IATA improves remote collaboration and in-house matter management with Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal

To boost matter management efficiencies, the International Air Transport Association deployed Microsoft 365-based Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal to enhance collaboration, information governance, and workload management for a global team.

Headquartered in Montreal, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international trade association for the world’s airlines, with over 20 in-house lawyers located around the world.

Improving interregional collaboration, standardization, and reporting

At the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global team of 20 in-house lawyers live and work in locations in Canada, Switzerland, and Singapore. Despite their large time-zone differences, IATA legal team members need to collaborate regularly on the matters before them. The team recently transformed its technology and processes to simplify matter management by improving professionals’ ability to work seamlessly across regions, standardize document management, and improve reporting to the business.

“We were looking for a better way to manage workloads and content,” said Dane Clapson, Assistant General Counsel at IATA. “Like a lot of legal teams, we wanted to find better ways to work together and collaborate amongst colleagues.”

Transforming knowledge-sharing across all regions

IATA legal operations leaders knew that they needed to transform matter management — especially the ways the dispersed team stored and managed matter-related documents and emails. “Like a lot of legal teams, we were quite siloed and not working as effectively as we might have been,” said Clapson.

Clapson, who also serves as IATA’s Regional Counsel for Singapore, had experienced the inefficiency of the team’s legacy processes firsthand. “Previously, if … work was being handled in Montreal or Geneva and I needed an update for the business, I would email that office [but] not hear back until the next day,” he said — a common bottleneck that slowed service to the legal team and its business clients.

IATA’s matter management goals were clear: Streamline interregional collaboration, improve matter allocation, standardize filing behavior, and enhance reporting to the business.

Enhancing the capabilities of Microsoft 365

The association, which had already adopted Microsoft 365 for everyday productivity and information management, wanted to align any additional legal IT changes with its existing investment.

With that in mind, Konexo — a subsidiary of the global law firm Eversheds Sutherland that provides legal services to IATA — introduced the association to Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal. The matter management solution has been widely embraced by enterprise in-house legal teams, in part because it uses the familiar Microsoft 365 interface. Lawyers and administrators can access and use Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal features within Microsoft Outlook, and don’t need to change the ways they work. IATA was drawn to the solution’s ease of use and its deep integration with Microsoft Outlook, which would further aid a smooth transition.

“This instant visibility is extremely beneficial — not just for eliminating duplicated work, but also for providing management information and feeding back to clients.”

DANE CLAPSON, ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL, IATA

Eliminating duplication

Almost immediately after deploying Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal, the IATA legal team was able to eliminate hours of duplicative matter management effort. Previously siloed in their workflows, the lawyers now enjoyed clear lines of sight into their colleagues’ matters. A central dashboard also allows the regional counsels to see all open matters, both within their own regions and across divisions. The legal operation can now build on this valuable intelligence.

“This instant visibility is extremely beneficial — not just for eliminating duplicated work, but also for providing management information and feeding back to clients,” Clapson explained. “Now, anyone can look up the latest status of a matter and who’s handling it, and get a summary that we can relay to the client instantaneously. That might have taken a day or two previously.” These increased matter management capabilities are, in turn, enhancing the perceived value of the legal department’s offerings to the business.

Adapting to a changing world and an evolving team

The pandemic and its effects have increased much of IATA’s legal activity. “Employment and bankruptcy counsel work is a lot busier at the moment,” Clapson noted. The legal department has had to adapt to these increases while also supporting remote work.

The appointment of a new general counsel, meanwhile, has driven a greater appetite for operational data to support decision-making. Accordingly, IATA will increase its use of Microsoft’s Power BI data analytics — part of a new update to the Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal solution.

“To inform future work allocation, we expect to add to, and make greater use of, the data we capture about what work we’re doing and where,” said Clapson. “, so smart resourcing will be critical.”

The ability to customize Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal will also help the team work more efficiently as it evolves. “That’s something we really appreciate,” Clapson said. “If we want to start collecting extra detail, we can simply add a field in [Microsoft] SharePoint. That’s a huge selling point for Intapp. With our previous tool, if we wanted to so much as change a label on a field, we had to go back to the vendor, pay a fee, and wait for them to do it for us.”

Advanced matter search, along with Microsoft 365’s Power Automate functionality, will also help IATA’s team eliminate manual tasks and free up time for strategic work.

Embracing change

Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal, together with the consulting services provided by Konexo, have helped IATA discover what’s possible and improve its matter management practices accordingly.

“Even though there have been no new, standalone tools to learn how to use, it’s important to not underestimate the role of change management in a successful transformation,” Clapson said. “Any project needs to be driven from the top, with support at every level around enforcing strict compliance.”

Recognizing that change often feels hard, Clapson cautioned that it can’t be avoided. “All organizations need to be realistic about the future of the workplace — not just over the next couple of years, but forever,” he said. “The office as we know it is a thing of the past, so businesses can’t afford to bury their heads in the sand.”

Executive Summary

International Air Transport Association (IATA) — the trade association for the world’s airlines — implemented Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal to better manage its global legal team’s workload and matter content. IATA’s legal team has transformed its matter management, bringing new rigor and consistency to record retention and interregional collaboration, improving the visibility and consistency of matter management, and enhancing collaboration while still working within the familiar Microsoft 365 environment.

Challenges

  • Unclear legal matter management processes led to duplication of effort and impeded globally dispersed legal team members from collaborating effectively
  • Inconsistent document storage and filing impeded proper record access and retention

Results with Intapp

  • Improved workload and matter management: IATA’s legal teams can clearly see which matters have been referred and how they’re progressing
  • Secure, standardized document storage and organization: All matters and content are held in a unified centralized repository
  • A familiar, intuitive user experience: The corporate legal team can keep working in the same comfortable Microsoft 365 environment and make full, compliant use of collaboration aids like Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Teams

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