Where Lupl Matters…Managing an International Regulatory Project
What is it?
Regulatory frameworks are legal mechanisms that exist across most sectors and around the world. They are designed to control and monitor organizations and sectors in order to protect consumers, investors and the environment, among other things. Each jurisdiction has its own set of rules in line with its cultural and constitutional values, and these continuously evolve.
The implementation of laws such as GDPR carry increasing fines for regulatory non-compliance. For many international companies, it can be very difficult to navigate changes in law across multiple jurisdictions. So organizations regularly seek advice about the regulations that apply to them directly in order to avoid the potential reputational and financial cost of non-compliance.
Who are the key legal players?
International regulatory matters tend to be managed by an Associate in the Regulatory team. Depending on the complexity, they may work with other internal teams such as Litigation, Employment, Commercial and Corporate. Where the Associate’s firm has international presence, they will coordinate with lawyers from their firm in other jurisdictions as needed.
When a law firm does not have presence internationally and requires local advice, this will involve coordinating with local counsel in each relevant jurisdiction. For example, a client may require advice on distributing an advertising campaign in 30 different countries. This would involve coordinating with local counsel, possibly all from different firms, in each of those 30 jurisdictions.
What is the key deliverable?
The client needs an answer to their enquiry. This may be embodied in a summary and a table or risk analysis which lays out the advice from each jurisdiction. The challenge is in collating all the inputs from different countries to get to the answer the client is looking for.
What problems exist with it today?
Reviews of this kind are project management heavy and process driven. The Associate is responsible for gathering quotes and coordinating advice from 5-10 local counsel in different jurisdictions, and sometimes even more than this. This leads to a number of challenges:
- Relentless inbox traffic: issuing instructions, Q&A, gathering fee quotes and coordinating several iterations of the advice for each jurisdiction will overwhelm your inbox.
- Difficulty identifying relevant local counsel: every lawyer has their own ‘little black book’ of local counsel. But with few shared or up-to-date contact books in law firms, it can be very time-consuming to find the best external team for your matter outside of your own network.
- Manual handling of fee quotes and budget tracking: before the client presses ‘GO’, the Associate must present fee quotes from each jurisdiction for providing their advice. Collecting this information (and tracking progress against it) is a manual, time-consuming process, which often requires chasing.
- Manual input into Excel progress trackers: very often, the Associate will use Excel to track each step of the journey with each jurisdiction – from ‘Conflicts email sent’ to ‘Final advice received.’ Or perhaps it’s a pen and paper job. This is a high risk process, requiring constant, manual effort to maintain it, with responsibility falling on one person alone.
- Management of time, tasks and deadlines: with everything in Excel or on paper, it can be difficult to grasp how much still needs to be done, by whom and within what timeframe.
- Collating advice and creating document templates: as local counsel advice comes in, it must be collated into a table. As comments are exchanged and new iterations of advice are prepared, it’s easy to lose track of the latest updates.
How can Lupl help?
Lupl can help you to operationalize your review and to manage your tasks, deadlines and documents more effectively. This reduces your administrative effort and helps to clear the fog!
- Bring order to your stack of legal memos
- Lupl can be the central place to store each jurisdiction’s advice (and it syncs with your DMS). Local counsel can upload their advice directly to the matter. Here, you can tag and sort the advice however it makes sense to you. Add new versions as they come in, keeping the latest at the top of the pile. Once you have received all your final versions, this will make collation much more straightforward.
- Use Lupl’s powerful search tool to search both within and across your documents.
- Manage your deadlines
- Keep track of all the many deadlines – for the client, for firms to provide fee quotes and advice, for clarification questions, for Partner review…etc. Use tasks to plan out your timeline for the matter. Set a deadline for each task and Lupl will remind you as they become due. You can group your tasks by jurisdiction.
- Check tasks off your lists as they are completed. With our iOS and Android apps, you can add, edit and check off tasks on the go.
- Reduce the noise in your inbox
- Work with local counsel inside a matter and keep everything together in one place. Link documents and tasks, reducing email traffic and increasing productivity.
- Send documents in Lupl for comments to local counsel outside of the matter. They can populate the comments thread in the document by email.
- Share responsibility for driving the matter forward
- Assign tasks to local counsel and they can update them, reducing the burden on one person to manually update a spreadsheet.
- Give access to the Matter Manager so they can check in on progress periodically.
- Standardize your process by creating a matter template
- Create a matter template in Lupl and begin your next regulatory project right away with pre-populated task lists, template documents (eg fee quote tracker) and pinned resources.
- You could even start your own ‘little black book’ to add to your template and share with the rest of your organization. Perhaps others will add their contacts in too…
And stay tuned. We’ve listened to the pinch points of these international regulatory projects and we are turning our minds to further improving this process for you!
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