Ever heard of Closing Folders? If you haven’t and you’re a transactional lawyer, you might want to pay attention. Closing Folders is a cloud-based workflow management program that can make your life a lot easier.
How Closing Folders Started
In 2013, two corporate lawyers in Toronto, Sahil Zaman and Gordon Cassie, started Closing Folders after they got frustrated with the messy and error-prone process of closing corporate deals, particularly those with several parties spread across multiple locations. They wanted to simplify their jobs with technology.
In the early stages of development, Zaman and Cassie focused on organizing documents and eliminating paper waste. To do this, they harnessed cloud computing. As the program took shape, though, they realized it could become so much more. So they went through the whole process of closing a big corporate deal and, along the way, checked off tasks they could assimilate into the program — items such as gathering signatures and generating closing books.
In its final form, Closing Folders streamlines complicated transactions so lawyers can manage all the details with ease.
How It Was Developed
According to Zaman and Cassie, Closing Folders is meant to bring corporate transactions into the modern era. Now that everything else is happening online, why should corporate lawyers have to juggle dozens or even hundreds of paper folders in a single deal? Zaman and Cassie relied heavily on feedback from their own clients throughout the development process. Only once their clients told them they’d hit every nail on the head were they satisfied. Even when the app got up and running, it was a work in progress. They’d add something, tweak it, perfect it, let a client try it out, get feedback, and then tweak and perfect it some more.
The pair also wanted to automate as many mundane legal tasks as possible. It’s no secret that one of the most common complaints in the legal field is monotony — the tasks that don’t serve much purpose but still need to get done. While Closing Folders can’t eliminate such tasks, it can make them as hands-off as possible for lawyers.
How It Works and Who Uses It
Closing Folders takes the old process of closing a legal transaction and simplifies, digitizes, and organizes it. If you’ve been practicing long enough, you’ve probably spent many mornings gathered around a boardroom table, flanked by clients and other associates, with hundreds of folders spread out before you, the mood frenetic.
The next few hours are usually spent reviewing piles of documents, collecting dozens of signatures, and then handing everything over to a senior associate or partner for review. At last, everyone shakes hands and goes home, no one entirely sure nothing was missed.
With Closing Folders, you still need to organize and centralize your folders, but the piles of papers are gone. The fabled boardroom table where deals used to get inked? Now you have an online "deal room" where each party to the transaction gathers virtually to take care of paperwork. All those signatures you’d have to gather at once? Now everything’s signed online in a much more peaceful and stress-free process before closing.
Closing Folders is growing in popularity with large firms, small firms, and solo practitioners alike. Remember Shopify’s IPO in 2015? That $131 million deal, brokered by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and RBC Capital Markets, closed with the help of Closing Folders. But the program is also meant for the solo practitioner working out of their home. Anyone who practices transactional law and wants to make their job — and life — easier can benefit from it.
How Lawyers Benefit From Closing Folders
Closing Folders benefits transactional lawyers in many ways:
- There’s less paperwork.
- There’s less need for travel and in-person meetings, since everything is stored online in a central repository.
- Repetitive, mundane, and boring processes are automated.
- There’s easy tracking of who signed what.
- Automatic redlines show up after uploading new documents.
- Closing records generate automatically after each transaction.
In short, lawyers who use Closing Folders waste less paper, burn less gas, get transactions done faster, and have easier access to important documents as a deal works its way through the funnel.
How to Make Money Using Closing Folders
That’s right — lawyers can make a lot of money using Closing Folders. Does that mean the program actually pays you cash to use it? Of course not. But using it can increase your bottom line all the same.
In business, time is money, and Closing Folders can save you a lot of time. Also, by reducing errors and making deals flow through the pipeline easier, the program endears you to clients, who are more likely to entrust you with future transactions. Finally, since you don’t have to travel to meet clients and ink deals, you can save money in that area as well.
Closing Folders is one of the most exciting new developments to appear at the intersection of law and technology. Lawyers who take advantage of it can boost their careers and simplify their lives.