How to Streamline the Closing Process for Mergers & Acquisitions
Oct 28, 2019
At many law firms, closing out transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, isn’t a pillar of efficiency. That isn’t to say a firm can’t be known for their ability to properly manage transactions on schedule and on budget—clients value a law firm that can handle acquisitions, financing, security offerings, or real estate deals. They rely on the lawyer to consummate the deal, including knowing the different responsibilities of all the parties involved, seeking and securing regulatory approvals, and finally having everyone sign off on the transaction.
In our recent webinar, How to Cut Through the Monotony and Increase Efficiency in the Closing Process, we dived into how before the internet, the closing process would often take place in a board room with a lot of handshaking and documents passing back and forth. While email helped communication in some ways, it’s led to the entire transaction happening via email, which leads to a lot of headaches and inefficiencies. In fact, for a lawyer, the closing process can be just as monotonous as it is frustrating.
What’s Wrong with the Current Process
There are five downsides to the traditional closing process.
- It has too many manual tasks
Besides the thousands of emails that can pile up trying to close a transaction, the process of assembling documents, acquiring signatures, and working through a closing checklist remains, for the most part, an analog process.
- It is too time-intensive
This is true of both assembling the closing binder and completing the transaction. No lawyer wants to spend days tediously putting together documents. And to finally wrap up all the signatures and agreements can take months, dragging out the transaction.
- It uses too much paper
Both environmentally and from a cost point of view, paper is wasted on different versions of documents and the printing of the final binder.
- It is too expensive
It’s not just the paper that gets expensive. Clients are aware of the billable hours, and in a price-based market, keeping costs down is a real advantage to customer retention and satisfaction.
- The documents from the final closing binder may end up in different locations
Every party has its own method of storing documents. The current process can result in headaches when each different player in the deal has to find specific documents down the road.
The manual tools and organizational tactics attorneys use to process transactional closings aren’t keeping up with the complexity of the deals. At Net Document’s most recent webinar, we discussed Set Builder, a solution to the inefficient closing process plaguing so many law firms.
Introducing Set Builder
It’s worth telling the story of SetBuilder’s inception. Eric Wood, who spoke at the webinar, come up with the idea for SetBuilder while working at Chapman and Cutler LLP, which primarily handles transactions. As a junior associate, he would spend weeks in a windowless room sorting through documents. Remarkably, he found time to learn how to code and conceived the idea for a software tool to assist in organizing the closing process.
He pitched the idea to his management team, and Chapman built out their tool, called Closing Room, on top of NetDocuments. The impact was immediate, and many users began using Closing Room as soon as they rolled it out. Eric estimates Chapman saved millions in closing related expenses with the new tool. NetDocuments bought Closing Room three years later, renamed it Set Builder, and made it widely available in the industry.
How SetBuilder Works
As the name suggests, SetBuilder helps you create the structure of a closing process. By putting in place headers and placeholders, you can establish the format of what the final document will look like. From there, it’s easy to drag and drop the real documents into your placeholders. Essentially the manual process of checklists and closing rooms is replicated digitally. It only takes a few seconds to assemble the right documents into an orderly structure. Additionally, SetBuilder connects right to your Workspace, so the documents you need are even more accessible.
Aside from an efficient assembly, a few other benefits make SetBuilder helpful in the closing process are that it helps attorneys:
- Generate a PDF that encompasses every document. This is your closing binder.
- Distribute the final document electronically. You can email and send secure links through NetDocuments. This can save you a lot on printing and shipping costs.
- Clone your template for future projects. Chances are you do a lot of similar types of deals, and duplicating your Set Builder will make closing future deals much simpler. The documents will change from project to project, but the structure will remain fairly consistent.
SetBuilder digitizes the closing process in an intuitive way that utilizes NetDocuments current tools. It was built in the trenches of a transactional law firm, and you’ll find that it replicates the process of checklists and closing rooms, just in a more friendly and efficient drag-and-drop setting.
Ready to streamline your own transaction and closing process? Get a demo of SetBuilder.