Avvoka – the basics
★ What is Avvoka?– A document automation platform
★ What does it do? – It covers the entire document automation lifecycle
★ How does it do that? – Avvoka’s automation logic is simple and visual. It allows users to collaborate and negotiate directly on the platform. Created documents are also turned into structured data sources, useful for analytics purposes.
★ Unique Selling Point – Intuitively complex and powerful
Entrepreneurs looking to found an innovative startup are often told to focus on a real problem to solve. During his time as a junior corporate lawyer, Eliot Benzecrit, co-founder of Avvoka, found this problem to be the fundamental disconnect between the available standard contract form templates, and management knowing what the sales teams had actually contracted for. Surely, there must be a better way to automate this process of generating documents from a standard draft and to extract key information from these documents? There sure is and that’s what Avvoka is all about!
Covid-19, a mindset game changer?
When asked about the impact of Covid-19 on Avvoka, Eliot notes that as a result of remote working, process automation has really come into focus. The pandemic has forced certain processes to go online and use new technologies. For example, unless you wanted a huge amount of boxes delivered to your home, due diligence work had to be adapted to the new reality. This immediate need leads people to Avvoka and then acts as a gateway drug to all the other possibilities it offers. Overall, Covid-19 has led to a massive uptake of their workflow tool and meant Avvoka has come out stronger.
But, is this mindset change here to stay? What about the lawyers who are happy with using Microsoft Word?
First of all, Word is an excellent, reliable tool that does work and there ought to be an onus on tech providers to respect it. Indeed, Avvoka’s start and end points are uploading and downloading Word documents (if so wanted). But, Word equally has its limitations, which is where LegalTech tools come in. For example, it can’t structure your data stored in the documents, it can only tell you what is on the paper. If despite these benefits, some lawyers resist moving away from Word, then that’s on the technology vendors, not them.
As Giles Thompson, Head of Growth at Avvoka puts it:
“If we’re not conveying the benefits of what we’re doing and we’re not creating models that work with the existing ones, that’s not the lawyer’s fault.”
Instead, Avvoka believes in really listening to what lawyers need, recognizing that their existing processes are there for a reason and to configure workflows that reflect that.
Education changes to help junior lawyers
Whose responsibility is it to teach junior lawyers how to use this kind of technology? Employers really shouldn’t expect the finished product straight out of university but delegating training entirely to firms may not be right either. Giles suggests that legal tech vendors can play a role in plugging the gap, which Avvoka does through the Avvoka Academy. Their Academy sessions are a great way to gain legal tech work experience. Not only are students trained on document automation, it is a great opportunity to equip them with knowledge of these tools upon entering firms. Imagine having the skills and confidence needed to suggest concrete, innovative solutions as a junior lawyer!
Listen to hear more…
Want to know more? Eliot and Giles have a lot more to say on the above in the podcast episode, where they also make some interesting predictions for the industry in the next 3-5 years. Give it a listen!