The long-awaited news is official: Your company is finally going public. But before you start daydreaming about cashing in your options for a penthouse apartment, your job as part of the legal team is to prepare for the multi-dimensional, time-consuming process that’s ahead of you—and get your house in order for the regulatory scrutiny and legal demands on the horizon.
Although your company will likely engage outside counsel specialized in securities to handle most of the IPO process, your team might still have a relevant role in working on the listing application, providing risk and regulation guidance regarding the IPO transaction, advising on the roles of regulatory players, and making sure your company won’t face claims after the IPO.
But even if your level of involvement is rather low, there’s something crucial you can do to ensure a smooth transition: You can arm your team with powerful legal technology to both streamline many of the tasks relevant to the IPO process and set you up for success to deal with the new challenges that will arise as your company becomes publicly-traded.
Here are the tools that can help you navigate the pre- and post-IPO process and generate permanent ROI in the form of reduced costs, increased productivity, and fewer distractions for your team.
Ironclad contract lifecycle management (CLM) software is essential for high-growth startups on the path to IPO. When you create and store contracts in one powerful tool, you have real-time visibility for reviews, approvals, and communication at every level, which is the type of transparency you need as you move from a private to a public company.
And when you need to prove your company’s potential with forecasted earnings, Ironclad provides data to back it up. You can pull these insights from sell-side contracts and integrate them with many popular tools, such as Salesforce and Hubspot. Producing reports and audits is almost effortless with instant access to this data.
Plus, you don’t need any prior technical knowledge to use Ironclad. You can create and execute contracts quickly with repeatable, streamlined workflows that make the process predictable. You’ll see a reduction in error—and any resulting financial miscalculations—with automatically-generated documents.
Since contracts are the backbone of a company, Ironclad ensures they’re signed, sealed, and delivered in a way that withstands scrutiny. From a dynamic approval process based on region, value, and custom criteria, to a clear audit trail that tracks every change, to a signature approval process that ensures every contract is signed at the right time, you’ll never miss a beat—or a deadline.
The preparations to go public are far from simple for any function within the legal team. That’s why having a legal ops solution in place is key.
SimpleLegal helps simplify the work of legal operations. From day one of starting your legal ops function to scaling and facing bigger challenges like prepping for an IPO, SimpleLegal can assist you every step of the way.
It combines e-Billing, matter management, vendor management, and reporting and analytics into a single solution, which helps drive efficiencies and cost savings. The tool is architected to be intuitive and uncomplicated, making it easier for you to adopt it quickly. Time is an important commodity when your business is rapidly scaling.
Need to prove that you’re keeping up with your regular work and with the additional responsibilities IPOing brings? SimpleLegal provides you with a central, standard source of truth for your data across different business units and entities. It also helps you move from data to information. From decisions to action. From execution to value.
When you start working on your company's initial public offering of securities, you’ll be part of a big team of lawyers, bankers, auditors, and other relevant specialists. After the IPO, your legal team will likely grow, which means more work, and more people to collaborate with.
Can you sense the potential chaos?
Managing a project with multiple tasks, deadlines, and teammates can turn into your worst nightmare if you’re not equipped with the right tool to keep track of everything that’s going on.
Asana is great to help you stay organized. This project management platform allows you to divide your projects into smaller tasks that you can assign to relevant teammates, add and track deadlines, and monitor the status of each task and of the overall project.
It fosters team collaboration, allowing everyone to stay in sync, hit deadlines, and reach goals. Plus, Asana integrates with over 100 tools such as Slack, Google Drive, and Dropbox, so you can keep the work generated in each of these tools in one place.
LockUp agreements are only one of the multiple types of contracts your company will need to sign as part of the IPO process. And, if everything goes as expected, you’ll start signing many more contracts as your organization benefits from the sudden growth after going public: more sales agreements, lease agreements, licensing agreements, you name it. Therefore, implementing a reliable eSignature software that allows you to complete agreements in a fast and secure way becomes essential.
As one of the industry leaders, DocuSign is your best bet when it comes to automating the collection and tracking of electronic signatures. Parts can review and sign agreements from anywhere, using any device, and save copies for future reference, while you monitor everything that’s pending or finalized with ease.
Plus, their 350+ integrations allow you to connect eSignature with the systems and tools you already use, making it super simple to incorporate electronic signatures into your current workflows.
When your company goes public, the range of legal issues you deal with will expand. All of a sudden, you’ll face a new and complex environment of regulatory and investor scrutiny that will require you to seek the assistance of experienced attorneys in SEC disclosure rules, stock exchange requirements, and corporate governance, to name a few.
Legal talent providers such as Axiom can help you find the right subject matter expert for each topic, and even engage an entire team of specialists to complete a project. Unlike traditional legal firms, Axion provides a network of over 5,800 legal professionals with expertise across many industries and practice areas, which allows you to have more flexibility and resilience when tackling different matters while reducing high costs traditionally associated with big law firms.
If you haven’t implemented a streamlined way of preserving your data and managing your legal holds still involves updating multiple spreadsheets, you may want to rethink your process before going public.
The increased regulatory scrutiny you’ll face post-IPO will likely increase the number of active holds at any given time, so it’s crucial to build a defensible process to avoid potential spoliation sanctions. Your workflows also need to become as efficient as possible so can manage a higher volume of legal holds without having to hire additional legal support staff to manage them.
A solution like Logikcull Holds allows you to accomplish both things by putting your legal holds on auto-pilot. As soon as litigation is reasonably anticipated, you can identify all your custodians, select a legal hold notice template, and issue the notification in a matter of seconds. You can also preserve custodians' Google data in place to make sure no relevant email, chat, or doc gets accidentally deleted. From there, the tool automatically tracks custodian acknowledgment and sends follow-up emails to accept holds and hold reminders, so you can forget about manual tracking. Finally, when the hold is over, all it takes to release it is a click.
In-house legal teams at companies such as Gordon Food Service are able to reduce their legal hold timelines by up to 90% with this type of technology, developing much-needed internal bandwidth to focus on what matters: their matters.
eDiscovery is another area you can expect to see booming as your company becomes publicly traded, which means your outside counsel bills can crush your budget if you’re currently relying on them for most of your eDiscovery work. Alternatively, if you’re handling the process internally without the right technology, you’ll probably need to outsource it or hire a dedicated eDiscovery specialist to deal with the increased volume of data and matters you’ll start facing. None of those are great prospects…
By implementing a cloud-based eDiscovery solution that’s purpose-built for in-house legal teams such as Logikcull, you can handle the entire discovery process in-house without increasing headcount and while greatly reducing your external legal spend.
With direct integrations with your main data sources such as Slack, Google Vault, and MS365, you can instantly collect all your data and get it automatically processed and deduplicated, which eliminates 40% of your records before you even start looking at them. From there, hundreds of filters and advanced search capabilities help you hone in on your most relevant documents, which you can easily review and produce from the same platform.
On average, in-house teams using Logikcull save six figures per matter and thousands of hours in unnecessary manual analysis and review of their data. Plus, by keeping their entire discovery process in one ultra-secure place, the risk of data spoliation or hacking becomes almost negligible, which keeps you relaxed, and stakeholders happy.
To learn how Logikcull can help you meet all your discovery challenges before and after an IPO, book a quick discovery call today.