Castrén & Snellman (C&S) is a full-service business law firm that advises Finnish and international clients in transactions, dispute resolution and a wide range of other specialised facets of business law. Castrén & Snellman’s mission is to help clients build sustainable success stories. Founded in 1888, C&S is the oldest law firm in Finland. Today, C&S is one of the largest law firms in Finland, employing over 250 people.
Challenge: Streamlining Service Delivery
In 2015, C&S began looking for technology to help the firm streamline its legal service delivery process. The firm’s Knowledge Management Team, led by Paula Aura, Head of Knowledge Management & Innovation, assembled a project team and began the search for technology to help streamline document drafting and effectively capture and manage the firm’s collective know-how.
The new technology solution needed to meet a robust set of criteria, including streamlining and unifying document generation across the firm, enabling the use of alternative and tailored clauses and empowering lawyers to work within Microsoft Word. After evaluating the industry-leading document automation solutions, C&S selected Sysero because it offered an easy-to-use system that could handle complex workflows and be customised to fit the firm’s unique and evolving requirements.
“We wanted a partner who had a deep understanding of the legal market and was willing to closely work with us to implement our vision,” explained Aura. “Sysero provided an innovative solution and a knowledgeable and collaborative team.”
Solution: Introducing Signe
The project started in 2016 and launched shortly after in summer that year, becoming one of the first legal technologies implemented within the firm. Designed from the ground up to meet the needs of C&S, the Signe tool leverages Sysero’s document automation technology to ease the workload of the firm’s lawyers, speed up the document drafting process and improve the quality of drafts. An intuitive, Word-based automation tool and powerful workflows make it easy for lawyers and legal tech trainees to automate and collaborate on documents.
A key part of Signe’s success is due to the Knowledge Management team’s Legal Tech trainees: Elena Tulimaa, Laura Aitala, and Sebastian Palomäki. The team is responsible for maintaining and managing Signe, which includes automating documents and training lawyers and personnel to use the system. Over the years, the adoption of Signe has continued to grow largely due to the team’s ongoing training sessions, collaboration with lawyers and continued automation work.
“One of the best things about working with Sysero is that documents can be easily modified and edited,” said Aitala. “Unlike other tools on the market, Sysero provides a straight-forward, easy-to-use system that provides consistency across document automation and generation.”
“The support we receive from Sysero has also played a significant role in the success of Signe,” added Tulimaa. “We’re a small team and having dedicated, always-on support has been really helpful and allowed us to make the most of the system and its growing set of features.”
Benefits: Sustainable Service Innovation
Since going live with Signe, C&S has transformed the way its lawyers use model documents when drafting and increased efficiency in the drafting process. The Legal Tech team works closely with almost all practice areas and business services teams to drive internal automation projects. To date, the team has automated more than 65 high-profile and frequently-used documents, including Non-Disclosure Agreements, Anti-Money Laundering Information Requests, VC Shareholders’ Agreements, and trainee contracts.
Through a more streamlined approach to document creation, C&S has been able to shift its lawyers’ time from drafting documents to providing added value to clients. Additionally, automation has enabled C&S to minimise the risk of human error and improve risk management through standardised contracts and customised instructions for use.
“Creating documents is so much easier now for lawyers and personnel,” said Aura. “More lawyers and teams have been involved over the years, and our team continues to improve working methods and automation techniques, paving the way for the firm’s future working practices.”
Since launching Signe in 2016, the Knowledge Management team has learned some valuable lessons, including the importance of sufficient training and communication and finding the right internal champions. “It takes courage, perseverance, a marketing perspective and innovation to embark on automation work,” explained Palomäki. “Finding the right people to help promote the project and help others understand the benefits is key to making automation work in the long-term.”
As the needs of the firm and its clients evolve, C&S’s Knowledge Management team continues to innovate and uncover new ways to bring the benefits of automation closer to its clients. In 2019, C&S launched Signe as a document automation service, which enables clients to reduce the amount of time spent on routine work by quickly generating new agreements based on existing templates.
“Signe has been a great help to our lawyers and internal personnel and we want to provide our clients with the same benefits,” said Aura. “With Sysero, we can continue to extend and evolve our automation technology to provide differentiated service through the adoption of technology.”