Seyfarth Shaw has launched a new software platform built on Salesforce to manage and automate aspects of its immigration practice, adding momentum to the trend of Big Law firms using technology to make their workflows more efficient.
The firm’s new immigration tool, Caribou, was two years in the making and will allow companies to track, manage, and collaborate with Seyfarth lawyers as they bring foreign nationals through the immigration process to work in the U.S.
Developers at Seyfarth Labs, the firm’s innovation arm, built customized aspects of the program on top of Salesforce. It was the firm’s first time working with the mainstream customer relationship management company, which Big Law has rarely tapped in the past.
Change among Big Law firms remains relatively slow and happens in fits and starts, but more firms are building tech-enabled workflow products that lower the cost of delivering legal advice or make information more readily available to clients.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s legal automation subsidiary has developed tools that allow clients to create legal documents without personally interacting with lawyers. Seyfarth’s Caribou tool is designed to make more efficient the way the firm’s lawyers work and interact with clients, Seyfarth Chair Emeritus Stephen Poor said in an interview.
“Firms are trying to use automation to augment the power of people, and that’s exactly what this does: It augments the power of people so they can handle more sophisticated matters,” Poor said.
Seyfarth has a history of being focused on efficiency since it became one of the first and relatively few firms to adopt a version of the process improvement principles known as “Six Sigma” in the wake of the late 2000s financial crisis.
Caribou includes document automation capabilities and is integrated with the firm’s document management system. Real-time data reporting allows companies to see, for instance, what helps candidates move fastest through the system.
Jim King, co-chair of Seyfarth’s immigration practice, said the firm handles immigration programs for clients that include up to 5,000 foreign nationals. When Caribou is rolled out it will impact 300 users at Seyfarth, 1,000 human resources contacts at clients, and manage workflows for around 20,000 foreign nationals, King said.
“Clients increasingly want a positive user experience when they engage with their law firms,” he said. “That user experience is critical.”