Last week, at CLOC Vegas 2019, we partnered with Jo Vong, Legal Operations Manager at Branch, to deliver a product demo of Blueprint, our walk-up usable, no-code workflow builder. Jo stole the show, delivering a thoughtful, compelling presentation on both the Ironclad platform and her broader legal ops philosophy.
We followed up with Jo to learn more about her journey from law firm to tech company, why she chose to focus on legal ops, and how she and her team use Ironclad to streamline contract processing across the business.
Hi, Jo! You were at a law firm prior to managing legal operations at Branch. Can you tell us a bit about your career path?
If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought Legal Operations was in my career trajectory, I’d tell you “No.” I actually didn’t ever think I was going to be in the legal profession. When I was younger, I planned on being a doctor. As an undergraduate, I realized that medicine wasn’t for me. I changed my major to political science and decided to explore a career in law.
I viewed law school as a huge financial investment and wasn’t sure if it was the right decision for me, so I decided to join Munger, Tolles & Olson as a case clerk/litigation analyst. I wanted to get a feel for what the legal environment was like before making a decision on law school. From Day 1, I was curious, and always asking questions about our processes. Why do we do things this way? Why don’t we try another approach? Over 7 years, my role and my questions evolved. I was promoted to a litigation support specialist and started asking questions like: What tools and technology are you using? Why did you structure your database that way?
How did your work at a law firm lead you to Branch?
What I enjoyed most at the law firm was the technical side of legal work, leveraging technology to work smarter. Helping teams achieve e-discovery goals, managing and supporting cases were areas I was comfortable in. I knew I wasn't going to law school, but I wanted to find a role where I could build smart processes to make legal work more efficient. When a former colleague of mine, who is now Head of Legal at Branch, reached out and asked me if I wanted to help scale legal operations here, I couldn't say no. It's been seven months and I’m loving it.
Do you have any career advice for people looking to enter the Legal Operations field?
I’d say one of the most important things is making adjustments throughout your career and evaluating opportunities as they come. When I was younger, I thought career paths were clear-cut, but making adjustments and staying curious throughout has helped me get where I am.
What was the state of legal operations at Branch when you first started?
Everything happened through email! Version control of documents—I wouldn’t call it version control, I’d call it version exchange—was happening through email. We had an email alias with thousands of email requests. That system made it really difficult to track what requests were coming in and what documents were going out.
The old way of doing things also made something as simple as finding a contract difficult. Say you’ve sent out a contract to three different teams for review—Billing, Legal, and Security, for example. Each team is going to go back and forth on the contract and you’ll end up with email threads that are a few dozen emails long. Later on, when you want to find the most recent version of a contract, you might spend an hour looking for the right document or emailing someone to make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of an agreement.
How is Branch using Ironclad to streamline its workflows?
We’re rolling out Ironclad in phases, starting with features and capabilities that drive high-volume contracts and building custom workflows on top of that foundation.
- Accelerating high-volume, high-value contracts. We chose heavily used contracts first: NDAs, MSAs, and DPAs. We did that strategically because those are normally the types of contracts that would drive deals and can be routed in the same way each time. The goal was to create a streamlined, repeatable, and self serving process.
- Implementing self-service capabilities, backed by Salesforce. The Sales teams are heavy contract users. Ironclad will really help us from a self-service perspective: reps can kick off contract requests by clicking a button in Salesforce.
- Configuring custom workflows to match our changing contract needs. We’re also using Blueprint, Ironclad’s self-serve tool. The main draw of it is that it gives us the flexibility to create and edit our workflows. So if we need to modify the types of metadata we are using and the routing for approvals, we can do that with a few clicks.
Branch provides the leading cross-platform linking and attribution platform, offering solutions that unify user experience and measurement across devices and channels. Branch powers mobile links and cross-platform measurement to more than 3 billion monthly users across the globe, and is a trusted cross-platform marketing, engagement and measurement solution for over 50,000 apps — including Foursquare, BuzzFeed, Yelp, OfferUp, and many more.