Corporate paralegals are critical to keeping businesses in compliance. Today's paralegal needs to focus on effective entity management to address the wave of complex tasks.
Entity management is a practice that gives you an edge. Incorporate these skills and tools into your job to become more effective and provide more value to lawyers and clients.
The paralegal and legal assistant profession is projected to grow by more than 15%, faster than the average job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Changes in the law firm business model contribute to the growing demand for paralegals. Law firms want to change the costs and methods of delivering legal services.
The paralegal who masters entity management as a skill can help the law firm or corporate client reduce costs. Paralegals can reduce costs from missed filings and compliance lapses. Entity management also allows a single paralegal to handle more work, which makes you much more valuable to the firm.
A paralegal with entity management skills can also help the firm grow revenue. Entity management software is an easy way to increase client engagement and, potentially, generate recurring revenue.
Entity management is more than software. It is a way of breaking down corporate legal challenges into manageable segments. Entity management magnifies your effectiveness.
Most business lawyers and paralegals think about each business separately, a file with documents and records. That view limits your success.
Entity management breaks through those limitations to reveal commonalities and perspectives, so you can show something exceptional. There are two advantages to these skills. First, paralegals can stay ahead of important deadlines and tasks. Entity management goes beyond clogging up your calendar, to do list, and a computer covered in sticky notes.
Second, and most exciting, paralegals can provide a bird's eye view of more than one legal entity. Paralegals can show lawyers and clients insights they didn't know about their businesses.
For example, entity management allows paralegals to view all filings by type, jurisdiction, and expiration to make those filings more efficient.
Entity management software can also notify you automatically of all upcoming deadlines. It is the reporting insight, however, which sets legal entity management apart.
Imagine accomplishing objectives for your lawyers and clients before they even ask. Entity management helps with three objectives:
The client calls the lawyer with an urgent request to see all appointments which Bob Smith holds because they are about to fire Bob. There are over 30 legal entities in the corporate family. Bob has been with the client for years in a senior capacity. He undoubtedly is on many boards and has an officer title in many subsidiaries, but which ones?
Quick, the client needs an answer by the end of the day. The good news is that you do not need all day. You don't even need 5 minutes.
Use your entity management data to go to the collection of all officers and directors. Filter that list by Bob Smith. Viola!
You can even exceed everyone's expectations by showing the terms of service for each appointment too. A term of service for an officer or director refers to the start date and the end date of the person's service. That analysis allows everyone to understand when Bob served, not just where he served.
Imagine you complete an investment or an acquisition for a client that involves several legal entities. The ownership percentages change. The lawyer says, "By the way, I'd like an org chart of the corporate family before you leave today."
Wait, we need to update all the ownership percentages and then create a whole new chart because there are new entities and new percentages?
Entity management makes this almost trivial work. Simply update ownership relationships and percentages for immediate parents and subsidiaries. Don't worry about entities higher up or lower down the corporate structure. Our entity management software will discover all the relationships and then build a complete org chart based on the new data.
Document management is complicated. Entity management is no replacement for a full document management system. It can, however, allow paralegals to focus on documents for specific legal entities.
Collections of legal entity documents often include:
Some documents have expiration dates; some don't. Entity management solutions can notify you automatically about pending expirations. This allows you to deliver more value to clients and lawyers.
You can also show lawyers all documents across the entire corporate registry expiring in the next 3 months or documents of a certain type.
As a corporate paralegal with solid entity management skills, you can directly improve the financial performance of a law firm or business client.
3 ways entity management software improves the bottom line:
Entity management software does not have to be expensive. Paralegal expertise turns entity management software into a powerful tool for both law firms and businesses.
Email is a terrible task management and collaboration tool. But it is cheap and easy so we use it even we know we shouldn't.
Entity management is a team sport. Paralegals, lawyers, and business leaders need to work together to ensure that the legal entity stays in compliance and serves its purpose.
Moving tasks from email to an entity management solution eliminates the infuriating hunt for the missing email. Many legal entity tasks have a long tail. They occur far in the future. A sticky note that reads, "File that Pennsylvania registration 5 years from now," is not so helpful.
Instead, entity management software can remind you just when you need the notification. You can also share documents and comments, which are now data and not emails buried in the chain.
Whether you are new as a corporate paralegal or a seasoned professional, building entity management skills into your repertoire is a wonderful way to grow your career and make a bigger impact.