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Juridicon: changed attitude toward clients wins the Legal Service of the Year Award

2020-12-28 12:30
Publications

A few weeks ago, after the prestigious awards “Service of the Year” organised by the Lithuanian Business Confederation, Juridicon UAB was yet again among the winners. For its innovative service “ALLAW Data Protection Officer”, the company received the “Legal Service of the Year” award. This is not the first time the company has won these awards. Last year, Juridicon UAB was also recognised among the winners for the service “Legal Department as a Service ALLAW”.

Lawyer Laimonas Marcinkevičius, the founder of the alternative managed legal services model ALLAW, talks about how the company manages to combine the provision of legal services with modern IT solutions, what value it creates for clients and how special this service is.

 

What kind of service ALLAW Data Protection Officer is?

The Data Protection Officer is an employee assigned to a specific company who helps to ensure that the organisation complies with and operates in accordance with the requirements of personal data processing and protection legislation. A GDPR compliance portal is created for each new customer in our digital space ALLAW, where both cooperating parties can see very clearly the customer’s situation in the field of data protection. Everything works on the so-called one-stop-shop principle, where assistance comes from a single data protection officer. Legal and compliance services are tailored to the specific customer, taking into account the customer’s business area, company size and other features. All work takes place in one space remotely, so there is no need to search through e-mails trying to remember who is responsible and for what area (especially relevant for large companies) or go to meetings. This principle of work is especially justified in case of illness of one or more employees, because it is easy for the colleagues taking over the work to understand at what stage the company’s compliance with GDPR requirements is, what tasks need to be performed, etc.

How is ALLAW Data Protection Officer different from the traditional provision of the service?

The traditional legal services model lacks consistent quality control, sound project and case management and oversight, and the processes are inefficient. The relationship between a lawyer and a customer is often based on certain roles: lawyers consider themselves adults and customers play the role of children. Lawyers hide details from the customers, do not explain why they take certain actions or make decisions, do not expect the customer to contribute much in the course of work. Therefore, the result of the service is simply imposed.

The work is performance in a very simple way: the customer is asked template questions, answers are received, and documents are prepared based on these answers. In some cases, it works, but certainly not always. Unpredictable hourly pricing also a contributing factor, which greatly increases the cost of services.

How is the relationship you now build with the customer different?

We do not seek a one-sided relationship, but build cooperation. We provide clients with tools, strategies, and forms that are reciprocal, i.e., we create the solution together with the customer, taking into account his situation, business area, etc. One person cannot ensure compliance. You need teamwork to accomplish that. It is the collaboration that brings a better result and gives customers transparency in communicating with their data protection officer or lawyer. In addition, they receive what is especially important for the customer – service quality control and a fixed price known in advance. Thus, we do not approach the company that has ordered such legal services as a customer. The lawyer becomes part of their team and a business partner. Such a relationship is always more than the usual “buy and sell” approach, which affects the result accordingly.

Tell us, how is the work with the ALLAW Data Protection Officer structured?

All work takes place in the ALLAW digital virtual space, where the managed rights and compliance services are ordered by a subscription. A portal is created for the customer who has ordered this service, and it is in that space that the entire journey of work and tasks towards GDPR compliance can be seen. The customer can connect at any time and view the whole situation as if from a bird’s eye view. The customer can clearly understand what is going on, which processes and their stages are scheduled and when they will be completed. The customer can collect information, store all documents in one place, sign and save them, involve the colleagues, choose a strategy, oversee the process, get answers to questions on the spot, and more. It is easy for a customer to understand the path involved in executing orders, whether it is a GDPR compliance project, a data protection program, or an entire company’s risk management portfolio. A fixed price allows both parties to work in a structured way: one party has to plan work precisely, the other – to work efficiently and streamline processes.

You mentioned a number of important things. Is it easy for customers to figure out how to use the said portal? Do they require a training?

The GDPR compliance portal, and hence the Data Officer service, is simple and user-friendly. The customer quickly catches up and learns to use it. Everything is designed to save time and allow to act here and now. There is more to customers being able to see the situation like in the palm of their hand. To make it even clearer to them, the legal design method is used with a visual representation of a certain situation.

What is the legal design method you mentioned?

It is a way to make legal services more understandable, useful and human-centred that is very popular aboard. It involves use of colour graphics that replace complex legal concepts. It is sufficient to take a quick look to understand the situation. We have noticed that the design method even leads to greater involvement and understanding on the part of the customer. Simplicity is the guiding principle behind the development and improvement of this service, based on customer feedback.

What value does the customer receive by ordering services in this way?

The entire work process is clear, smooth and transparent. This is very important for customers. They can see at any time what work is going on, get reports and understand what they are paying for. Because all documents are in one place, you can work with large amounts of documents. This is especially important for large companies. The General Data Protection Regulation requires not only compliance with the GDPR requirements, but also the ability to demonstrate this. Documents can be exported from the GDPR compliance portal at any time, uploaded in your document archive, and prove that the company has completed the job. Thus, the result as a whole is maximally tailored to the specific customer, with his situation and expectations appropriately delved into.

The company does not need to hire an internal or external employee to perform this work. This is always associated with additional costs, as in this case funds would have to be allocated for acquisition of a personal data protection program management tool. Their functions are usually quite limited or they cost a lot.

The Data Protection Officer also saves time for managers and officers, and allows teams to collaborate productively. An added value is the integrated distance learning area, for example, on the GDPR application practices. The employees no longer have to be sent to costly seminars. They are offered different topics, update their knowledge and test it by taking a test.

Who is this service designed for?

For large and medium-sized businesses, their managers, heads of compliance, personnel and risk management departments. We work with business representatives from various fields. ALLAW is the law for business.

Who developed the ALLAW model of alternative managed legal services?

It was created in Lithuania and presented at the Legaltech Forum for Lawyers in London in February 2020. I have been interested in IT for many years and have been looking for tools to help customers create greater added value. My changed mindset became a major turning point. Until recently, I was looking for someone who could create value for my law firm until I realised that I needed to look for value for the customer first. I wanted that what customer receives is comfortable and simple, and that everything is concentrated in one place. This naturally combined my knowledge of IT, management and law. Usually, data protection and compliance abroad is handled by a real person, or you can buy a programme that does not have as many features. We managed to combine both. I implement the digital space and the services provided in it by adapting my education in the fields of business and project management.

What does it mean to you to receive the “Legal Service of the Year” award for the second time?

It is good to be appreciated in that we can combine the experience in the field of data protection that we worked on before the regulation came into force with the latest technology. What is most gratifying about the development process itself is that we are not only providers of legal and compliance services, but also developers of customised law and data protection. And, of course, positive customer feedback that always provides great insights and inspires continuous improvement.