Documate Automation Specialist: Anja-Sara Lahady

Anja-Sara Lahady is a Canadian lawyer practicing in corporate and commercial law in an innovation-oriented firm. She integrated Documate into her firm processes as a solution to make legal drafting more efficient and has, ever since, been working on a day-to-day basis with the platform to automate the firm’s templates in both French and English. She’s been combining her legal reasoning and her understanding of the practical and commercial issues to make the solution suitable and optimized for their internal use.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Born and raised French-Canadian, I have completed my bachelor of laws (LL.B.) at the University of Montreal and became a licensed lawyer under the Québec Bar in 2020.

Ever since law school, I’ve developed a strong interest in LegalTech, and specifically in how it could be profitable to improve access to justice. I have consequently led and collaborated in different initiatives in that sense, notably by integrating legal-tech solutions to our student legal clinic.

Today, I’ve incorporated that interest into my practice as a business lawyer. I’m practicing in a multidisciplinary and technology advanced firm, combining lawyers, accountants and HR professionals, whose mission is to innovate professional services for smaller and fast-paced-growing businesses. As part of the new generation of lawyers, I’m always rethinking the way our profession delivers legal services, to be more accessible and efficient.

What is your document automation experience?

I’ve had hands-on experience with Documate for over a year now. As a full-time lawyer and now an intrapreneur leading the automation project within my current firm, my role is to automate the firm’s templates and processes in accordance with the priorities and needs of the legal department. Therefore, I’ve worked on automating the following documents:

  • Multiple corporate packages in both French and English: organizational packages, annual packages, issuance of shares, shares transfers, director’s changes
  • Shareholder’s agreement : 40-50 pages shareholder agreements, including different scenarios, automatic calculations for cap tables and a lot of conditional logic.
  •  Formal notice letter (debt collection)

What areas of law or documents do you have experience in?

I’m a junior lawyer, whose practice is mainly oriented on corporate and commercial law for start-ups and ”young” entrepreneurs. I have experience with a good range corporate and commercial documents agreements including :

  • Corporate reorganizations
  • Shareholders (and stock restrictions) agreements;
  • Client-services contracts in different industries;
  • Employment or Free-lancers contracts;
  • Licensing agreements and privacy policies (for tech companies)
  • Supply/distribution and IP licensing agreements (in the context of an internship in a large pharmaceutical company)

Can you describe your process for how you build a document automation workflow?

  • (1) Identifying the client’s need and scope of the project : I would make sure to discuss the following points with the client before starting the project
    • What: what are the documents, why are they used for, what is the value of these documents for the client, and how often are they used?
    • For whom: who will be using the automation process: paralegals, students, lawyers, external clients? Who are we building the automated workflow for?
    • Expected result: What are the common pains in the current process that we are targeting with the automation? Do we want to automate to cover the only most frequent scenario or do we want to have most scenarios/exceptions covered? What are the expectations regarding the formatting? 
  • (2) Processing the client’s templates and / or precedents : I would suggest going through the different templates or precedents with the client so that I can
    • Identify all the variables that needs to be collected to generate the document
    • Understand the different scenarios that can affect the workflow
  • (3) Build the questionnaire : I would develop the questionnaire based on the different expected scenarios and variables and submit to the client for approval and comments
  • (4) Code the documents: for longer or more complex documents, I would separate the project into smaller and manageable testing blocks so I can submit each completed block to the client for testing, and adjust progressively as we go.

What do you think are the most important qualities for a document automation specialist to have when working with a client to automate their templates and forms?

  •  Good listener and attentive to the client’s specific needs: it is essential to understand the client’s situation properly to avoid applying a one-size-fits-all solution and instead to be able to adapt our approach to the client to develop the best solution for its case.
  •  Creative and solution-oriented: thinking outside the box when facing an obstacle or a challenge is a game changer in my opinion – it’s the best way to come-up with new ideas/solutions that can provide a significant added-value for the client.
  •  Diligent and meticulous – when coding, we must be aware of the fact that the workflows we build will be used to generate a large volume of the same documents, so one single mistake can have a widespread effect that would be compromising for the client. We must be detail-oriented, and test (multiple times!) all the different scenarios to prevent any errors in the generated documents.

What is your proudest moment?

My swearing-in and admission to the Quebec Bar as a lawyer. As a second-generation immigrant, I consider that the access to the education I’ve had and to this amazing profession rests on countless sacrifices from my family. I’ll never take for granted how privileged I am to be able to practice a profession that I’m so passionate about.   

What do you do for fun?

I’m always keen to try something new : exploring new places, try new hiking trails, visit the newest exhibitions, introduce myself to new hobbies, and I’m also a big fan of last-minute/spontaneous getaways and travels.

Want to hire Anja-Sara Lahady as your document automation specialist?

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