Our Roadmap to Innovation & The Evolution of Litéra LexPro®
I cannot count the number of times we have been asked how Litéra® comes up with its innovative solutions. Often, after we have made announcements of new products, added further enhancements or even shared exciting sneak-peeks of upcoming solutions, the question comes up, “Where do the ideas come from?” or simply, “How’d you all think of that?”
While I am sure we would love to give people the impression that our cutting-edge ideas come from some kind of top secret think-tank in a non-disclosed research facility (resembling a more pleasant, but equally entertaining, version of Dr. Evil’s underground lair from the Austin Powers movie), the truth has been—and will always be—far more simple than that. Our clients are our greatest innovators.
Litéra® was founded by an end-user negotiating a contract and asking his lawyers for a better way. There was none. His lawyers surprised him with the knowledge that current tools lacked key features and technology to meet the growing intricacies of their workflow. They explained the frustration of dealing with software companies that were developing solutions, but not releasing them quickly enough, or advanced enough, to keep pace with evolving document challenges and client demands. This end-user was our founder, Deepak Massand.
He found that simple issues were often met with overpriced, over-complicated platforms that would have been better served by a clear and intuitive tool. A lack of dialogue between software providers and their clients (and particularly individuals using the software) resulted in a supply that didn’t quite meet the demand. As a result, Deepak established the practice of truly listening to clients’ needs so that he could understand how to provide the right solutions.
At Litéra, we work hard to maintain this legacy of listening. Asking clients about their day, their work, or their challenges does not automatically generate a new product idea, but over time, the more actively we listen to the narrative our clients share, the more we notice gaps between their current reality and their desired outcome. Our products have come to life by recognizing the pain points in processes—from the client’s perspective—and asking ourselves how we can make it easier to produce better quality work, in less time, with less stress.
Our legacy of listening is coached throughout the organization regardless of role. Notable business author, Ken Blanchard, once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Anyone at Litéra® who speaks to a client is encouraged to listen for opportunities to better our products, enhance our capabilities and drive our research and development.
Litéra LexPro® is the latest innovation born from our dialogue with clients. Discussions with international transactional lawyers allowed us to see that while drafting checkers and proofreading products have been on the market for some time, they’ve left a gap in providing value throughout the drafting process. Instead, they’ve made fairly large claims of productivity, risk-mitigation, and reputation protection based on accuracy. Some have gone as far as to suggest firms could reallocate their legal resources to more meaningful work since their tools made proofreading roles increasingly unnecessary.
In a recent meeting with clients, one lawyer mentioned that current tools focus either on proofreading errors (defined terms, that are not used; terms that are capitalized but not defined; and terms that should be capitalized but are not) or basic cross-reference checks (scans that expose a reference to a clause that does not exist). While these features are certainly useful, they only respond to “a premature and oversimplified view of the problem.”
He went on to explain,
“Complex legal documents, for which clients will often pay tens of thousands of dollars, are not easily reducible to a notional game of Connect Four. Irrespective of how accurate a proof reading tool claims to be, a contract will always need a lawyer to stand behind it. That is not to say that these tools don’t have a place – rather, that the death of proofreading is likely years away.”
As our conversation continued, the moment of innovation occurred when someone declared,
“These tools should not only handle the proofreading errors and the cross-reference check; they would be far more valuable if they placed greater emphasis on the legal drafting process as a whole.”
In light of the input received, we focused our development efforts on a tool that would accompany lawyers through the whole drafting process to enhance document quality and efficiency rather than somehow stepping in as a savior late in the fourth quarter of this tedious and complicated workflow. Litéra LexPro® is the answer to the innovation request made by our clients. Its comprehensive defined term drafting abilities complement our existing suite of document styling, citation, comparison, metadata cleaning and send/share services.
Christopher Dalton, a senior transactional lawyer who has practiced for a number of years at two of Australia’s top tier firms, states,
“Litéra LexPro® not only performs the basic functions of previous generation proofing tools to quickly identify obvious errors, but offers sophisticated comprehension, visualization and editing functions long dreamt of by transactional lawyers. With particular relevance to the definition intensive practice areas of banking and finance, mining, infrastructure or oil and gas, Litéra LexPro™® is a great deal more than a proofing aid – it is designed to guide a lawyer across complex networks of referenced material throughout the drafting process, and operates across whole suites of transaction documents.”
Our commitment to innovation is matched with our continued focus on client satisfaction, particularly when it comes to buying models, or the idea of customer-choice integration versus supplier-choice integration. Litéra LexPro®, like all Litéra® products, will be offered as an individual module allowing firms to add what they need now, or as part of a full Litéra Enterprise Desktop™,—when the time is right—complete with our feature rich, efficient, integrated product suite to help make every document better.
Chief Commercial Officer