Legal intake is a common pain point for law firms, legal departments, and legal operations teams alike. Legal has to field initial outreach for everything including contract negotiations, legal matter creation, vendor or firm onboarding, and elements of the procure-to-pay process. Messages around these items arrive via loads of emails sent from a lot of internal and external parties…as well as a SharePoint form here and a Google Form there. You get pinged on Slack and Microsoft Teams. You likely get a lot of phone calls and even the occasional fax. (So many apps!)
This is the nature of the gig. To get a hold of you, people use whatever applications they prefer. They don’t care to engage with your forms or whatever other method of contact you prefer.
As a result, legal ops teams can feel a little stuck between a rock and a hard place. In our 2022 State of Business Operations report, ops professionals cited change management as one of their greatest barriers to improving processes. You can tear your hair out trying to win the losing battle of forcing intake to funnel through the avenues you prefer, or you can burn up all of your time juggling all the communication channels your customers use.
A better way to do legal intake
Well, how about you use Tonkean instead?
Tonkean is a no-code process automation tool that can orchestrate business processes and tasks of all kinds. It can do a multitude of specific things extremely well, including streamlining your legal intake, triage, and coordination.
How does Tonkean do this? Tonkean provides legal teams with a totally no-code workflow builder, with which they compose modules and solutions that can handle all kinds of intake. For example, Tonkean can monitor all of your various intake channels on its own. It can then funnel intake requests—issued from the plethora of channels and systems external stakeholders prefer—into a unified platform to help you keep track of all of them. Tonkean will also notify you in whatever application you like using when new requests come in.
The platform can even work with tools like DocuSign and Salesforce to perform actions that legal teams and their stakeholders care about, like generating NDAs, creating vendor onboarding tasks, and maintaining SOX compliance logs—really, anything involving Legal Matter Management (LMM) and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM).
Tonkean makes working across teams easy, too. Sales can stay in Salesforce, IT can stay in Jira, and HR and Finance can keep pinging in that Microsoft Teams channel, and all those requests are orchestrated through a series of business rules created by legal ops.
What was once a siloed and disconnected process is now a unified solution that meets people where they are. Instead of forcing people to the process, let’s bring the process to the people!
Triage and coordination
Let’s say all your requests are arriving in an organized and trackable fashion. Now, you need to triage them: Assess details like risk level and priority, collect missing information, and route them to the right legal person or team.
Tonkean has state of the art NLP (natural language processing) that you can configure to look for keywords in each request. With that knowledge, you can take action. For example, if a sales member emails that they need an NDA, the NLP will “hear” that and automatically assign the corresponding NDA task to the right person, automatically replying back with an answer and generating an NDA from a template inside Google Drive or DocuSign.
That’s just one example. And that’s the point. What nouns does your team care about? Contracts? Policies? Matters? New Hires? Tonkean takes your nouns and guides them through your company’s unique process, from request to completion.
(To talk to a Tonkean Solutions Architect about your specific processes, how Tonkean can solve them, and to see Tonkean in action, click here.)
Tonkean can provide a comprehensive view of all this activity. As a legal ops analyst, attorney, or manager, you can now wake up in the morning, sip your coffee, and go to a real-time dashboard of all your requests.
Across the top of this dashboard are example metrics showing number of requests, top request type, and average turnaround time. This gives you real, strategic insights to help you understand if SLAs are being met, which team members need help, and if resources must be adjusted.
In reality, most requests that come through probably won’t need such intervention, and can thus be automated. With Tonkean, this is easy to do. Especially because we already have the blueprints for many such modules built out, including Legal Request Form, Automatic Triage, and Auto-Respond to Common Questions.
Humans in the loop
When introducing automation into a process, ops teams assume they’re giving up personalized, intuition-driven human activity for a colder, inconsistent chatbot. At Tonkean, our philosophy is to leverage the strengths of automation and humans. We want to automate as many quick wins as possible but bring a human into the process for approvals, multiple-choice selection, and pre-filled forms.
The difference is that instead of tedious, copy-and-paste work or getting bombarded with notifications, a human gets the right data at the right time and only when they’re needed. We call this human-in-the-loop.
Here’s an example of how working with Tonkean really looks and feels in practice. If you like using Slack, you can build a Tonkean module that allows you to plug certain commands into Slack to initiate workflows.
Let’s say there’s a Slack channel called “#legalops” that allows anyone from the company to ask legal questions. If you were to type “I need an NDA,” Tonkean will use NLP to identify the request. From there, Tonkean asks you to “Kickoff an MNDA Workflow” with the simple click of a button. A form pops up asking you to select an account from a real-time list in Salesforce. You click a company, and Tonkean performs a “VLOOKUP” of sorts to retrieve NDA-relevant information from Salesforce, such as address and signer name.
Now, the human is in the loop to edit and confirm all the information. So, if a field were to be empty or outdated, you’re able to update accordingly before the next step. Once confirmed, Tonkean automatically generates an NDA in Ironclad, sends it off to the customer, and provides real-time updates on that NDA in the Slack thread where all the magic happened.
Check it out in real time!
And that’s just one example! The larger point here is there’s a smarter way to conduct intake. And Tonkean can help.