LAS VEGAS – When LinkSquares launches its ticketing system for in-house legal departments next month, it envisions general counsel gaining parity with C-suite colleagues in their ability to show the value their team brings to the organization.
The idea is to give legal teams their equivalent to Jira, which started out as a ticketing system for engineers, or Salesforce, the end-to-end business tracking system many companies use today.
Without a similar system for legal teams to track the work they do from the moment they get a request to when the job is completed, it’s hard for the GC or chief legal officer to quantify the volume of work their team does and the amount of value it brings on a reporting-period basis.
“We’re trying to give them data that quantifies what they do and why the business should keep investing in them,” LinkSquare’s CEO and co-founder Vishal Sunak told Legal Dive at the 2023 Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) Global Institute here.
LinkSquare’s solution, called Prioritize, won’t be the first intake software for legal teams. But most products available today are for law firms and are limited to matter management. In-house teams need something different.
Separate from the work they do on contracts – for which they have contract lifecycle management (CLM) software for tracking what they do – the types of requests the legal team gets are so broad that a tracking tool can be hard to pin down.
“The company just hammers them all day long,” said Sunak. “‘I need an H-1B for a new engineer we’re hiring. We have to respond in 20 days to this complaint letter. This trademark is expiring; make sure to have it filed and buttoned up on time.’”
These requests typically get to the legal team by email, usually to the attorney who specializes in the matter. At that point, how that request is tracked, or whether it’s tracked, depends in part on how the attorney works. For the person making the request, there might be no visibility into the matter’s progress, maybe for months.
“The state of the art currently is to just throw it over the wall to Legal and who knows what they do when they receive it,” Sunak said. “You don’t know anything about it. ‘Hello? Did you even receive this email?’”
LinkSquares is hoping Prioritize will solve this by creating a single intake point for all legal work that will systematize the workflow, depending on the type of request, and give people who need to know about it visibility into what’s happening.
“Right now, this request thing eats up a lot of time,” Sunak said. “You have a hard time quantifying how much you do, how long it takes, what types of requests you’re doing more of.”
LinkSquares launched in 2015 as a CLM provider, with some 1,000 companies using its software today, the company says. It took advantage of the 2,500 legal operations professionals and others at the CLOC conference this week to give a preview of its intake product before its formal launch at the end of June.
Sunak thinks people on in-house legal teams should find it intuitive to use because it was designed based on input from the company’s existing customer base.
“Our customers have their hands on the steering wheel,” he said. “We built this without introducing our own bias into what we should build.”
Neither Sunak nor the other co-founder, Chris Combs, the company’s senior vice president of business development, are lawyers. So they’ve relied on in-house professionals to guide the design of their products, starting with the components of the CLM system, what they call Analyze and Finalize, and later an e-signature function.
Analyze is a contract repository that GCs can mine for data and Finalize is for creating the contracts.
“We spent years listening to what their issues are,” Sunak said. “Prioritize came from listening to them talk about email – how everyone bugs them all day long on email.”
The products are built on the AWS platform and Sunak believes the company has the infrastructure in place to build whatever in-house teams need.
He thinks the company could be releasing a product a year for the foreseeable future. That would include something using generative AI, the large language model (LLM) computing tool that’s been the buzz of the CLOC conference.
“We’ve been playing around with that for a long time,” he said.
As it has with its other products, the company has been using focus groups and its annual user conference to get a sense of how the technology should be deployed in what it offers in-house teams. When it does roll something out, it will be based on what its customers want, Sunak said.
“We’re still in the first five seconds of this thing,” he said. “We’re just getting a conversation going about what they need and how they use it.”