More process compliance, which reduces risks of many kinds. And more time and cost savings. 

To get more detailed, here are some specific outcomes that Tonkean customers achieved:

  • A company that makes an AI-powered talent experience platform increased the searchability within their legal documents. Another customer, a retail shopping technology company, saved about five minutes for each retailer contract and increased its ability to measure demand thanks to Tonkean.  
  • A large technology company cut its cycle time in half and removed the change management burden from more than three dozen of its lawyers. 
  • A cybersecurity technology company was able to use Tonkean to automatically route 75% of its incoming legal requests. 
  • An enterprise cloud provider of finance and HR applications culled two to three hours of manual work per person per week.
  • Several Tonkean customers reported an increase in customer satisfaction scores (CSATs), and one specifically called out that it saw increased employee satisfaction, too. 

This is just a sample of the many ways in which applying intake orchestration to the challenge of legal intake can deliver positive business outcomes—regardless of the vertical or market a given customer is in. There are as many unique problems in legal intake to solve as there are legal operations teams. But today there exist technology solutions flexible and powerful enough to give you the ability to meaningfully address any of them.  

Get started with Tonkean’s LegalWorks platform, and see how Tonkean can streamline and automate your legal intake processes!

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