Yves Larue is a partner at Askesis, a business law firm he founded in 2008 with Denis Koban, and later joined by Bastien Bernard. Specialized in corporate law and contract law, he is currently the head of the firm’s Corporate Department.
As an early adopter of Closd, he agreed to tell us more about his experience with the platform, and more specifically about the efficiency gains and customer experience benefits enabled by the electronic signature module.
Closd: Could you please introduce us to Askesis?
Yves Larue: Askesis is a business law firm specializing in 5 main activities: corporate law (restructurings, M&A), financing and banking law, tax law, intellectual property law, and contract law. Our main activity and the one for which we use Closd is the financing and M&A branch: fundraising operations, purchase and sale of companies, business assets, etc.
We serve a very wide range of clients, including many start-ups due to our location in the heart of a technology park, and large international groups. We work mainly for corporate clients, and for company CEOs within the framework of property operations. This wide range of clients allows us to address very diverse cases.
What were the main challenges before adopting Closd? What convinced you to use the platform?
Before Closd, we were carrying out many closings that required the reproduction of large volumes of technical documents, not to mention the appendices. We had already opted for a notarial binding system, which had already allowed us to save time for our clients but which required a lot of preparation on our side, up to several days for a closing session. Not to mention that in case of last-minute changes, we had to reprint all these documents. We would often spend an entire night before the closing making copies of several thousand pages to be bound. In addition, since this was a technical operation that required a high degree of expertise, attention and preparation, the editing and proofreading had to be carried out by the lawyers themselves.
With this in mind, I quickly started looking for an electronic signature solution that would allow us to save time. I was already familiar with Docusign, but it wasn’t practical enough for me. Before Closd, there was no global solution to handle deals.
We had considered taking the plunge before the lockdown, but this choice was then more than needed given the situation, especially since 2020 was a very busy year for us, during which we signed many deals. The tool allowed us to move forward with the closing of deals that had already been started, and even to carry out new ones. After the lockdown, everyone got used to using the tool.
Could you describe the operations you carry out thanks to the platform? What are your favorite features?
The feature we use the most in Closd is the electronic signature module. The tool allows us to share documents between us and colleagues, which is very practical because an increasing number of them now have access to the platform, which greatly simplifies the process. The tool helps us greatly in the preparation stage and in simplifying exchanges. It allows us to have a shared space on which to exchange.
The tool also ensures that the final version has been validated by the client, including their in-house lawyers, but also by all parties. Closd brings comfort to our clients and reinforces security. Working with PDF documents instead of paper is a real time saver that allows us to speed up the signature process.
We still carry out face-to-face signatures with our clients to keep the convivial aspect and celebrate the deal over a glass of champagne, but all documents are signed electronically. This has been a revolution for us in terms of productivity: 90% of our electronic signatures are completed on Closd.
The platform is very well-designed and intuitive. I’ve seen the features evolve over time, to the point where it’s become a real daily work tool. All our deals are processed through Closd; the platform makes our work easier and allows us to be much more efficient in terms of signing workflow.
Are your clients and interlocutors satisfied with the use of the platform?
Once customers have created their access on Closd, they are very happy, even if some would like the access to the platform to be quicker and with less verification. But I think this is essential to ensure a high level of security.
How would you assess your experience with Closd? What are the main strengths of the platform?
We are very satisfied! The platform’s strengths are that it has evolved from a solution focused on electronic signatures to a real work tool as new features have been added.
Our clients appreciate the fact that they can find signed documents on the platform, follow a signature workflow, provide different levels of validation, etc. Another feature we really appreciate is the ability to automatically generate closing binders with summaries, which allows us to close deals in one click and send it directly to our clients.
Another strength of the platform is the technical support, which is extremely reactive and helpful as soon as we have a problem with a customer who either can’t log in or can’t scan his or her ID, and the problem is resolved very quickly. This is a real strength of the platform, which I particularly appreciate since we are putting our image and credibility at stake.