Confessions of an Operations Guru Turned Legal Ops Novice, Part 3: Increasing Collaboration and Visibility Across Your Team

So far in this series, we’ve covered increasing accountability and how to promote better coordination and communication on your team. This week, we’re diving in to increasing collaboration and visibility across your team.

Disclaimer: I’m a big fan of collaboration tools. And not just because I work for a company that makes one. I work here because I know how revolutionary these tools can be for teams. I’ve experienced the impact of installing a new collaboration tool myself, many times, and I love being able to bring this success to new organizations.

Ok, so now my secret is out; I’ll be touting the benefits of collaboration tools throughout the rest of this post. You probably should have seen it coming.

So, what IS the big deal with these tools anyway?

Why does everyone and their dog tell me I need a collaboration tool?

I’m a lawyer, why are you forcing me to use technology?

Aha! These are great questions. And today, we’re going to get to the bottom of them.

What’s the big deal?

Collaboration tools aren’t just some random system that sends you a bunch of emails whenever your coworkers have a thought about a project. When we think of collaboration tools, many of us think of task management systems. These are simple systems focused on the completion of individual tasks (Asana, Trello, even Google Sheets). These are very useful systems that allow you to work together on individual items so that you can focus your attention to a specific task. However, once you try to get a 30,000, 10,000, or even 5,000 foot view, these task management systems can reach their maximum usefulness.

Robust collaboration tools, like ALOE, allow you to collaborate across an entire process. You can collaborate with people outside and inside your organization, connect issues to each other, and report on the big picture at any time.

This is becoming increasingly critical as more companies are lengthening their remote work programs. The ability to have and track conversations in a central location – where it’s easy to find and you don’t have to dig relentlessly through your email to find that one note – can save your team a lot of time and headache. How frustrating is it to have to VPN in to your server to access your files from home every time you need something? I don’t know what it’s like at your offices, but in my previous positions, when employees are met with a barrier like VPN, they often just store everything on their computer, which doesn’t allow for visibility or collaboration and, long-term, can result in lost work for the company. With a collaboration tool like ALOE, you can have these documents in a central, secure location that doesn’t have extra barriers – this way, your IT and Operations teams are happy while your staff can easily follow the guidelines.

Additionally, when staff transitions, you’ll have a full record of their work so you don’t have to wonder where critical documents and conversations are stored – it’s all accessible in your collaboration tool.


Why does everyone and their dog tell me I need a collaboration tool?

Please see the notes above.

Additionally, if someone’s dog is telling you that you need a collaboration tool, you may want to check if the top is still spinning.


I’m a lawyer, why are you forcing me to use technology?

I understand this argument. Every attorney has a system that works for them, and disrupting it can be upsetting and uncomfortable. At my previous company, where I was an ALOE customer and user, my GC would ask me to send them a text every time I sent them an email in order to call their attention to what I needed. Their system worked for them, and they’d been working successfully this way for a long time. They came in to ALOE with an open mind, and now, they’re an ALOE savant. It took a while to transition all their processes over to working in the ALOE system, but they have so much more confidence knowing that every contract can be found in the same place, their notes on a contract are accessible to help them when it’s time to renew, and there’s a record of all the approvals the contract went through so they can see who was involved in the decision along the way. In several years, when everyone has forgotten the details of these transactions, ALOE will still have all the information they need when they pull the contract.

There are a lot of other benefits to using a legal operations collaboration tool, and if you’ll allow me to get up on my ALOE soap box for a moment, I’d love to share why:

  1. Approval Processes: ALOE has easy approval processes where you can send emails to your Finance, IT, Admin, or Marketing teams. When they click the Accept, Negotiate, or Reject button in that email, they can make changes to the contract and send it back to ALOE or let you know why they think this is a good or bad deal.
  2. External Review: ALOE also has an external review email system. It works similarly by emailing the contract to the external party. They can choose to accept or negotiate the contract, and their new edited document will show up in ALOE without you having to do anything at all.
  3. Compliance: It’s easy to create a task for yourself or someone on another team so that there’s an automatic reminder when something is due to a client. When I installed ALOE in my organization, reports and documentation related to the agreement could be required from just about any department in our organization. When a contract is signed, the tasks are scheduled out and assigned to ensure all commitments occur on time.
  4. Document Storage/Search: I love this one. ALOE has OCR-enabled document searchability. If you need every contract with an exclusivity clause, you can find the whole list in about 30 seconds.
  5. Permissions: Whenever I talk “visibility” with a lawyer, their first question is about permissions. Part of visibility is making sure that the people who need to see a matter can, and that those that don’t need to can’t. Part of the benefit of using a collaboration tool is that you can get far more nuanced with your permissions than a typical folder system would allow.


While you can always increase collaboration and visibility in an organization without a collaboration tool, it’s my humble opinion that it’s not worth the effort. Companies like ours spend millions of dollars optimizing systems that will work for you, not against you. Having a secure, central, and easy location for your employees to manage their work benefits them, removes roadblocks, increases productivity, and impacts your bottom line.

Using these tools for legal operations management reduces risk, increases compliance, and improves internal and external customer satisfaction.

Brycellyn LaBorde

Brycellyn LaBorde

Operations Manager, Bigfork Technologies