Xakia is an in-house legal matter management software that is simple, powerful and affordable. The platform exists to make legal operations easy through matter visibility, legal intake, contract workflow, litigation management, spend & budget control, analytics, automated documents, and more. Xakia provides a single, central source of truth about the legal work being done by an in-house legal team, including workloads, tasks, deadlines and updates.
See the product demo video associated with this interview at the end of the article.
Xakia was founded in 2016 by Group CEO Jodie Baker.
Jodie was originally a lawyer, first in private practice and then in-house. After working in the legal team at Goldman Sachs in Melbourne, Australia, she jumped into the business side and became a financial analyst. She remained in that career for ten years, and credits it as being an important grounding for understanding the business and strategic context within which Legal Departments operate.
Following a stint in Kansas City, Jodie established Australia’s first virtual law firm, Hive Legal, which was the springboard to many deep conversations with in-house legal teams about their pain-points. She identified a gap in the market for in-house legal departments, particularly small teams, who had limited access to simple and affordable LegalTech tools appropriate to meet their needs.
Empowered by her firm, Jodie undertook a formal research project to delve deeper into this client need, eventually developing a prototype software solution. She received great feedback on the concept, but also a determination that the development and sale of such a solution did not belong in a law firm. Like many entrepreneurs, Jodie faced a tough fork in the road: she had to choose between her two babies – the law firm she had founded, or her LegalTech solution. She chose the latter, and Xakia was born.
What Problem Does Xakia Solve?
Through her initial research, Jodie identified three serious pain-points for legal teams.
The first pain point related to visibility, especially with regard to the question of who was working on what and for whom. While sole practitioners are able to track much of their own work inside their head, as soon as you get two people or more on a team, communication becomes critical. Providing a central location for those communications is core to Xakia, as is tracking requests and deadlines, and creating a system of record for the business.
Any legal team will recognize the issues that arise when someone in the business leaves and another team member has to rapidly pick up the work, requiring an understanding of what happened with a particular contract, litigation matter or regulatory application. Jodie understood that having a system of record that allowed for visibility both in the moment and into the past was key, and she heard from a number of teams that this pain-point could be quite extreme.
The second serious pain-point for in-house teams was the question of doing ‘more for less’. Improved productivity has been topical for more than a decade and is front of mind right now – inflation and interest rate rises put pressure on all businesses, and one way of counteracting it is through increased productivity. Doing more with same number of lawyers on the team was a key priority for legal teams particularly as work loads continue to accelerate, but Jodie realized that many of them didn’t know where to start – figuring out what work to automate was too overwhelming. Legal teams of five or more really struggled with resource allocation to achieve productivity improvements, trying to identify who within the team had the capacity and the right skillset to take on certain types of work, and what budget there was to undertake it in a way that didn’t bleed new cost.
The Xakia team soon realized that they could deliver great value simply by capturing data to show legal departments what work they were doing that was repetitive, low risk, and of low strategic value. Highlighting this as part of their everyday processes would help to inform them on where to get started on their automation journey and achieve the productivity gains they desperately needed.
The third problem Xakia set out to solve was the need for legal teams to justify their existence and show value. It’s not uncommon for stakeholders and the C-suite of a business to wonder what the legal team does. A Legal Department can seem like a black box in the organization, with people unable to understand the work that occupies legal counsel, how complex and valuable it is, and how nuanced the solutions are that are being sought and delivered. The pain point identified wasn’t just about finding the time or harnessing the data to communicate, it was a matter of translation; while the business often communicates in charts, and graphs and data, lawyers talk in words. Lawyers are taught to be “masters of beautiful words” but that’s not necessarily the best way to convey or quantify the value that they bring to an organization and its strategic goals. So, the Xakia team set out to create a system of record that would allow legal teams to easily communication their value to the business.
What are the Use Cases?
As Xakia developed, so did its list of features and the use cases it addresses. Xakia now provides for:
- Matter management for legal teams, which goes to the heart of the visibility problem;
- Legal intake, including a cleaner, clearer way of receiving work requests;
- Spend management – most solutions out there are big and heavy, but Xakia offers something that is able to be spun up quickly and allows teams to quickly and easily receive and send invoices and establish an approvals workflow;
- Contract management;
- Automation and intelligence; and
- Data analytics and dashboards, including a custom log feature that allows legal teams to track any kind of data they might usually capture in an Excel spreadsheet.
Diving deeper into some of Xakia’s capabilities, the platform provides an intake portal that allows internal business clients to submit requests to the legal team, track the progress of those requests, and otherwise communicate with the legal team. Document automation and self-serve is built into this portal and can be easily customized by legal teams, so that documents can be fully prepared by the business and submitted to the legal department for final approval where necessary. The platform tracks all requests and self-service forms, providing a system of record for the Legal Department so nothing gets lost. The data captured through this process includes whether the work is resourced within the Legal Department or outside of it, and whether it has been fully or partially automated. Resulting data will allow legal teams to easily see the volume of work within a time period, and how that work has been resourced. This workflow empowers a legal team to create reports that clearly demonstrate to business leadership that it has undertaken more work this year compared to last year, with the same resources, by automating or thoughtfully prioritizing work, thereby proving an increased value to the business year over year.
For those who need it, Xakia also includes a portal for law firms, called Xakia Connect, that provides a bridge between the Legal Department and external counsel to enable efficiencies and allow a law firm to directly submit invoices and communicate with the legal team.
What is Xakia’s Target Demographic?
Xakia’s target demographic is focused entirely on in-house counsel. Most Xakia customers are legal teams consisting of 2-20 counsel, although Xakia also counts one-person legal departments and considerably larger teams as customers.
Jodie says that when Xakia was founded, she assumed larger legal departments would be well served by the heavier platforms already available on the market. When large legal teams started coming on board, however, they realized that regardless of the size of the Legal Department, everyone is looking for the same thing – a platform that’s really easy to use. Regardless of the size of the team, visibility, improved workflow and smoother business communications remain critical.
What is the Key Value Proposition of Xakia that Differentiates it from Other Products in the Market?
The key word that Xakia uses to encapsulate its value proposition is “easy” – the platform is easy to adopt, easy to use, and easy on the budget. There is a strong philosophy underpinning the brand about making it easy and affordable, with a promise of enabling new customers to “launch before lunch”.
“You can literally be up and running in a few hours,” Jodie says “or even one hour, depending on how customers choose to jump in. No one needs a big professional service firm to implement Xakia!”
The other thing that Jodie is particularly proud of is the analytics capabilities provided by Xakia out-of-the-box. “I don’t think anyone comes even remotely close to the analytics we do.” It’s not unusual for Xakia’s customers to report back to the Xakia team that their CEO and CFO were astounded by their new ability to communicate the work and value of the legal team, validating the capability of the platform to deliver on the use case it was first built to address.