e-signatures in focus: Olswang

Finance legal director Anne Chitan and paralegal Charlotte Choules give Legal IT Insider an inside view into its recent decision to offer clients the option to use e-signatures.

When did you sign with DocuSign?

Olswang signed with DocuSign in March 2016. DocuSign originally gave the firm a demo in November, and conversations regarding implementation began in January/ February 2016.

Did you run a proof of concept and was it across the firm or in one area? How long did you spend testing e-signatures?

Olswang’s finance group ran the pilot and proof of concept, which included testing the system internally, running processes against the system and carrying out a full benefit analysis to determine savings of paper, overall time and billing time. The finance group ran up to six test scenarios internally to check timings and ease of use. The group first spent two months configuring the system and settings as well as troubleshooting and solving issues, and then spent two weeks carrying out the actual testing.

Who headed up/ran the project?

DocuSign was brought in via Olswang’s strategic development team, led by senior business change manager Matt Johnson with assistance from trainee business analyst Shellianne Duffin. The test case was led by the Olswang finance team, including international head of finance Charles Kerrigan, [and us] Anne Chitan and Charlotte Choules.

Have you had any client engagement in the project?

Several finance clients have shown an interest in using electronic signature software, and we are currently determining an appropriate deal to utilise DocuSign.

Have you rolled out e-signatures across the whole firm? And how about internationally?

Following the successful test period in finance, Olswang’s London corporate practice and HR team are also testing the tool internally. The firm’s real estate practice is also looking to begin testing in the coming months, and we look forward to seeing this deployed more widely as we work toward becoming a more nimble, agile law firm.

Why did you decide to go with e-signatures now – is it client demand? Is it because of the Law Society Practice note?

Olswang is pleased to be harnessing our TMT expertise to improve our own processes as one of the firms at the vanguard of using electronic signing technology, even ahead of the Law Society guidance. Some clients are starting to show interest in e-signature technology, and we’re certainly seeing significant fee earner time savings when using e-signatures and substantial paper savings.

How are you getting over the fact that DocuSign isn’t integrated with iManage Work?

Olswang groups using the DocuSign technology are currently saving files locally, but DocuSign are currently piloting a third-party software that will allow integration with FileSite, and we look forward to that improvement further improving our processes and the usability of the tool.

This article first appeared in Legal IT Insider’s July/August newsletter.

See also: Allen & Overy & Olswang roll out e-signatures with others to follow