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Challenge:  Centralize Legal Requests So Not Dependent on Whichever Lawyer is Contacted 

Solution:  Online Platform for Intake and Matter Management 

When fast-track contract requests are stuck in emails and matter needed held on location in file cabinets so that lawyers on leave have to log in to check on essentials, centralizing legal work is more than deadline management, it’s key to providing efficient customer service. 

Even better is when that workload is translated into a quick-read summary spewed by software that makes resource planning easy to review. 

“Before this, we had no tracking, no hold on the work we were doing. And there was a lack of matter management — when someone was on leave, we were depending on their paper files,” says Nicola Gannon, senior manager and corporate lawyer, Craveable Brands. 

“Everything was being done by emails and causing delays, and a silo effect, because only the person who was emailed knew about it. And we were never able to clock off — checking emails even when sick,” she says. 

Craveable Brands is a franchiser (restaurants, currently about 600, handled with a legal team of five) and many documents contain chunks of repetition which they were just copying and pasting. “We figured there must be something that would do that automatically for us,” says Gannon. 

From All Over the Place to All in One Place 

Developing a document and contract management system , LawVu, to envelop intake, matter files, and configure a snapshot of work that encompasses individual assignments to departments with the greatest number of requests, and more, turned the disorder into a simple channel for swift organization.  

Every intake request is “triaged,” Gannon says, by support staff. Required fields in the forms enable them to gather all necessary information, thereby reducing the previous back and forth correspondence.  

User-friendly, the system automatically populate standard clauses in the franchising documents. Once a form is reviewed and considered ready by support staff, “contract wizards” create the suite of 6 – 9 franchising documents in estimated 20 minutes, down from 90 minutes or more, says Gannon. The corporate lawyer checks, amendments, if required, are inserted, and the contract goes right to DocuSign. And, “Instead of working in silos, dependent on one lawyer for every matter, because the work is in the system, other lawyers can take over when someone is on leave.” 

Financing and Getting Everyone on Board  

Securing the budget meant Gannon had to put together a business case. “There's a difficult labor market now, here in Australia, so it's difficult to find good staff, and they’ve gotten more expensive, so part of the case we could prove was that this is a good way to do more with less,” Gannon says. 

“As for the team — they could see it would make everyone's life easier, so it was an easy adopt.” 

Training While Using 

Though the software was easy to learn per the demos Gannon had seen, she designed a step-by-step roll-out with regular training to make the process less stressful for staff, especially given the demand to keep up with the franchise contracts. 

“I took a staged approach and didn't expect it to be 100 percent operational overnight. We started with new matters, onboarded teams with our two largest internal clients going first a fortnight apart, and kept the files from the older work in paper,” she says. 

She presented the new program to the legal team and then arranged smaller groups training to learn how to use it with the add-on of a manual she had written up. Every week a question-and-answer session was scheduled and she provided tips as staff got more adept at the system.  The largest internal clients were provided personal small group training, followed up with a question-and-answer session, and an introductory PowerPoint with voiceover was developed that could be sent to those less frequent users. 

What Success Looks Like 

“We've gone from shelves and shelves of files down to about one.” And: 

  • Improved visibility of the volume of legal team work — 151 new matters in the four months after implementing, and 700 at the 12-month mark; 
  • More time for lawyers to concentrate on value-added work instead of standard contract creation and review; 
  • Support staff ability to handle more partly by the system allowing emails to be shared within it and not having to copy-and-paste emails into shared documents;  
  • While two lawyers were hired in the last year, support staff increase only to three from 2.6 for now six lawyers; 
  • Estimated that outsourcing needed of some of their legal work would have been greater if not for the time saved in other work; 
  • Determined that franchising and property departments are biggest internal clients;  
  • Supports flexible working from home — the team now has one member in Brisbane (Australia) and another about to start in Melbourne, both on the other side of the country; and 
  • Staff don’t need to log in and check work while on leave. 

What Else Helped 

“I connected with the provider in June 2021  at the ACC Australia In-House Day where LawVu had a store. And all the networking there, it’s always so valuable.” 

The company also provided resources by way of a contract position to assist with the added workload and the lead support staff in the team consulted on administrative processes to ensure alignment. 

Life-Work Balance 

“I have four kids and was doing a renovation during this project while my husband was, and is, studying for a career change — a glass of wine helps me wind down. Sometimes I get to exercise, just a walk, meditate.  

“Also, it’s about not seeking perfect. And it’s about having compassion for other people, working around that they may not have the same standards or priorities as you do.” 

The Future 

Other documents in the business, including leasing and other frequently used franchise documents, and, potentially more contracts, could become part of the LawVu platform or something similar, especially now that they can quickly review which departments submit requests and how often, and can use estimates to estimate future work.  

“We're still looking to see how we can improve our processes. It's having a knock-off effect on other teams that we can find time savings for due to using this interface,” says Gannon. And, “We are building a knowledge base on it from the requests that we repeatedly get, all customized to particular needs.” 

Now that Craveable Brands’ added goals are being realized as they ramp up franchises, new legal asks caught up with them and new-found time provided by the LawVu system is all but evaporated.  

“So it was timely. Someone in the team has said she doesn't know how we would have managed the boom in work without this.”  


Nicola Gannon

Senior Manager and Corporate Lawyer,

Craveable Brands