The startup Closd, which enables transactions to be carried out remotely, has thrived in the last few months. Its CEO, Grégoire Debit, offers an optimistic view of the French legal tech market for both domestic and foreign legal actors.
Décideurs Juridiques: Will legal tech come out of this crisis stronger than ever?
Grégoire Debit: Legal tech as a whole will come out stronger, and the digitalisation movement will accelerate. This crisis has pushed the industry several years ahead in terms of evolving mentalities and readiness for change. Law firms and legal departments have to be ready for new challenges, notably remote working, automation of processes, and talent retention, considering an increasing portion of new recruits are so-called ‘digital natives’. Some legal professionals adopted digital solutions due to the urgency brought on by the crisis, while others preferred to wait and see how the situation evolved. Today, however, little doubt remains about the necessity of implementing lasting digitalisation and whether legal tech solutions provide a positive return on investment.
Did you take advantage of confinement to develop new features?
We are constantly developing and enhancing our solution, with the help of our clients who we exchange with regularly on this subject. As former lawyers, proximity and communication with our users is part of our DNA, and we build our roadmap based on the needs they identify. Above all, confinement confirmed that we were on the right track, as Closd allowed a great deal of lawyers to carry on with their cases uninterrupted and to execute hundreds of closings remotely. We also raised funds from tech and legal business angels three days before the start of confinement! That helped us accelerate our development during that crucial period.
We raised funding from tech and legal business angels three days before the start of confinement!
Do you predict that additional budgets will be put in place by legal departments and law firms to digitalise going forward?
Several recent studies revealed that digital tools were now omnipresent in the minds of lawyers, but less so on their computers and smartphones. There remain many challenges to effective and sustainable digital transformation, but I am persuaded that this movement will expand, and notably with larger budgets. Lawyers will become even more influential and “profitable” business partners thanks to this. Taking Closd as an example, a solution that saves weeks on the execution of a deal compared to traditional practices has a very positive economic and financial impact for all parties involved.
Do you work with other legal tech solutions to create a vertical integration of services?
We are involved in several partnerships to centralize the most possible tools that are useful for managing legal projects on a single platform. We already have integrations with document management software like iManage, which is complementary to Closd. Reducing the number of different tools is a need that has been expressed by many actors in the space. We are very conscious of this and are moving in that direction. I can’t give more specifics on the projects we are working on as they are still confidential, but our users will be delighted!
Does Closd already have clients abroad?
Absolutely. Our aim is to create a benchmark tool for the management and execution of legal transactions at a global scale. We already work with clients in many countries, and over 12 000 users worldwide. We know that lawyers around the world share the need to simplify and automate processes, particularly on deals, which are carried out in a similar manner around the world. Furthermore, for European parties, the advantage of using Closd is that it is ultra-secure, with full data encryption and all the data hosted by a leading European cloud provider. This makes us totally compliant with GDPR regulations and avoids any risk related to other regulations that could have less protections with respect to personal or confidential data.
Interview by Pascale d’Amore