“By using Knowliah, we can report to the business without any effort. Based on these reports, we can also set target for our legal department”
– Loebrecht Lievens, General Counsel and Compliance Officer Benelux at Schindler
The Swiss multinational company, The Schindler Group, is well-known for manufacturing escalators, moving walkways, and elevators worldwide. The General Counsel and Compliance Officer Benelux of Schindler, Loebrecht Lievens, has decided to implement Knowliah within their legal department. Why? Their way of working at the time, with only Excell and paper files, wasn’t effective anymore.
The General Counsel and Compliance Officer Benelux of Schindler understood the urgent need of digitalizing their operations and processes. And therefore, Loebrecht Lievens shares his experience with digitalization and how the usage of Knowliah nowadays has a great impact on their way-of-working.
Loebrecht Lievens is known as a pragmatic General Counsel. Key theme for him is to link Legal and Management: how to manage the Legal function within a Company, and how to team up Legal Experts.
Mr. Lievens, how is your legal team using Knowliah these days?
We use Knowliah as a matter management system. Only the people from the legal department have access to
it. For each file we receive, a digital file is created. That can be about any matter: a general meeting, and advice, a contract. And it is also appointed to that extent.
How did you get to Knowliah?
Knowliah was the first to develop software that supports legal teams where really needed. Knowliah also listens to its customers and incorporates their input.
Can you mention some advantages of using Knowliah for your legal team?
The biggest advantage is that we create a central database in which we can easily find the right information back. Sometimes you get a telephone from the company asking you what the situation is of a specific contract. In that case, you would basically need to answer: ‘I have to search for the right document, I’ll call you back within 5 minutes’. Now with Knowliah we can consult it immediately, even if it’s a matter where a colleague was working on. You can see immediately what the situation of a case is.
We create a digital memory. In a commercial environment, in business, the oldest information someone returns to is a quarter ago, but the legal department is the memory of a company. Knowliah helps us with being that important memory. For example, we can consult immediately a given advice from three years ago.
Knowliah is an agenda for us. With smart activity tracking and status overviews, nothing gets lost. The status of the matters will show up after a certain time so that we can go to other business departments and say: “We have written a contract for you here but haven’t heard from you, can we still help you with that”. Knowliah allows us to work in a proactive way, which is a bit unusual for a legal department.
We can easily report to the business. We can tell the business that we have given so many advices, so many recommendations per month. More for that region than for that region. More in that area than in that area. This gives you direction. And based on that, you can also set targets for your legal department. Hence: a matter management system.
The transition went rather smoothly. I have already experienced the implementation of such software
platforms at my previous employers on several occasions. I remember by a previous employer that I needed
quite a bit of persuasion to convince my boss of the added value of legal tech platforms.
How did your legal team experience the implementation of Knowliah?
The typical reflex of company lawyers is to say that if it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist. The cloud also causes a lot of stress. The legal department must be convinced that they will work faster by using it and they can also do much more. I would convince my colleagues by just showming them how quickly I can create a matter. I would sit next to that person and show them how it works. After seeing how Knowliah works, my team was immediately convinced.
What would happen to your way-of-working if Knowliah disappears tomorrow?
I would no longer be able to work remotely. Now I always have my matters with me, wherever I go.
I work at a Benelux organization at various branches. Without Knowliah, I wouldn’t always have the right information and knowledge with me.
Nor would I ever be able to tell the business what I’ve done. Reporting to the business is very important for a legal department. Throughout my career, I’ve have seen that company lawyers experience a lot of problems with reporting to the business. Sometimes even the boss is wondering what the legal professionals of the company are doing all day long. We are negotiating and writing contracts, but for which purpose? With Knowliah, I can convert my work more into figures and tangible reporting. Advising the business would go much slower if we didn’t use Knowliah.
Do you have any tips or tricks for legal teams to convince the management to start using legal tech solutions like Knowliah?
The most important thing is that the legal department should be convinced first about the advantages of the
software/tool. A lawyer is used to argue and will therefore maybe find 1000 arguments against legal tools by
himself. But once they are convinced, they will be able to convince the management very quickly because a tool like Knowliah is price-quality relatively cheap.
Last question Mr. Lievens, how can Knowliah convince other legal departments of companies to start using legal tech solutions?
By explaining the benefits that I’ve listed earlier and also by showing a demonstration. I am sometimes surprised that there are still legal teams that only work with paper. Apparently, that is not the departments’ biggest priority, I guess. The legal department is increasingly changing its role from supporting partner to strategic partner. You can’t do that with paper files. Digitalization is a logical next step in the evolution of the legal department.
And that’s why Knowliah can be an added value!
Thank you very much for your time and honest feedback Mr. Lievens.