Until recently, the process for closing a corporate legal transaction was well established. The parties to the transaction and their attorneys would assemble on the morning of closing at a posh law firm boardroom. Laid out before them would be folders, hundreds of folders, each one containing an integral legal document that had been agonized over by the attorneys through the course of countless drafting sessions and conference calls. As clients signed the documents, the senior attorneys would inspect each document one by one to ensure no errors or inconsistencies had slipped through. Any issues were resolved and a steady flow of mimosas and smoke salmon aperitifs helped ease any tension. With all the documents inspected and signed, a wire transfer was initiated and everyone shook hands and went their separate ways.
Things are a bit different now. Clients don’t want to pay their lawyers to spend a morning sipping champagne. Clients don’t want to travel to a downtown office when they can send electronic signatures. Clients don’t want to pay leagues of junior associates to print documents out and put them in pretty folders on a boardroom table. And so, this tradition of the in person closing has slowly faded away. Today’s closings consist merely of a curt exchange of emails followed by an order to initiate a wire. Clients email PDFs of their signatures in advance and the documents are often never rendered to paper. And most importantly, there are no more folders.
The problem is that the folders actually served an important purpose. They represented a centralized understanding of the legal transaction. They reduced months of conference calls, drafting sessions, emails and revised documents into an organized and mutually agreed upon representation of the legal transaction. With the folders gone, each law firm tracks their own understanding of the files on their own internal servers, emailing them back and forth when they have substantial revisions, or sometimes making minor changes directly when they are dictated in the text of an email or over the phone. At the same time, attorneys are left to coordinate collecting hundreds of signature pages by email from clients who are located all over the world. Despite this chaos, the law firms never put together a centralized repository of the documents that they all agree are final. Even when it comes time to prepare closing sets, law firms often prepare their records separately, making it possible for them to slip in the odd correction or revise the occasional warranty.
At Closing Folders, we are bringing organization and sanity back to legal transactions by reinventing closing folders for the digital era. We set about building a better way to manage transactions that still looks and feels familiar to corporate lawyers and our clients tell us we have hit the nail on the head. We give every attorney on a legal transaction a login to a dealroom where they can see the live status of the documents in the legal transaction as they are revised and iterated on. We make it possible for senior practitioners to delegate large portions of the deal to juniors, yet be able to pull up the latest changes in a few clicks when a client calls asking for an update. We eliminate the possibility for two attorneys to spend ten minutes discussing changes on a document before realizing they are looking at different versions.
But we do more than just organize and centralize documents on a legal transaction. We automate a lot of the frustrating and mundane work that corporate attorneys frequently find themselves doing. We make it simple to track who has to sign what and easily assemble signing packages for them. We automatically generate redlines when new versions of documents are uploaded. And at the end of a legal transaction, we provide every law firm with an automatically generated set of closing records that they know includes the exact terms they agreed upon.
In short, Closing Folders organizes and automates transactional documents so lawyers and advisors save time and money. Check us out at www.closingfolders.com. If you are swinging by LegalTech New York, drop us a line at email@example.com or call us at 416-725-1355 to connect during the conference.