Having been a corporate paralegal in the Silicon Valley area for more than 20 years, I know all too well the pressures of juggling conflicting priorities. Whether it is the sheer number of client companies that I worked on in a single month or the time pressure associated with almost any task, responding to the demands of clients and partners would have been impossible without the right systems in place.
What’s the inherent conflict? Corporate paralegals are constantly pulled in different directions by a client who needs an answer yesterday and a partner who needs the work done an hour ago. As a result, important tasks that should be done today are often put on the back burner; they end up being done at the last minute (which frequently means at transaction time), as a deadline approaches, or even when it’s too late.
The ultimate question for many law firms or legal departments is whether they can stop for a moment today and invest the time to help their paralegal staff get organized and work more efficiently or whether they will just continue to struggle through last minute fire drills year after year, searching for the same information and repeating the same tasks that took too much time in the past. Those who choose to use the right systems have a competitive advantage–they are able to reduce the demands placed on their paralegal staff by streamlining and automating many of those tasks previously done manually.
Common tasks where wasted time and effort could be reduced or even eliminated include:
- Searching for minute books and copies of basic entity information, such as minutes of meetings and lists of board members;
- Emailing documents to colleagues and clients and instead using self service/direct access;
- Manually calculating ownership reports and capitalization tables for due diligence or investor requests; and
- Keeping track of upcoming due dates, deadlines and follow up activities.
Of all these tasks, the most time consuming and error prone is ensuring there are 100% accurate ownership records. Unfortunately, discrepancies in tracking, reporting, and knowing what happened at board meetings and with transfers of ownership tend to be discovered at transaction time – just when you don’t want to find any problems. Well, why does it have to be that way when systems are now available to insure that everyone is looking at the same set of reports, documents, and cap tables?
Imagine your paralegals spending less time searching for answers and manually updating spreadsheets and more time responding to critical client matters. It’s what your clients and attorneys want. Increasingly tech-savvy clients are pushing their lawyers for faster answers and direct access to their own information and documents.
For most of us who are faced with the question of improving the way we work, the biggest challenge is making the decision to do it today. It’s far easier to postpone getting organized since inevitably change involves something new, something to learn, and at times re-thinking what is the best way to do it in the long run. But, just for a moment, think about how much less stressful your work life would be if your entity and ownership information was easy to find and up-to-date and everyone on your team had access to it wherever they were, whenever they wanted to see it.
If that sounds like an improvement, let us know whether we can show you how so many others have done it already with Corporate Focus. Your paralegals will thank you. Your attorneys and clients will make you feel like a hero. I know that’s how I felt every time someone needed an answer to a question or an updated report for a new transaction–when I knew I could give them the right answer in moments just by looking at the data in Corporate Focus.