With the Janders Dean KN Conference starting in Sydney in a couple of days’ time, here’s a story on how Morrison & Foerster has leveraged HighQ technology to create “FrankNDodd™” – a comprehensive web-based Dodd-Frank data resource…

Morrison & Foerster LLP (MoFo) is a global law firm serving many Fortune 100 companies, including financial services organizations such as banks, insurance institutions and credit card companies. The firm recently worked with HighQ to create FrankNDodd, a continuously updated proprietary online portal and database providing comprehensive up-to-date information about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and related rulemaking. FrankNDodd is a free password-protected resource for MoFo clients, helping them to stay apprised of regulatory and compliance requirements.

Addressing the Dodd-Frank Challenge: Focusing on a moving target

Enacted in July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act has been called the most important piece of legislation since the Great Depression. The legislation is contained in a 3,000+ page document requiring the writing of more than 500 new sets of rules to regulate the business and activities of financial companies, such as banks, insurance companies and investment firms.  The Dodd-Frank Act requires rule-making by the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, CFTC, SEC, and many other government agencies; its scope is vast and far-reaching.

In the past two years, regulators have been releasing proposed and final rules, as well as publishing required studies on a near-daily basis – and financial institutions must stay abreast of these new developments. Institutions have the dual challenge of understanding Dodd-Frank’s impact on their particular institution and keeping track of all of the regulations affecting them. This process is very difficult and onerous and the stakes are high.

Morrison & Foerster Partner Anna Pinedo explains, “In an effort to advise clients how to stay compliant, many law firms started using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of the massive legislation, but the inefficiency of such an approach quickly became apparent. MoFo envisioned a more efficient, centralized and modern approach that would become a useful resource for clients.”

Prompted by an urgent client need, MoFo lawyers began to examine how the firm could leverage web-based technology to help.

Seeking a Solution: Looking for technology to provide security, flexibility and customization

With the concept for MoFo’s Dodd-Frank portal clear, the firm sought out a technology company that could help make it a reality.

The MoFo team wanted to divide the portal into manageable sections, presenting regulatory developments in accessible and helpful ways, allowing clients to search for particular areas that interested them, and alerting them when new information was available in their relevant areas of specialization.

Pinedo recalls, “When it came to choosing a company that could help us customize and build the site, HighQ demonstrated they could provide the flexibility, security, customization and professionalism we were seeking, combined with the ability to deliver the solution within one month. Given HighQ’s past experience with the financial sector, they prioritized security which was critically important to us and our clients. We decided to purchase the HighQ Collaborate platform.”

Developing FrankNDodd: Fast development, organized and flexible solution

The HighQ team helped MoFo build a sophisticated but easy-to-use online portal. The system was created with the tenets of simplicity, accessibility and customization in mind. One of the main challenges that arose was to set up a database- fast. HighQ marshaled a global team that worked day and night to deliver FrankNDodd extremely quickly.

Pinedo says, “When FrankNDodd was delivered a few weeks later, setup on our side was quick. The portal itself incorporated all of the functionality we sought and achieved our original goals.”

HighQ altered the look and feel of the site to reflect the MoFo brand and made several other customizations as well.  HighQ enabled their system to generate fully branded HTML-format email alerts which could be delivered to clients. HighQ also set up the ability to export Dodd-Frank content to HTML and PDF.

FrankNDodd displays data in easily-searchable format and gives MoFo clients the option to track the information they need and eliminate what they don’t need to see. The filtered search operates like Autotrader – you can narrow down the searches based upon what you’re looking for.

Some of the most popular features turned out to be the Tracker, which contains rule descriptions, follows rule-making developments and effective dates and deadlines; and the Calendar that organizes upcoming events in a central location and notifies users of upcoming regulatory deadlines.

The site contains links to webcasts, podcasts and PowerPoint presentations that provide additional resources. A weekly newsletter called “The Week in Dodd Frank” notifies clients regarding imminent changes and updates.

The Result: FrankNDodd – The web-based key to understanding the Dodd-Frank legislation

FrankNDodd has become an invaluable free service for MoFo’s clients. It is currently used by more than 4,000 users.  The firm is able to maintain it without assistance from its IT department – content updates are made internally by MoFo staff and database changes are made periodically by HighQ.

Muhannad “Mo” Al-Najjab, who leads a MoFo team responsible for much of the on-going maintenance of the FrankNDodd portal notes, “We are able to handle daily updates with minimal involvement from HighQ.  The system is robust and can be easily customized to accommodate a variety of goals and uses.”

By helping clients stay abreast of regulatory developments with this easy-to-use system, MoFo has been able to save its clients time and money. FrankNDodd has also helped MoFo clients with internal project management and compliance and HighQ has been able to customize the site for them quite readily.

Pinedo adds, “For MoFo, FrankNDodd continues our tradition of innovation. We are proud to provide a service that our clients value and regulators use as a go-to resource for all Dodd-Frank related information.”

In conclusion

HighQ’s technology has been ideal for MoFo because it is available right out of the box, flexible and can be up and running quickly without internal IT assistance. With HighQ’s level of service, the firm was able to deliver the product to clients at the high level of professionalism and security that is necessary for a leading global firm.

FrankNDodd™ is owned by Morrison & Foerster LLP.