Discover how Sirius Legal, a mid-sized boutique law firm, leveraged ClauseBase’s robust decision tree and document generation engine, not only to draft contracts, but also to automate and template repetitive legal audit documents.
Sirius Legal is a mid-sized boutique law firm based in Belgium that advises a broad range of companies on technology, media, and IT related legal matters. The firm features a multidisciplinary team of professionals versed in the digital economy. Over the years, Sirius Legal has become a fully digitalized law firm and a pioneer in legal innovation.
Like many other law firms, Sirius Legal faces the challenge of delivering high quality legal services at scale. One specific service the firm offers is a full legal audit of web shops in order to assess compliance with consumer protection and data protection laws, as part of a long-standing partnership with SafeShops.be, Belgium’s leading federation of e-commerce professionals.
When Sirius Legal took up legal audits on web shops over 10 years ago, the work proved to be highly labour-intensive. This was due to the continuously changing legal landscape in e-commerce and to the fact that each audit required an individual and time-consuming website analysis, that needed to be incorporated into a manually drafted audit document. First attempts to speed up the audit process over time included manual copy/pasting from precedent audits or from example clauses and the use of separate checklists and questionnaires, all creating an enormous challenge in ensuring quality and consistency in style and content over the course of hundreds of audits.
The work was also highly time-sensitive, as agreed upon service level agreements contained strict feedback deadlines. The firm also knew that audit requests typically surged towards the end of the year and that scalability within the team and an efficient workflow were crucial. A manual, “reinvent the wheel” approach to drafting these audit documents quickly proved to be unsustainable.
Bart van den Brande, Managing Partner at Sirius Legal, says:
“We used to draft these documents the way legal documents are traditionally drafted – a lot of knocking on doors to find relevant material we could reuse, a lot of copying and pasting, and a lot of time wasted on getting the styling of a document just right. Having experienced success with ClauseBase in the past, we figured its drafting power and built-in functionality to create decision trees could be used for more than just contracts.”
Ever keen to improve their quality of service, Sirius Legal took a step back and assessed its current process. The firm quickly found that – while plentiful – the list of potential legal issues found on websites was ultimately finite. A lot of the issues that popped up on one website also tended to reappear on other websites.
As a first step, the team mapped the different potential issues and their related recommendations/assessments. Subsequently, the firm’s senior lawyer’s expertise was used to build a ClauseBase-powered audit generator that could handle any legal complexity. Based on this audit generator, the firm’s associates can now create automated audit documents, based on a simple and easy-to-use questionnaire that they can fill out.
When the expected annual review surge came along by the end of 2021, the firm was prepared. An Haenen, Marketing & Relationships Manager at Sirius Legal had this to say:
“Every year we were facing the same challenges in the auditing process. Drafting the audit documents was time-consuming, and we had to deploy several team members full-time to get everything done on time. The automation of the audit documents through ClauseBase turned out to be a major step forward for our firm. Now the end-of-year surge can be managed by just one person and large amounts of audits can be completed within the agreed upon time frame and within available budgets. This year, we barely even noticed the surge.”
Sirius Legal is now able to deliver higher-quality audits, without spending untenable amounts of time and human capital on writing them. In 2021, their automated audit generator allowed them for the first time in many years to manage the yearly surge before they even knew it had begun. On top of that, it became easier to manage annual reviews and renewal of the web shop audits, as lawyers can now adjust the previously created audit with a few clicks and can easily update the audit generator to include new requirements imposed by ever changing consumer protection laws.
Building on its previous successes, the firm is continuing to apply ClauseBase in different areas of its service delivery, allowing them to draft a wide range of legal advice, contracts, and court documents. The firm is even working on a large-scale initiative, the first of its kind in Belgium, to transform the client interaction process and is currently exploring ways to make ClauseBase an integral part of that initiative.