The foundation of all business is the agreement – and our future success is dependent on technology and AI. In our new “The Future of Agreement” series, ContractRoom talks with some of the industry’s most exceptional leaders who are shaping both the future of agreement and how it will impact business to come. Recently, ContractRoom advisor Jeffrey Pease sat down with Jeff Catanzaro, Vice President of Legal Business Solutions at UnitedLex to discuss blockchain and his vision for the future of agreement.ContractRoom: Let’s talk about your career and what led you to UnitedLex.
Jeff: I’ve focused my career exclusively on all stages of the contract lifecycle for the past decade. I joined UnitedLex almost a year ago as Vice President of Legal Business Solutions (LBS), where I advise clients on the full suite of our contract management offering, including articulating the strategy and vision, consulting, technology selection, and optimization. Before UnitedLex, I worked at Huron Consulting and was responsible for the contract management service offering. I also worked with a legal process outsourcing (LPO) organization in India and The Philippines.
ContractRoom: What drew you to spend so much time with contracts?
Jeff: I have a law degree and an LL.M in taxation. My mind has always been process and rules-driven. When I joined the India-based LPO, it was natural to apply rules in a service area, and contracting seemed to be a perfect fit. Contracts were also the primary service area for which American clients were more amenable to having an outsourced provider. So, while I happened to fall into contracting as a career, I was inspired by the opportunity to leverage my legal and tax experience in this new way of doing business.
ContractRoom: Tell me a little bit more about UnitedLex and how you see the firm engaging in the future of agreement.
Jeff: As an award-winning Enterprise Legal Services Provider we are at the forefront of innovation in the legal industry. No other law company has been able to deliver on a deal such as DXC Technology (DXC), a Fortune 200 IT company, where we essentially provide to DXC the majority of its transactional, litigation, compliance, and legal operations support.
On the transactions side, we handle deals ranging in size from small, modular services offerings to over $1B in value; a total of 65,000 agreements a year are executed by DXC. We’ve been able to successfully deliver this service in part by deploying ContractRoom, and have saved DXC over 30% in overall support costs.
Technology is at the core of what we do. UnitedLex has implemented more than 25 dominant technology solutions over the last two years, and we have more than 100 internal resources focused on technology innovation and software development. The recent investment from CVC Capital Partners also provides us with the capital necessary to truly transform the delivery of enterprise legal services.
ContractRoom: What are some of the big contracting pains clients confess to?
Jeff: It really depends on the client. But one consistent theme is that in-house legal departments are thinly staffed and need solutions to scale their contracting process. Clients crave efficiency – whether that is automation or using playbooks and simplified templates -- that can be leveraged by both the legal and operations professionals who oversee the contracting process. By eliminating bottlenecks, they can add business value, while still protecting the company and mitigating risk.
ContractRoom has distinguished itself from other tools by making the negotiation process simpler for organizations. The ContractRoom clause library and framework allows the business units outside of legal to obtain information and see what has been accepted and/or approved by the legal department, which creates significant efficiencies for our clients.
ContractRoom: Ten years on, why are you still excited about contracts and CLM tech?
Jeff: The significant impact that it can deliver enterprise-wide. Unlike areas such as matter management, contract lifecycle management allows software providers like ContractRoom and Enterprise Legal Services Providers like UnitedLex to help clients really transform a core business process and deliver compelling business value. Contracts touch finance, operations, legal, HR, and compliance. Instead of being a strain on the business, legal can actually accelerate it. Creative solutions should harness all that data to transform the legal department from a cost center to a business partner.
Next time: The importance of online negotiation and more, when our "The Future of Agreement" interview with United Lex’s Jeff Catanzaro continues in Part 2.