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The Legal Ops Podcast: Talking Tech

The Legal Ops Podcast: Talking Tech

Summize
February 10, 2021

Transcript

Alex Rosenrauch:

Hello. Welcome to Talking Tech. My name's Alex Rosenrauch.

Elliot Leibu:

And I'm Elliot Leibu. Each Talking Tech episode we interview legal technology vendors from around the world. We ask them about their product, its use cases and benefits, who their target audience is and much more. Alex, who've we got on the show today?

Alex Rosenrauch:

Elliot, we had an awesome conversation with Tom Dunlop from Summize, which is a contract review tool and a lightweight assistant to contract lifecycle management. Great conversation. Let's crack into it.

Elliot Leibu:

Tom Dunlop. Welcome to Talking Tech.

Tom Dunlop:

Thanks very much. And thank you for having me.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Hey Tom. So you are the CEO and founder of Summize. So tell us a bit about Summize. Tell us a bit about you. What is Summize? How did it come about? Hit us with it.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no problem. So, I mean, basically as a background about myself, so I'm a lawyer by trade and I remember it started out as a private practice lawyer. So did the usual route to its qualification. And then once I qualified as a solicitor, I quite soon switched to being an in-house lawyer and generally worked for fast-growth tech software businesses. So the last couple of positions, I was a legal director of software businesses, usually taking them from some kind of investment rounds to some kind of exit. And then founding another one. And it was going through that process, I guess, both the due diligence of a transaction, but also the day-to-day management of contracts. And just trying to understand what was in contracts that led to, I guess, me having a conversation with my co-founder, who is a senior software engineer at one of the businesses I worked at. And we got our heads together, thought, I looked out to the market, at the products that could have assisted me at the time, but nothing was really what I was looking for.

So I approached him. We came up with a few concepts and some prototypes, and that was the birth of Summize really. So in terms of, I guess, what is Summize and what did I feel was missing from the market? But basically, the big thing that I found was that there wasn't very many tools out there to do with contracts, whether that's quick reviews, whether that's projects, whether that's just day-to-day management, that was quite lightweight, quite easy to use. And also cost-effective is definitely a player as well. And so it was those key things I wanted to create something which was very accessible, very quick to get going. Because a lot of the time lawyers are very stretched and finding the time to actually train up a product or get a product to a point where it becomes really useful, they don't really have the time.

And also a lot of products were trying to change actually lawyers behavior. So they're trying to make them adopt a new platform. Trying to make them change how they were doing something day-to-day. So a big thing about Summize has always been, we want to do the contract review, the contract management understanding, but we want to do it in a lightweight, easy to use way. And we want to make sure that there is no big, heavy implementation. People can just get up and going with it quite quickly. And that's the big ethos behind the product really.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And Tom, just for other backgrounds, location? Where are you based currently?

Tom Dunlop:

So we're based in Manchester in the UK. So we very much have a good UK presence, but we've also, I guess, mainly English speaking countries, really. So America and obviously Australia where we're having an increase in presence.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And just a bit of background on the company as well. So when did it all start? How many employees do you have? I'm just trying to get an understanding of who you are and who you are as a company as well.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So we founded in 2018, so we're about two and a half years, coming up to three years. And I guess the early parts of the company were very much creating a prototype. We went for investment in 2019 and had a couple of rounds of pre-seed investment and then commercialized a product around, well, I guess about nine months ago-ish, maybe 12 months ago, in terms of really pushing the product commercially. So today we sit at about 13 full-time employees, a couple more just starting next month. And we have an experienced board advisory to support that as well. So we have the actual founder and CEO of the company that I was the GC at, where I met my co-founder. So the guy who actually founded that company, he's one of our investors and chairman and also the former CEO of DWF as well is there as a non-executive advisory position. So we've got a good strong board, about 13, well, soon to be 15 employees and started about two and a half, three years ago.

Elliot Leibu:

Tom, and that decision to go from being an employee GC at another organization, and then to make that decision to cut away and do something for yourself. Was that a big decision for you? What was going through your mind when you were thinking, I'm going to go and create this for myself now?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. I mean, it definitely was a big decision because, as you know, legal or legal jobs and particularly being a GC of a good software business, I was in the position that I'd always wanted to get to because I love to be in tech. And I was thoroughly enjoying the role, but I think there's two things, I think. One, that it's quite infectious being in software businesses, around entrepreneurial people, the founders of these businesses, and really understanding how they grew their business from basically from the garage or however it started. So that was always something in my mind that I thought I'd always wanted to start my own business. And then I guess, secondly, being so involved in the legal industry, whether you come up with ideas to start your own business, and it might be something completely irrelevant to your day-to-day, what was relevant about this was, as soon as I saw the early prototypes that we created and I was the client. I was the person that essentially the product would have been sold to.

So you almost, you have that validation immediately. And the market's huge. I knew there was obviously an opportunity there. So it obviously was a risk and it was a hard decision, but I think the combination of always wanting to do it, seeing it from the inside, and then knowing that the market is the size it is and ready for, I guess, disruption, however, you want to term it, really made the decision, in some ways, quite an easy one. So, yeah, but I'm glad I've done it hopefully, still.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And Tom, you touched on it just before, but I'm really keen to understand the target audience. Now we will dive quite deep into the use cases, but you're talking about there being, effectively, the customer as the GC there, but could you expand it and let us know, and let our listeners know, about the target market for Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So we have, I mean, essentially one of the hard things we actually had with the product to start with was, it is quite relevant to a lot of different, I guess, customers. So when we first went to market, we spread our net quite wide. And so that's led to us having customers ranging from large international law firms that have, across generally about four different departments. So corporate, commercial, usually employment side and then property. So we've found traction with those different departments in very large firms to more regional firms, and then even to the sole practitioner firms as well. So we've had customers ranging between all three. And then obviously, as you alluded to before, we went to the in-house world. I'd say that that is more an in-house team seems to be picking it up.

I mean, we've got large PLCs with 15,000 employees, with an in-house team of, say, around 30-ish to, again, sole general councils in a business. And then probably what's quite unusual with the product is we have actually also sold it to SMEs with no in-house legal. So that's the kind of, I guess, who we've sold it to. And when we went out there to the market, what we've really seen in terms of where our product really fits the best is definitely the more mid-market law firm. And then the more, I guess, one to 10 person in-house legal team. So they seem to be very underserved in the market from products today. And something that Summize seems to really fit quite well with.

Elliot Leibu:

And we definitely want to get into use cases and benefits, but I think the place to start is what does it actually do? How do I use it? What's the scenario I'm in, where I want to use this product and what does it do for me?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, it's a good question. It's a good question. So I guess taking a step back in terms of the actual, I reference things like manage, understand, review, but the way I see the contract life cycle management is that you have four distinct areas where you can create contracts, review them, manage them, and then I have this fourth one which is understand them, which is the project-based extraction of terms. So we sit along the understand, manage and review parts. And so in terms of how you'd use it, I guess, day-to-day, we have a Microsoft Word add-in. So within that, you can get quick summaries of the contract that you're reading. So we have these contract types built-in and different clauses. So basically you open up a Microsoft Word document, you open up our add-in, you can literally press basically summarize, and it will give you a summary on the right-hand side.

And then that will navigate you around the Word document. You can also incorporate your playbook. So precedent clause is your standard positions. From a law firm perspective that can be split by clients so you can get a summary, but then when you get to a clause, you can quickly replace that clause with your precedent clause. You can do that markup using the tool. And then the third part of the Microsoft Word add-in, and it's all about definitions. It's all about being able to highlight a defined term anywhere in the document. And it will give you the definition on the right-hand side to save that scrolling up and down within a document. And it also allows you to edit that definition live in the panel on the right-hand side.

So they're the main three aspects from the Word add-in. And then, I guess, separately to that, we have a web application. And that would work in a very similar vein, but you would upload either a PDF or a word document to our platform. And then basically it gives you a summary on the left-hand side of the screen. And the right-hand side is the contract itself. And it will just allow you to basically create a quick summary or a red flag review of a contract, and then export that in a number of different ways, whether that's shareable links to Word or to Excel. And then you would then share that with the client or share that internally. So that is a brief overview, I guess, as to how you would use it. That hopefully answers that.

Elliot Leibu:

Hey, how good is a podcast for essentially describing a product demo? Well done. Hey, just one thing, I want to circle back to one thing you said. So you mentioned that it sounds to me like the Word plug-in, in particular, is designed to help me navigate around and quickly jump to the content that's relevant to me, and also to get my own clauses in there. Out of interest, if I've got a bunch of precedent clauses that I've got in my database or whatever, and I'm navigating around a contract that's on someone else's paper, is there anything that helps me to put my own clauses into that paper in a way that makes them make sense? Or is that still my job? Is it more just facilitating me finding the right spot to put it?

Alex Rosenrauch:

You're trying to automate yourself, hey Elliot? It's all right.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. I mean, so we've got... Basically, the way that we collate clauses together in the way that we've tried to build the product is all about answering questions. So for example, if you want to know, how am I going to get paid and when, as a question, we might have four or five different clauses, all separate, almost like precedent clauses you might have in the background. And we'll pull out all of those different three or four different, I guess, components to that one question. And then you can then pick which bits that you can displace with your own precedent wording, or edit them there. So because we've got that quite very detailed level of being able to find information, also replace it, whether it's your completely different customer paper, whether it's your own precedents, it allows you to add granular with what changes you're making.

So that lends itself quite well to, yes, it's a customer clause. You might not want to edit the whole thing and just completely red line the entire clause, but you might want to amend one small part of it, for example, the invoicing requirements within a payment terms clause. So you can get quite granular with the system to allow you to not have to do that full my precedent versus your precedent. It can be a bit more flexible than that with the way that we tried to build the system.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Yeah. One thing that's coming to my mind is IP rights. Generally, they're split up across all parts of the agreement. So you're saying that it will identify, like in the use case I was talking about, IP rights and say, look, there are some IP rights in this clause and this clause and this clause, and then put them together and then you can decide whether or not you want to change this part and this part and this part. Have I got that right, Tom?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. Yeah. So there's that side as well. Then there's what we also do, which is quite unique with the product, is we give you that best result, but we also then rank by relevance every other paragraph in the contract. So what you basically get is the best result for that particular clause you designed, but then you also get a subset of paragraphs that we say, we think you should look at these because we think they're also relevant and that will scroll you around the document to be able to take you to those. And they're all ranked like a Google search, basically, by a priority order. So either way, you get taken to anything relevant, whether that's together in one clause or whether it's spread out over a number of different clauses.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Okay. So I want to just turn to then a use case, and we're already talking about this, but to give something more practical, let's say I'm a lawyer in-house and I am reviewing a third-party paper, license grant for some software. All right. So I think that's the use case that we're in. So I'm the lawyer. It's come to me. It's not on my paper. I need to review this entire agreement. Can you walk me through that use case and then talk about some of the benefits for me as the in-house lawyer?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So I'll walk you through that and then when it gets to the final as well, because that's where the product syncs up. So basically you get the document in by email, you get the Word document, potentially, that's come through. Obviously then you open that up. And as I was describing before, you can you get a quick summary and you can do the quick markups using your own precedent clauses.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And this is in Word?

Tom Dunlop:

This is in Word.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Great.

Tom Dunlop:

And then once you... So you've done your markup and then you may be sent it back to the other side or we can integrate into DocuSign as well. So let's say that you've done the markup, you sent it back to the other side, it comes back and it's a final signed document. We can link that to DocuSign. And then what that does is can then fire straight back into our web application as well. So you do the markup within Word, but then you can then go straight... That can get sent to the web application. And that'll create a summary of the key terms in the web application from more of a management perspective because I think that's part of a big thing about our product is it's both pre and post signature, so it can assist you with the pre, but then in the post-world what it does is, it's very easy to use. Almost like contract management system that has things like calendars, where you can put key renewal dates.

So once you've done that contract, you pull out those key renewal dates and they go into the calendar. We also have this thing called insights, which is all about asking questions of your contracts, of your signed contracts. So it might be how do I terminate my contract with, and then enter the name and it will give you the answer. So it's both once you get the contract in, being able to do the quick markups and get it out very, very quickly. But then post that is being able to actually use the information from that contract day-to-day, find relevant terms, and pull them out really quickly, as well as the calendar feature. So, yeah, I guess it's the unique thing about the product is that it does serve both the pre-signature and post-signature.

Alex Rosenrauch:

I want to unpack probably two things that we just talked about there. The first one is I asked a question on whether or not, in this particular use case, a lawyer could be doing this, or whether someone in the business could be doing this? Because if the system is able to summarize the contract, say these are the key clauses. And then say, this particular clause is not aligned with our precedent clause and let's swap out something is from the bank that has been approved by legal. Is this potentially a tool that the business could use to negotiate simple contract or not even simple contracts, just contracts within a certain parameters?

Tom Dunlop:

Yes, it's getting that way. So, I mean, at the moment, we're very much, I guess, we're selling to legal teams, selling to the law firms. One interesting thing that we've had quite recently is law firms are now actually giving their clients access to our platform. So it's one of those where they see the benefit of having that visibility as a client, almost like a managed contract service in some ways, where they get the visibility of what's in there, but what they're then allowing them is to, because they've got these created contract types. So what is this? Is it services, supplier agreement? Okay, well, we've already got a subset of clauses that are already built basically, relevant, that the client can then upload, get their summary through their products without actually having to go either back to the law firm or, in a different way, they can actually dictate. And coming back to the question-based answers, they can actually just go, well, actually in this contract I want to see, how do I get paid?

How can I terminate it? What's the biggest risks? And they're the three questions they want to know. That might go through to the law firm and then it's already done a summary of those clauses, which might be a collection of 20 different clauses in the contract. And they can just really interact with their client a lot better. So that's the kind of legal work in the law firm world. And then from a, I guess, an in-house perspective, it's kind of the same thing where I think what we're finding is it certainly becomes that front door for the legal department, where they can say, okay, for your contract before you send it to us, basically tell us the questions you want answered. What do you want to find out about this contract? And then they do the selection. It does the summary, but then it will probably go to the legal department already summarized with exactly what they want to pull out first.

So you're acting as that sense check. And I do think we'll get to the point where they just use it self-help but I think we're conscious not to progress there too quickly because I think, as you know, I mean, a lawyer's job, the risks that they're able to balance day-to-day might change. What was true three weeks ago might not be true today. So we're constantly trying to make sure we're just assisting lawyers the best we can rather than design something to replace them, ultimately, in the role. But there's definitely the potential there to certainly go down that route without hope we're being too imposing.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Yeah. Yeah. So it's like an augment as opposed to replace. I think that makes sense. The other point that I wanted to make, that I wanted to press against was you explained the scenario where you can ask the system questions about a contract. And that's actually quite huge because I see a lot of different systems out there and I haven't seen a system be able to do that well yet. So I'm keen to understand what the limitations are? And again, if we think about this use case that I was talking about in terms of the software agreement, say I'm the business and say I want to know what the due date is or the start date was. I assume those are fairly simple ones that it can pull out and summarize for you, but what are the limitations to that feature? Because in my mind, that's quite huge.

And if anyone's listening in, in a in-house team... Geeze, say that a few times. They will be thinking, this would save me huge amounts of time because the amount of low volume... Sorry, high volume, low-risk questions about, when did this contract start? Or when's the renewal period? Or what is our disclosure requirements for, or destroy requirements around this clause, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera? So back to my question, what are the limitations around that feature?

Tom Dunlop:

So, I mean, very shortly, hopefully there won't be any limitations. And the reason I say that is because what we're putting in... At the moment, there's preset questions that you can select. So some of the more common ones, how do I terminate? What the key risks? That kind of thing. But what we're enabling is for the user to actually design a question. So the way that will work is you say exactly what you just said. Let's say what are the disclosure requirements? For example. And what you do in the background is you design clauses yourself in the system, which takes seconds. It's just basically putting a lot of keywords in, primary, secondary ones. And it's not a very complicated process. There's no long training period. But basically, you can then link that question to any number of clauses in your clause bank basically.

So what it will do is say, well, the answer to this question is what we need to do is look at these four different clauses. You can specify the output, sensitivity of those clauses, there's a load of controls in the system that allow you to very much keep control of that. So we're handing the power over to the user to say, whatever you have internally, whatever questions are likely to come up internally, you can design a subset of clauses that link to that question and get them answered in the product. So yeah, hopefully, there are no real limitations on it soon. I think to date it's been because they're very much preset, but I think we're getting to the point, hopefully quite soon, where they'll be very much self-help.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Look, I don't know about you, Elliot, but I'm... Oh, I was just going to say that gets me really excited. I don't know about you. That just sounds really cool, Tom. Over to you Elliott.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah, that does sound cool. But I've got another question to layer on top and that is, these questions that I can ask of the tool, is it contract by contract or can I ask the questions of the book? So in other words, can I say, I don't know, tell me about the level of risk of the IP rights that I have across this whole book of contracts? Or can I say, tell me all the number of contracts that have this type of clause or this type of arrangement? How does that question and answer stuff work?

Alex Rosenrauch:

Great question.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, it's either-or. So, because we have, I guess you can upload one document or a thousand, I guess, into the system at any one time. So we designed it and I guess there's three answers to that, which is one, if you've got one document, you just upload it and it will do the one document. You can also upload a load of new documents into the system as a project. So let's say a thousand contracts in one go, but then one of the unique things about the more insights piece is that, if you've got all your contracts already in the system and you've basically done a summary of them already, but something else comes up. Obviously the whole force majeure with COVID, that was kind of a big buzz for a little while, but that kind of exercise of finding out, say, force majeure clauses of your existing contracts. We can do that in the same way as well. So it's new contracts, so that's one or numerous, and then it's obviously existing, they're already in the system, you can go back and do that internal DD exercise very quickly as well.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah, that does sound very cool. I was also thinking of libel, which I imagine, you being in the UK, that'd be a big issue as well and something I imagine you can help with probably.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. The libel transition has been definitely a use case for us. It's interesting because we always look for use cases that are almost a load of different types of contracts, because I think we definitely come into our own when you've got a load of contracts where they're all different shapes and sizes, and that's where we really want to specialize. And I think the libel stuff is obviously very, in some ways, quite standardized as well. So yeah, we can definitely help with big reviews of the libel provisions.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Libel, I'm pretty sure it was a libel, but we can debate that one.

Tom Dunlop:

Well, okay, we'll go libel. I'm on your podcast. We'll do libel.

Alex Rosenrauch:

So Tom, just another question from me then. When I deal with the stuff that I do in my day-to-day, everybody thinks about return on investment and how do I actually calculate the benefits or at least think about the benefits for this technology and how do I put that into a business case to get it over the line effectively? So, I'm keen to understand from your perspective, what are some of the tangible benefits and how do you measure those benefits for Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. So, I mean, it's a good question. I think when we speak to our clients about that, I guess the first thing in terms of the actual price of the products, again, we're quite different to a lot of other products out there, we think. We've pitched it to be a very cost-effective product. So it's a really straightforward licensing model on a user basis where we charge about 175 Australian dollars per user, per month. And so compared to a lot of other systems that are very heavy in terms of their upfront fees and maybe a big capsule investment, we generally feel that if you save about an hour a month using the products, then you've justified the actual cost of the product on the basis of our charging model. So I think that usually return on investment in terms of actual physical cost is quite easy to justify it.

But I think what we try and do on top of that is to say, well, particularly from a law firm perspective where you might want to actually create new revenue streams. I alluded to it earlier, but you can basically invite a customer to a separate area within our product, which is almost like this very visible, lightweight contract management system. And actually, they can charge the customers to have access to that. So we are actually finding that not only is it the whole time-saving and justification based on an hourly rate, but actually it can start to create new revenue streams for law firms. And similarly for in-house teams. I mean, from being an in-house lawyer myself, the biggest thing that you're constantly being asked to do is prove value and you're aware that you're a cost base.

So what we try and do with the whole thing about the insights, asking questions, being user friendly to people outside the legal team, is if the finance team or a C level executive wants to know answers to questions, they don't just have to always go pick up the phone to legal, send emails. They can actually self-help through the system. And actually, them having access to that type of technology or insight into their contracts, we find, is a huge driver of value to the business. And we've got a whole load of independent studies about the value of contract lifecycle management and missing your renewal dates and not managing contracts correctly. And that side of it that justifies the risk side of it. But yeah, those are two things that we really focus on in our business case.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Yeah. I mean, to me, there's a few things jumping out. There's the argument that everybody talks about around doing more with less, right? So it's actually freeing up lawyer time to be able to focus on the more strategic stuff. So if a lawyer was going to spend, let's say, five hours reviewing a contract, but using Summize, it's now one. And this is just an example. Then obviously you've saved quite a bit of time there and it's this opportune cost calculation, which I think is probably the most simple calculation. But then there's the other calculation around, well, how much time are we saving from the business and what that opportune cost looks like?

Because if, like you said, someone in the C-suite is able to self serve and effectively get that question answered quicker, on the weekend or overnight or whatever it may be. And that resulted in a different business outcome, then you can do a whole range of complex calculations in that route. And then even more simply you can look at things like the contract leakage around missing renewals and other things. So to me, there's probably a lot of different metrics or things that you can use to put together a pretty strong business case for this, I think.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, I totally agree. And we actually provide, it's almost like an interactive online PDF if that makes sense. We use this program basically to create interactive summaries of our business case. So we actually give that to the customer when we're speaking to them. So it's almost like a pre-made business case they can take internally. So it talks about a lot of this stuff. You can actually calculate based on the number of hours that you spend a week reading contracts, the time savings. You can put physical, I guess, cost against the product. So we do that for our customers as well.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Great. Make it super easy to buy then, right Tom?

Tom Dunlop:

That's the idea, yeah. There's probably some kind of... There's a reason why we do it. Yeah.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah. Well, okay. So just on that note then, so say you've sold me and I'm in an in-house team, I'm at a law firm and I say, "Yep, I want to do it." What do I need to think about? What are some of the things I need to think about? So not talking about business case again, I mean, one thing is, how am I going to pay for it? But what are some of the other considerations you've seen? What's worked well with customers actually implementing the tech or what hasn't gone well? Definitely interested to hear both sides of that.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, I think, I mean, a big part of the product is all about time to value. So the reason we spent quite a lot of time in the word add-in, is because we find that the first thing almost we get customers to do is download the Word add-in because quite literally the next contract that you look at, even if it's for the definitions and error checks, you can get that immediate value, whatever contract you're looking at. So that's probably the stage one is to do that. In terms of the web application and making it more custom, what it's all about really is creating contract types and your custom clauses. So again, it probably takes, I'd estimate, about 20 to 30 seconds potentially to create a clause.

And when I say create a clause, what it is is almost like the parameters of the search really that you're looking for. And we do that with the customers on an onboarding call, but we only really have one two hour onboarding call. And then most customers are up and running. The way you can get the best out of the system is if you have that playbook ready to go, particularly with a number of precedent clauses and your standard position. If you have them ready to go, that just makes it much quicker to get the value back from the system straight away. That's the one thing that I would say, if there was a dream scenario in any onboarding, it would be each customer comes to us with their playbook in an Excel spreadsheet or something, gives it to us, we get it into the system. And then it's just in the system rather than having to do it on the fly. That's when we find it's a bit harder to get people to really use every bit of the product as they go along.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah. So process before technology?

Tom Dunlop:

A hundred percent. Yeah, definitely. I'm a big believer that, ultimately, we provide some very quick wins and very big time to value in terms of the product. But, as I was saying before, the product isn't the silver bullet. It isn't the thing that should solve all problems. You need to make sure that you understand what your existing process is, where your playbook is, how do you want the product to suit your process? So, yeah, totally agree with that.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Look, Tom, one thing we do talk about on this podcast quite a lot, is change management. So I'm going to get your perspective on what does change management look like for Summize? Because in my mind, because of the Word plug-in, I think the change management wouldn't be as difficult as if you were, say, trying to take lawyers directly out of Word and getting them to negotiate markup and et cetera, et cetera, in other tools, which are obviously available in the market at the moment. So keen to understand if you, like I said, Elliot has bought it, let's say, and is now in a team of 30 lawyers, for instance. What does that change management program, I guess, involve and what would you be advising customers off?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, it's a good question. And it does, I mean, it comes up pretty much with every customer and I think what I would say, and this might sound like a typical lawyer sensor, actually, to almost give a very on-the-fence kind of answer, but we genuinely look at it on almost a case by case. Because we do the pre-signature and post, you're right in that the Word add-in is just natural. So the reason we did that is for that reason, that it almost involves no change management because everyone's doing this day-to-day anyway. And it's just when you see how simple the UI is and how easy it is to get value, some people just want the product just for the Word add-in, because it makes them more efficient what they're doing day-to-day.

The biggest piece of change is definitely to get them used to the web application. And that is usually trying to find a project that they have ongoing and something that's coming up. So we always try and make sure that, if we're doing some kind of onboarding or that discussion around how can we get the best use out of the product, we make sure to see if there's something that they can use it for in the projects coming up. If we can find a project where you've got a group of lawyers working on a particular transaction, or let's say there's a review of some sort. Use the product, see the outputs of it for that project. And suddenly almost finding the reason to do it because it might be a bit of a... We've had somewhere they've been quite tight billing-wise, where you think actually doing this the manual way might not be the most efficient use of time for us.

We've got other things to be working on, let's just use the product, give it a go. And I think that then allows us to show people the value, how quick it can be. And then also the unique outputs that we can deliver on the other end of a review, in terms of the shareable links and that kind of thing. So, yeah, it is a bit case by case, but I think the big advantage is having a Word add-in always helps us get that immediate time to value and immediate, I guess, no change management. Get used to the fact that you can create summaries, which is kind of the same experience in the web application. So you're getting a flavour of the product within Word.

Elliot Leibu:

Cool.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Well, I mean, just, to me, it feels quite organic. As a lawyer, if you're getting a document, the first thing you're trying to do is just to get your head around what the document is, right? The contract is, and that's what Summize would look to do. And you may want to look for certain provisions because you know that's what the client wants to focus on. So you can search by that or filter by that. So it does feel very organic. And again, coming down to Word, which is probably one of the main pieces of technology that lawyers use, I would say. Maybe that's arguable, but it just feels very organic that you would be able to do or sorry, convert your process that you're already doing into how Summize can optimize that process, as opposed to try to augment it in a way. Maybe that's the same thing. I'm not sure, but hopefully, you get what I'm trying to say.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. No, I agree. I agree.

Elliot Leibu:

Cool. Well Tom, where can people find out more about Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, the best place to go is our website, which is www.summize.it. Meant to be Summize it. That was the idea with the domain name.

Elliot Leibu:

I thought you were registered in Italy.

Tom Dunlop:

I know, don't worry. We are looking at the dotcoms. I think it's just probably easier to make people think we're not Italian law tech startup, it may cause confusion, but yeah. So I mean, the website has dedicated pages to in-house, private practice, SMEs. And it has also a free trial on there as well. So, I mean, the free trial is mainly designed to get people used to the user experience, and we do restrict some features, but it's a way to get in there to see a bit of the parts and how it works. So, yeah, I'd say that the website is the best. I mean, obviously, I'm also happy if anyone to reach out to myself, I have a really simple email address, which is [email protected] as well.

Elliot Leibu:

Great. All right. Well look, we'll put links to both of those things that you might start getting a flood of emails, but we'll put links in the show notes and Tom, thanks so much for your time.

Tom Dunlop:

No problem. Yeah. Thank you both.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Thanks Tom.

Elliot Leibu:

Great. Thanks.

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The Legal Ops Podcast: Talking Tech

By
Summize
February 10, 2021

Transcript

Alex Rosenrauch:

Hello. Welcome to Talking Tech. My name's Alex Rosenrauch.

Elliot Leibu:

And I'm Elliot Leibu. Each Talking Tech episode we interview legal technology vendors from around the world. We ask them about their product, its use cases and benefits, who their target audience is and much more. Alex, who've we got on the show today?

Alex Rosenrauch:

Elliot, we had an awesome conversation with Tom Dunlop from Summize, which is a contract review tool and a lightweight assistant to contract lifecycle management. Great conversation. Let's crack into it.

Elliot Leibu:

Tom Dunlop. Welcome to Talking Tech.

Tom Dunlop:

Thanks very much. And thank you for having me.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Hey Tom. So you are the CEO and founder of Summize. So tell us a bit about Summize. Tell us a bit about you. What is Summize? How did it come about? Hit us with it.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no problem. So, I mean, basically as a background about myself, so I'm a lawyer by trade and I remember it started out as a private practice lawyer. So did the usual route to its qualification. And then once I qualified as a solicitor, I quite soon switched to being an in-house lawyer and generally worked for fast-growth tech software businesses. So the last couple of positions, I was a legal director of software businesses, usually taking them from some kind of investment rounds to some kind of exit. And then founding another one. And it was going through that process, I guess, both the due diligence of a transaction, but also the day-to-day management of contracts. And just trying to understand what was in contracts that led to, I guess, me having a conversation with my co-founder, who is a senior software engineer at one of the businesses I worked at. And we got our heads together, thought, I looked out to the market, at the products that could have assisted me at the time, but nothing was really what I was looking for.

So I approached him. We came up with a few concepts and some prototypes, and that was the birth of Summize really. So in terms of, I guess, what is Summize and what did I feel was missing from the market? But basically, the big thing that I found was that there wasn't very many tools out there to do with contracts, whether that's quick reviews, whether that's projects, whether that's just day-to-day management, that was quite lightweight, quite easy to use. And also cost-effective is definitely a player as well. And so it was those key things I wanted to create something which was very accessible, very quick to get going. Because a lot of the time lawyers are very stretched and finding the time to actually train up a product or get a product to a point where it becomes really useful, they don't really have the time.

And also a lot of products were trying to change actually lawyers behavior. So they're trying to make them adopt a new platform. Trying to make them change how they were doing something day-to-day. So a big thing about Summize has always been, we want to do the contract review, the contract management understanding, but we want to do it in a lightweight, easy to use way. And we want to make sure that there is no big, heavy implementation. People can just get up and going with it quite quickly. And that's the big ethos behind the product really.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And Tom, just for other backgrounds, location? Where are you based currently?

Tom Dunlop:

So we're based in Manchester in the UK. So we very much have a good UK presence, but we've also, I guess, mainly English speaking countries, really. So America and obviously Australia where we're having an increase in presence.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And just a bit of background on the company as well. So when did it all start? How many employees do you have? I'm just trying to get an understanding of who you are and who you are as a company as well.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So we founded in 2018, so we're about two and a half years, coming up to three years. And I guess the early parts of the company were very much creating a prototype. We went for investment in 2019 and had a couple of rounds of pre-seed investment and then commercialized a product around, well, I guess about nine months ago-ish, maybe 12 months ago, in terms of really pushing the product commercially. So today we sit at about 13 full-time employees, a couple more just starting next month. And we have an experienced board advisory to support that as well. So we have the actual founder and CEO of the company that I was the GC at, where I met my co-founder. So the guy who actually founded that company, he's one of our investors and chairman and also the former CEO of DWF as well is there as a non-executive advisory position. So we've got a good strong board, about 13, well, soon to be 15 employees and started about two and a half, three years ago.

Elliot Leibu:

Tom, and that decision to go from being an employee GC at another organization, and then to make that decision to cut away and do something for yourself. Was that a big decision for you? What was going through your mind when you were thinking, I'm going to go and create this for myself now?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. I mean, it definitely was a big decision because, as you know, legal or legal jobs and particularly being a GC of a good software business, I was in the position that I'd always wanted to get to because I love to be in tech. And I was thoroughly enjoying the role, but I think there's two things, I think. One, that it's quite infectious being in software businesses, around entrepreneurial people, the founders of these businesses, and really understanding how they grew their business from basically from the garage or however it started. So that was always something in my mind that I thought I'd always wanted to start my own business. And then I guess, secondly, being so involved in the legal industry, whether you come up with ideas to start your own business, and it might be something completely irrelevant to your day-to-day, what was relevant about this was, as soon as I saw the early prototypes that we created and I was the client. I was the person that essentially the product would have been sold to.

So you almost, you have that validation immediately. And the market's huge. I knew there was obviously an opportunity there. So it obviously was a risk and it was a hard decision, but I think the combination of always wanting to do it, seeing it from the inside, and then knowing that the market is the size it is and ready for, I guess, disruption, however, you want to term it, really made the decision, in some ways, quite an easy one. So, yeah, but I'm glad I've done it hopefully, still.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And Tom, you touched on it just before, but I'm really keen to understand the target audience. Now we will dive quite deep into the use cases, but you're talking about there being, effectively, the customer as the GC there, but could you expand it and let us know, and let our listeners know, about the target market for Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So we have, I mean, essentially one of the hard things we actually had with the product to start with was, it is quite relevant to a lot of different, I guess, customers. So when we first went to market, we spread our net quite wide. And so that's led to us having customers ranging from large international law firms that have, across generally about four different departments. So corporate, commercial, usually employment side and then property. So we've found traction with those different departments in very large firms to more regional firms, and then even to the sole practitioner firms as well. So we've had customers ranging between all three. And then obviously, as you alluded to before, we went to the in-house world. I'd say that that is more an in-house team seems to be picking it up.

I mean, we've got large PLCs with 15,000 employees, with an in-house team of, say, around 30-ish to, again, sole general councils in a business. And then probably what's quite unusual with the product is we have actually also sold it to SMEs with no in-house legal. So that's the kind of, I guess, who we've sold it to. And when we went out there to the market, what we've really seen in terms of where our product really fits the best is definitely the more mid-market law firm. And then the more, I guess, one to 10 person in-house legal team. So they seem to be very underserved in the market from products today. And something that Summize seems to really fit quite well with.

Elliot Leibu:

And we definitely want to get into use cases and benefits, but I think the place to start is what does it actually do? How do I use it? What's the scenario I'm in, where I want to use this product and what does it do for me?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, it's a good question. It's a good question. So I guess taking a step back in terms of the actual, I reference things like manage, understand, review, but the way I see the contract life cycle management is that you have four distinct areas where you can create contracts, review them, manage them, and then I have this fourth one which is understand them, which is the project-based extraction of terms. So we sit along the understand, manage and review parts. And so in terms of how you'd use it, I guess, day-to-day, we have a Microsoft Word add-in. So within that, you can get quick summaries of the contract that you're reading. So we have these contract types built-in and different clauses. So basically you open up a Microsoft Word document, you open up our add-in, you can literally press basically summarize, and it will give you a summary on the right-hand side.

And then that will navigate you around the Word document. You can also incorporate your playbook. So precedent clause is your standard positions. From a law firm perspective that can be split by clients so you can get a summary, but then when you get to a clause, you can quickly replace that clause with your precedent clause. You can do that markup using the tool. And then the third part of the Microsoft Word add-in, and it's all about definitions. It's all about being able to highlight a defined term anywhere in the document. And it will give you the definition on the right-hand side to save that scrolling up and down within a document. And it also allows you to edit that definition live in the panel on the right-hand side.

So they're the main three aspects from the Word add-in. And then, I guess, separately to that, we have a web application. And that would work in a very similar vein, but you would upload either a PDF or a word document to our platform. And then basically it gives you a summary on the left-hand side of the screen. And the right-hand side is the contract itself. And it will just allow you to basically create a quick summary or a red flag review of a contract, and then export that in a number of different ways, whether that's shareable links to Word or to Excel. And then you would then share that with the client or share that internally. So that is a brief overview, I guess, as to how you would use it. That hopefully answers that.

Elliot Leibu:

Hey, how good is a podcast for essentially describing a product demo? Well done. Hey, just one thing, I want to circle back to one thing you said. So you mentioned that it sounds to me like the Word plug-in, in particular, is designed to help me navigate around and quickly jump to the content that's relevant to me, and also to get my own clauses in there. Out of interest, if I've got a bunch of precedent clauses that I've got in my database or whatever, and I'm navigating around a contract that's on someone else's paper, is there anything that helps me to put my own clauses into that paper in a way that makes them make sense? Or is that still my job? Is it more just facilitating me finding the right spot to put it?

Alex Rosenrauch:

You're trying to automate yourself, hey Elliot? It's all right.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. I mean, so we've got... Basically, the way that we collate clauses together in the way that we've tried to build the product is all about answering questions. So for example, if you want to know, how am I going to get paid and when, as a question, we might have four or five different clauses, all separate, almost like precedent clauses you might have in the background. And we'll pull out all of those different three or four different, I guess, components to that one question. And then you can then pick which bits that you can displace with your own precedent wording, or edit them there. So because we've got that quite very detailed level of being able to find information, also replace it, whether it's your completely different customer paper, whether it's your own precedents, it allows you to add granular with what changes you're making.

So that lends itself quite well to, yes, it's a customer clause. You might not want to edit the whole thing and just completely red line the entire clause, but you might want to amend one small part of it, for example, the invoicing requirements within a payment terms clause. So you can get quite granular with the system to allow you to not have to do that full my precedent versus your precedent. It can be a bit more flexible than that with the way that we tried to build the system.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Yeah. One thing that's coming to my mind is IP rights. Generally, they're split up across all parts of the agreement. So you're saying that it will identify, like in the use case I was talking about, IP rights and say, look, there are some IP rights in this clause and this clause and this clause, and then put them together and then you can decide whether or not you want to change this part and this part and this part. Have I got that right, Tom?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. Yeah. So there's that side as well. Then there's what we also do, which is quite unique with the product, is we give you that best result, but we also then rank by relevance every other paragraph in the contract. So what you basically get is the best result for that particular clause you designed, but then you also get a subset of paragraphs that we say, we think you should look at these because we think they're also relevant and that will scroll you around the document to be able to take you to those. And they're all ranked like a Google search, basically, by a priority order. So either way, you get taken to anything relevant, whether that's together in one clause or whether it's spread out over a number of different clauses.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Okay. So I want to just turn to then a use case, and we're already talking about this, but to give something more practical, let's say I'm a lawyer in-house and I am reviewing a third-party paper, license grant for some software. All right. So I think that's the use case that we're in. So I'm the lawyer. It's come to me. It's not on my paper. I need to review this entire agreement. Can you walk me through that use case and then talk about some of the benefits for me as the in-house lawyer?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So I'll walk you through that and then when it gets to the final as well, because that's where the product syncs up. So basically you get the document in by email, you get the Word document, potentially, that's come through. Obviously then you open that up. And as I was describing before, you can you get a quick summary and you can do the quick markups using your own precedent clauses.

Alex Rosenrauch:

And this is in Word?

Tom Dunlop:

This is in Word.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Great.

Tom Dunlop:

And then once you... So you've done your markup and then you may be sent it back to the other side or we can integrate into DocuSign as well. So let's say that you've done the markup, you sent it back to the other side, it comes back and it's a final signed document. We can link that to DocuSign. And then what that does is can then fire straight back into our web application as well. So you do the markup within Word, but then you can then go straight... That can get sent to the web application. And that'll create a summary of the key terms in the web application from more of a management perspective because I think that's part of a big thing about our product is it's both pre and post signature, so it can assist you with the pre, but then in the post-world what it does is, it's very easy to use. Almost like contract management system that has things like calendars, where you can put key renewal dates.

So once you've done that contract, you pull out those key renewal dates and they go into the calendar. We also have this thing called insights, which is all about asking questions of your contracts, of your signed contracts. So it might be how do I terminate my contract with, and then enter the name and it will give you the answer. So it's both once you get the contract in, being able to do the quick markups and get it out very, very quickly. But then post that is being able to actually use the information from that contract day-to-day, find relevant terms, and pull them out really quickly, as well as the calendar feature. So, yeah, I guess it's the unique thing about the product is that it does serve both the pre-signature and post-signature.

Alex Rosenrauch:

I want to unpack probably two things that we just talked about there. The first one is I asked a question on whether or not, in this particular use case, a lawyer could be doing this, or whether someone in the business could be doing this? Because if the system is able to summarize the contract, say these are the key clauses. And then say, this particular clause is not aligned with our precedent clause and let's swap out something is from the bank that has been approved by legal. Is this potentially a tool that the business could use to negotiate simple contract or not even simple contracts, just contracts within a certain parameters?

Tom Dunlop:

Yes, it's getting that way. So, I mean, at the moment, we're very much, I guess, we're selling to legal teams, selling to the law firms. One interesting thing that we've had quite recently is law firms are now actually giving their clients access to our platform. So it's one of those where they see the benefit of having that visibility as a client, almost like a managed contract service in some ways, where they get the visibility of what's in there, but what they're then allowing them is to, because they've got these created contract types. So what is this? Is it services, supplier agreement? Okay, well, we've already got a subset of clauses that are already built basically, relevant, that the client can then upload, get their summary through their products without actually having to go either back to the law firm or, in a different way, they can actually dictate. And coming back to the question-based answers, they can actually just go, well, actually in this contract I want to see, how do I get paid?

How can I terminate it? What's the biggest risks? And they're the three questions they want to know. That might go through to the law firm and then it's already done a summary of those clauses, which might be a collection of 20 different clauses in the contract. And they can just really interact with their client a lot better. So that's the kind of legal work in the law firm world. And then from a, I guess, an in-house perspective, it's kind of the same thing where I think what we're finding is it certainly becomes that front door for the legal department, where they can say, okay, for your contract before you send it to us, basically tell us the questions you want answered. What do you want to find out about this contract? And then they do the selection. It does the summary, but then it will probably go to the legal department already summarized with exactly what they want to pull out first.

So you're acting as that sense check. And I do think we'll get to the point where they just use it self-help but I think we're conscious not to progress there too quickly because I think, as you know, I mean, a lawyer's job, the risks that they're able to balance day-to-day might change. What was true three weeks ago might not be true today. So we're constantly trying to make sure we're just assisting lawyers the best we can rather than design something to replace them, ultimately, in the role. But there's definitely the potential there to certainly go down that route without hope we're being too imposing.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Yeah. Yeah. So it's like an augment as opposed to replace. I think that makes sense. The other point that I wanted to make, that I wanted to press against was you explained the scenario where you can ask the system questions about a contract. And that's actually quite huge because I see a lot of different systems out there and I haven't seen a system be able to do that well yet. So I'm keen to understand what the limitations are? And again, if we think about this use case that I was talking about in terms of the software agreement, say I'm the business and say I want to know what the due date is or the start date was. I assume those are fairly simple ones that it can pull out and summarize for you, but what are the limitations to that feature? Because in my mind, that's quite huge.

And if anyone's listening in, in a in-house team... Geeze, say that a few times. They will be thinking, this would save me huge amounts of time because the amount of low volume... Sorry, high volume, low-risk questions about, when did this contract start? Or when's the renewal period? Or what is our disclosure requirements for, or destroy requirements around this clause, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera? So back to my question, what are the limitations around that feature?

Tom Dunlop:

So, I mean, very shortly, hopefully there won't be any limitations. And the reason I say that is because what we're putting in... At the moment, there's preset questions that you can select. So some of the more common ones, how do I terminate? What the key risks? That kind of thing. But what we're enabling is for the user to actually design a question. So the way that will work is you say exactly what you just said. Let's say what are the disclosure requirements? For example. And what you do in the background is you design clauses yourself in the system, which takes seconds. It's just basically putting a lot of keywords in, primary, secondary ones. And it's not a very complicated process. There's no long training period. But basically, you can then link that question to any number of clauses in your clause bank basically.

So what it will do is say, well, the answer to this question is what we need to do is look at these four different clauses. You can specify the output, sensitivity of those clauses, there's a load of controls in the system that allow you to very much keep control of that. So we're handing the power over to the user to say, whatever you have internally, whatever questions are likely to come up internally, you can design a subset of clauses that link to that question and get them answered in the product. So yeah, hopefully, there are no real limitations on it soon. I think to date it's been because they're very much preset, but I think we're getting to the point, hopefully quite soon, where they'll be very much self-help.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Look, I don't know about you, Elliot, but I'm... Oh, I was just going to say that gets me really excited. I don't know about you. That just sounds really cool, Tom. Over to you Elliott.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah, that does sound cool. But I've got another question to layer on top and that is, these questions that I can ask of the tool, is it contract by contract or can I ask the questions of the book? So in other words, can I say, I don't know, tell me about the level of risk of the IP rights that I have across this whole book of contracts? Or can I say, tell me all the number of contracts that have this type of clause or this type of arrangement? How does that question and answer stuff work?

Alex Rosenrauch:

Great question.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, it's either-or. So, because we have, I guess you can upload one document or a thousand, I guess, into the system at any one time. So we designed it and I guess there's three answers to that, which is one, if you've got one document, you just upload it and it will do the one document. You can also upload a load of new documents into the system as a project. So let's say a thousand contracts in one go, but then one of the unique things about the more insights piece is that, if you've got all your contracts already in the system and you've basically done a summary of them already, but something else comes up. Obviously the whole force majeure with COVID, that was kind of a big buzz for a little while, but that kind of exercise of finding out, say, force majeure clauses of your existing contracts. We can do that in the same way as well. So it's new contracts, so that's one or numerous, and then it's obviously existing, they're already in the system, you can go back and do that internal DD exercise very quickly as well.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah, that does sound very cool. I was also thinking of libel, which I imagine, you being in the UK, that'd be a big issue as well and something I imagine you can help with probably.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. The libel transition has been definitely a use case for us. It's interesting because we always look for use cases that are almost a load of different types of contracts, because I think we definitely come into our own when you've got a load of contracts where they're all different shapes and sizes, and that's where we really want to specialize. And I think the libel stuff is obviously very, in some ways, quite standardized as well. So yeah, we can definitely help with big reviews of the libel provisions.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Libel, I'm pretty sure it was a libel, but we can debate that one.

Tom Dunlop:

Well, okay, we'll go libel. I'm on your podcast. We'll do libel.

Alex Rosenrauch:

So Tom, just another question from me then. When I deal with the stuff that I do in my day-to-day, everybody thinks about return on investment and how do I actually calculate the benefits or at least think about the benefits for this technology and how do I put that into a business case to get it over the line effectively? So, I'm keen to understand from your perspective, what are some of the tangible benefits and how do you measure those benefits for Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. So, I mean, it's a good question. I think when we speak to our clients about that, I guess the first thing in terms of the actual price of the products, again, we're quite different to a lot of other products out there, we think. We've pitched it to be a very cost-effective product. So it's a really straightforward licensing model on a user basis where we charge about 175 Australian dollars per user, per month. And so compared to a lot of other systems that are very heavy in terms of their upfront fees and maybe a big capsule investment, we generally feel that if you save about an hour a month using the products, then you've justified the actual cost of the product on the basis of our charging model. So I think that usually return on investment in terms of actual physical cost is quite easy to justify it.

But I think what we try and do on top of that is to say, well, particularly from a law firm perspective where you might want to actually create new revenue streams. I alluded to it earlier, but you can basically invite a customer to a separate area within our product, which is almost like this very visible, lightweight contract management system. And actually, they can charge the customers to have access to that. So we are actually finding that not only is it the whole time-saving and justification based on an hourly rate, but actually it can start to create new revenue streams for law firms. And similarly for in-house teams. I mean, from being an in-house lawyer myself, the biggest thing that you're constantly being asked to do is prove value and you're aware that you're a cost base.

So what we try and do with the whole thing about the insights, asking questions, being user friendly to people outside the legal team, is if the finance team or a C level executive wants to know answers to questions, they don't just have to always go pick up the phone to legal, send emails. They can actually self-help through the system. And actually, them having access to that type of technology or insight into their contracts, we find, is a huge driver of value to the business. And we've got a whole load of independent studies about the value of contract lifecycle management and missing your renewal dates and not managing contracts correctly. And that side of it that justifies the risk side of it. But yeah, those are two things that we really focus on in our business case.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Yeah. I mean, to me, there's a few things jumping out. There's the argument that everybody talks about around doing more with less, right? So it's actually freeing up lawyer time to be able to focus on the more strategic stuff. So if a lawyer was going to spend, let's say, five hours reviewing a contract, but using Summize, it's now one. And this is just an example. Then obviously you've saved quite a bit of time there and it's this opportune cost calculation, which I think is probably the most simple calculation. But then there's the other calculation around, well, how much time are we saving from the business and what that opportune cost looks like?

Because if, like you said, someone in the C-suite is able to self serve and effectively get that question answered quicker, on the weekend or overnight or whatever it may be. And that resulted in a different business outcome, then you can do a whole range of complex calculations in that route. And then even more simply you can look at things like the contract leakage around missing renewals and other things. So to me, there's probably a lot of different metrics or things that you can use to put together a pretty strong business case for this, I think.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, I totally agree. And we actually provide, it's almost like an interactive online PDF if that makes sense. We use this program basically to create interactive summaries of our business case. So we actually give that to the customer when we're speaking to them. So it's almost like a pre-made business case they can take internally. So it talks about a lot of this stuff. You can actually calculate based on the number of hours that you spend a week reading contracts, the time savings. You can put physical, I guess, cost against the product. So we do that for our customers as well.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Great. Make it super easy to buy then, right Tom?

Tom Dunlop:

That's the idea, yeah. There's probably some kind of... There's a reason why we do it. Yeah.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah. Well, okay. So just on that note then, so say you've sold me and I'm in an in-house team, I'm at a law firm and I say, "Yep, I want to do it." What do I need to think about? What are some of the things I need to think about? So not talking about business case again, I mean, one thing is, how am I going to pay for it? But what are some of the other considerations you've seen? What's worked well with customers actually implementing the tech or what hasn't gone well? Definitely interested to hear both sides of that.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, I think, I mean, a big part of the product is all about time to value. So the reason we spent quite a lot of time in the word add-in, is because we find that the first thing almost we get customers to do is download the Word add-in because quite literally the next contract that you look at, even if it's for the definitions and error checks, you can get that immediate value, whatever contract you're looking at. So that's probably the stage one is to do that. In terms of the web application and making it more custom, what it's all about really is creating contract types and your custom clauses. So again, it probably takes, I'd estimate, about 20 to 30 seconds potentially to create a clause.

And when I say create a clause, what it is is almost like the parameters of the search really that you're looking for. And we do that with the customers on an onboarding call, but we only really have one two hour onboarding call. And then most customers are up and running. The way you can get the best out of the system is if you have that playbook ready to go, particularly with a number of precedent clauses and your standard position. If you have them ready to go, that just makes it much quicker to get the value back from the system straight away. That's the one thing that I would say, if there was a dream scenario in any onboarding, it would be each customer comes to us with their playbook in an Excel spreadsheet or something, gives it to us, we get it into the system. And then it's just in the system rather than having to do it on the fly. That's when we find it's a bit harder to get people to really use every bit of the product as they go along.

Elliot Leibu:

Yeah. So process before technology?

Tom Dunlop:

A hundred percent. Yeah, definitely. I'm a big believer that, ultimately, we provide some very quick wins and very big time to value in terms of the product. But, as I was saying before, the product isn't the silver bullet. It isn't the thing that should solve all problems. You need to make sure that you understand what your existing process is, where your playbook is, how do you want the product to suit your process? So, yeah, totally agree with that.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Look, Tom, one thing we do talk about on this podcast quite a lot, is change management. So I'm going to get your perspective on what does change management look like for Summize? Because in my mind, because of the Word plug-in, I think the change management wouldn't be as difficult as if you were, say, trying to take lawyers directly out of Word and getting them to negotiate markup and et cetera, et cetera, in other tools, which are obviously available in the market at the moment. So keen to understand if you, like I said, Elliot has bought it, let's say, and is now in a team of 30 lawyers, for instance. What does that change management program, I guess, involve and what would you be advising customers off?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, it's a good question. And it does, I mean, it comes up pretty much with every customer and I think what I would say, and this might sound like a typical lawyer sensor, actually, to almost give a very on-the-fence kind of answer, but we genuinely look at it on almost a case by case. Because we do the pre-signature and post, you're right in that the Word add-in is just natural. So the reason we did that is for that reason, that it almost involves no change management because everyone's doing this day-to-day anyway. And it's just when you see how simple the UI is and how easy it is to get value, some people just want the product just for the Word add-in, because it makes them more efficient what they're doing day-to-day.

The biggest piece of change is definitely to get them used to the web application. And that is usually trying to find a project that they have ongoing and something that's coming up. So we always try and make sure that, if we're doing some kind of onboarding or that discussion around how can we get the best use out of the product, we make sure to see if there's something that they can use it for in the projects coming up. If we can find a project where you've got a group of lawyers working on a particular transaction, or let's say there's a review of some sort. Use the product, see the outputs of it for that project. And suddenly almost finding the reason to do it because it might be a bit of a... We've had somewhere they've been quite tight billing-wise, where you think actually doing this the manual way might not be the most efficient use of time for us.

We've got other things to be working on, let's just use the product, give it a go. And I think that then allows us to show people the value, how quick it can be. And then also the unique outputs that we can deliver on the other end of a review, in terms of the shareable links and that kind of thing. So, yeah, it is a bit case by case, but I think the big advantage is having a Word add-in always helps us get that immediate time to value and immediate, I guess, no change management. Get used to the fact that you can create summaries, which is kind of the same experience in the web application. So you're getting a flavour of the product within Word.

Elliot Leibu:

Cool.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Well, I mean, just, to me, it feels quite organic. As a lawyer, if you're getting a document, the first thing you're trying to do is just to get your head around what the document is, right? The contract is, and that's what Summize would look to do. And you may want to look for certain provisions because you know that's what the client wants to focus on. So you can search by that or filter by that. So it does feel very organic. And again, coming down to Word, which is probably one of the main pieces of technology that lawyers use, I would say. Maybe that's arguable, but it just feels very organic that you would be able to do or sorry, convert your process that you're already doing into how Summize can optimize that process, as opposed to try to augment it in a way. Maybe that's the same thing. I'm not sure, but hopefully, you get what I'm trying to say.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. No, I agree. I agree.

Elliot Leibu:

Cool. Well Tom, where can people find out more about Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, the best place to go is our website, which is www.summize.it. Meant to be Summize it. That was the idea with the domain name.

Elliot Leibu:

I thought you were registered in Italy.

Tom Dunlop:

I know, don't worry. We are looking at the dotcoms. I think it's just probably easier to make people think we're not Italian law tech startup, it may cause confusion, but yeah. So I mean, the website has dedicated pages to in-house, private practice, SMEs. And it has also a free trial on there as well. So, I mean, the free trial is mainly designed to get people used to the user experience, and we do restrict some features, but it's a way to get in there to see a bit of the parts and how it works. So, yeah, I'd say that the website is the best. I mean, obviously, I'm also happy if anyone to reach out to myself, I have a really simple email address, which is [email protected] as well.

Elliot Leibu:

Great. All right. Well look, we'll put links to both of those things that you might start getting a flood of emails, but we'll put links in the show notes and Tom, thanks so much for your time.

Tom Dunlop:

No problem. Yeah. Thank you both.

Alex Rosenrauch:

Thanks Tom.

Elliot Leibu:

Great. Thanks.

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