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Whenever we talk about partnerships, it always boils down to cooperation between two or more entities. Whether that’s a couple of brands, a brand and an influencer, or some other combination.

And while we might enter into these partnerships with the best of intentions and the highest of hopes… what happens when things don’t go as planned? What do we do when, say, one of the partners doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain?

That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

So, my question for you is this: why aren’t you using contracts and other legal tools as part of your partnership operations?

Is it because you don’t think you need to? It’s too hard? Too expensive? Too confusing?

What do you think might happen if you aren’t considering legal ramifications, and something does go sideways?

That’s exactly what our guest today, Colin Levy, is going to talk to us about.

Colin’s legal career focuses on the intersection of business, technology, and law, and he is a strong advocate for legal technology. He is on a mission to educate and inspire others about the endless possibilities that legal tech has to offer. He is the Director of Legal and Evangelist for Malbek, a leading Contract Lifecycle Management company, and an Advisor for Proxy, a leading legal workflow management platform, and he’s here to help us sort out how legal can be of help in this fast-paced world of technology and partnerships.

Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Colin Levy about:

♉️ What Legal Technology is & why CMOs and Partnership Leaders should care

♉️ How Legal Tech helps partnerships

♉️ What happens if we ignore Legal Tech

Learn more about Colin Levy

Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode

Full Notes & Transcript:

(Lightly edited)

Why Legal Tech Matters In Partnerships with Colin Levy

[00:00:00] Mike Allton: Whenever we talk about partnerships, it always boils down the cooperation between two or more entities, whether that’s a couple of brands, a brand, and an influencer, or some other combination. And while we might enter into these partnerships with the best of intentions and the highest of hopes, what happens when things don’t go as planned?

What do we do when say one of the partners doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

This is partnership unpacked your go-to guide to growing your business. Through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, and each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply your own business to grow exponentially.

And now the rest of today’s episode, welcome back to Partnership on P. Why. Selfishly used this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing and relationship building. Oh, and you get to learn, too, subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

So my question for you is this, why aren’t you using contracts and other legal tools as part of your partnership operations? Is it because you don’t think you need to? It’s too hard, too expensive, too confusing. What do you think might happen if you aren’t considering legal ramifications and something does go sideways?

Well, that’s exactly what our guest today, Colin Levy is gonna talk to us about. Colin’s legal career focuses on the intersection of business, technology and law, and he is a strong advocate for legal. Technology. He’s on a mission to educate and inspire others about the endless possibilities that legal tech has to offer.

He’s the director of Legal and the evangelist for Malbec, a leading contract lifecycle management company, and an advisor for proxy, a leading legal workflow management platform. And he’s here to help us sort out how legal can be of help in this fast-paced world of technology and partnerships. Hey Colin, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me. My pleasure. So glad you’re here a lot. We wanna unpack today, and first, could you just tell us more about Malbec and the work that you do there?

[00:02:29] Colin Levy: Absolutely. So at Malbeck, I am their one and only lawyer, so I do traditional legal work for them, but I also serve as their evangelists, which essentially is a fancy way of saying that I help spread the word about what we’re doing, about why contract management is important, about best practices for contract management and.

Best practices for using technology in your contract management approach. And so it’s been a lot of fun being on podcasts and webinars, writing blog posts about those topics. They’re all things that I would normally write about anyway as a legal tech advocate and someone who firmly believes in building a strong relationship between technology and the legal industry.

[00:03:15] Mike Allton: Makes complete sense. When I was first hired by Agorapulse in 2018, I was the brand evangelist and it was a very similar role. I obviously did not talk about anything legal. I was talking about social media, influencer marketing, and how Agorapulse helped in those kinds of scenarios. So, Love the role.

That’s fantastic. I know it’s a lot of fun, but what exactly is legal technology? Why are we talking about legal tech?

[00:03:39] Colin Levy: It’s a big question and a question I get asked fairly often. So the way I would define legal tech is it’s really referring to tools that are technology based that help lawyers and other legal professionals do their jobs more efficiently and more productively.

So it can range from anything from. Automating the creation of a document to automating the review of a document, to using data analytics to drive decision making around perhaps a litigation matter or just a legal research matter to managing your agreements and making. That management, be more data driven and be more proactive as opposed to reactive.

Because prior to the rise of contract management tools, managing contracts was essential. Using Excel and email to stand top of every single agreement you had, which you can imagine can get to be pretty time consuming depending on the size of your business.

[00:04:36] Mike Allton: Got it. Okay. So when I’ve used a website to send an agreement to a sponsor for one of my virtual events, I’m using Legal Tech.

Is that right?

[00:04:45] Colin Levy: You are absolutely. In fact, I would say that most legal professionals at this point are using. What could be called legal tech already, you know, word, Excel, email, DocuSign, what have you, are all elements of legal tech. Legal tech is just kind this big umbrella term that refers to tools used in the legal industry, but quite frankly, these are tools that are based off of technologies that are widely used in other industries as well. [00:05:12] Mike Allton: Got it. Okay. Very cool. Now, before we get into some pure partnership territory, I’m really curious about your take on all this AI hype today and what the legal implications might be, particularly for B2B and SaaS brands. [00:05:27] Colin Levy: Sure. So, First and foremost, artificial intelligence is here to stay and it’s thoroughly been making a lot of strides and a lot of waves lately with the rise of what is called generative ai.

That is tools that can generate documents, text, and other types of content for you, such as artwork or other types of imagery or graphics or. Audio and, and, and written content, of course. And so really AI at this point is becoming a relied upon tool for a lot of businesses to help them create content that otherwise would take a while to do.

And also it’s being used to kind of review data and. Make analysis of data that ordinarily would take a lot of time to, to do because you’d be having to analyze it yourself as opposed to being able to feed this algorithm a lot of data and, and the algorithm be able to spit back kinda an output based off of what you provided as inputs.

So I think that’s kind of the way to look at it. Artificial intelligence right now is essentially it, it’s tools that are using boatloads of data to make decisions and to drive analysis. Certainly not. Where AI can kind of make independent decisions without a lot of input, will we reach that point sooner rather than later?

Yes, we’re definitely on our way and we’re even probably closer than I am even saying right now. But that being said, most typical use cases for AI are based upon providing data to an algorithm and the algorithm then providing outputs based off of what’s asked of it on, based on that data.

[00:07:05] Mike Allton: Yeah, and that makes complete sense.

At Agorapulse, we’re releasing a feature. That takes the text somebody has already provided for a post and it, it brings that data into the algorithm and then it returns several different responses, several different options based on different tones. So you can say, Hey, I want to make my post funnier, or more professional, more dramatic.

And then we create these, these wonderful tweets and so on that follow that. So that’s that generative AI that you were talking about, but Exactly. I do see, I do see a lot of brands that are partnering. With other brands today to kind of bring AI solutions and integrations. To their users. So what should brands in these partnerships be thinking about from a legal perspective?

[00:07:49] Colin Levy: Sure. Well, I think firstly, it’s really important to consider who owns the data. Is it the AI tool or is it you? Preferably be you. And then second question is, okay, so you’re providing this data to the AI solution. You know, what is the AI solution doing with that data? How long is it being stored? Who can see that data, who can use that data even after you’re done with whatever your use case is.

So that’s another thing to consider. These questions you can find out through ways is a lawyer course. I would say terms and conditions of use for that tool. But for someone who’s not a lawyer or who frankly doesn’t wanna read through these terms, which can be a little complex or confusing to understand, simply ask the company and and say, Hey, what are your privacy policies?

What are your anticipated uses of this data? You know, do you comply with political privacy laws? Those types of questions I think are really important to ask. And also you wanna understand, you know, assuming that you are providing that it’s not just you providing data, but it’s for users providing data.

What’s the relationship between user data and this tool in your company and under that relationship really well is really important because then you can understand the legal implic AI tool using the data you storing the data and providing to, and so, I would say, uh, companies historically have used what’s called sub-process to understand and help process data.

And those sub-process basically are just other companies that partner with the company to help provide, whether it’s educational content or help to keep track of tickets for support and so on. And there are laws now that require. In many circumstances for those user companies to be made aware of these sub-process, and so you kinda wanna think about it in a similar fashion.

[00:09:45] Mike Allton: With respect to using these AI tools, have you heard of any nations or governments actually seriously considering legislation and imagining, ultimately it might look like gdpr, where we have data processors and data controllers. Identified only now, instead of it being email and personal private data, it’s about this, this big data that’s being processed by AI is, has any of that come across your desk? [00:10:12] Colin Levy: I’ve certainly seen a lot of talk about that. I haven’t seen any countries or jurisdictions take proactive action, although Italy did. I mean headlines recently for outright banning. Chat bt, which is a AI tool which has received Aly mixed response. I understand the concern there. I also think ai, its use is inevitable.

Similar rules and regulations around the use of AI and, and data fed to ai like there is currently around subprocess and data processors and controllers, and that has been a, a decently workable approach, I would say. I don’t wanna get too far into the weeds around the technicality of, of GDPR and other rules, but I certainly think that that approach seems to be what would be most applicable for the use of ai.

[00:11:03] Mike Allton: And I agree. I mean, simply banning the apps doesn’t seem like that’s gonna be very effective. What do you, what do you do when, you know chat g p t is banned into Bing or, or integrated into Bing, or integrated into, you know, any number of other tools like I, Agora Pulses, right. Are you making a list as a country and somehow banning those?

And how’s that work? What was it? Montana, I think is gonna try to ban. TikTok.

[00:11:26] Colin Levy: Yeah, there definitely have been states that have, uh, that have been trying to ban TikTok and certainly the government has been trying to ban its use by government employees. I think TikTok is kind of an interesting case because of the fact that it’s owned by China, and so the China US relationship is a little tenuous at best.

So, you know, I think there are a lot of political factors that play with respect to the use of.

That you know, the politics and the concerns is a similar issue with is just use of data and who can see that data and who can do what with that data, which ongoing concern ways.

It’s kind of like the wild, wild west right now with respect to AI and data use.

[00:12:17] Mike Allton: A hundred percent agree. It’s all about data, it’s all about trust. So what are some of the risks to brands who aren’t thinking about the ramifications of how they’re using data, how they’re passing data to subprocesses or integration tools?

What are, what are some of the risks?

[00:12:33] Colin Levy: Right. Well, I think Samsung provides a, uh, illustrative example given that they had a lot of issues with data being being fed to chat G B T, uh, that was very sensitive and confidential. So I certainly think it’s really important for companies to approach AI with eyes wide open, meaning approaching the tool and similar tools.

By understanding that it relies on data and you have to provide it data, but being cautious and judicious with the data that you provide to these tools, and on top of that, making sure that you fully understand your use cases for those tools and make those use cases very clear, not just to your internal people.

But also to the, your users as well.

[00:13:14] Mike Allton: Makes complete sense. Be transparent in what’s happening. It’s gonna cover all your bases most of the time. So when it comes to partnerships, particularly brand integrations or influencer marketing partnerships, how can legal tech help in those

situations?

[00:13:29] Colin Levy: So I think there are a lot of different ways in which legal tech can help.

For example, with automation and automation tools, a lot of. Non-legal people who need legal help can now be able to access legal services cheaper and get the same level of quality they would get from someone who they would have to pay a lot of money to, but this time at a cheaper rate because it’s automated, meaning that they just simply fill out a form and get the information they need.

I think we’ve seen some court systems take this separate approach. We’ve also seen other companies take this type of approach where they’re basically automating and providing information to users. That are that simple, easy to understand and efficient in terms of its delivery to those users. So that’s one thing.

I think another way in which Legal Tech is helping partnerships is it’s helping understand.

Better contracting choices, if you will, with respect to how to approach an ongoing customer or a new customer in terms of how you contract with them, but also in terms of how you manage their relationship with you and say you have a renewal coming up, or you have, you know, a new feature you wanna roll out to them, you can kind of see through a contract management tool, for example, the overall relationship, and then be able to use data to figure out, okay.

This customer currently uses X, Y, I want them to be using Z. Let’s, you know, have a chat with them. Or this customer keeps asking us about this, you know, let’s see what we can do about that to try to make them happier. Or this customer keeps having issues with this particular issue, with this particular function.

Let’s see what we can do about that. And so technology really is able to give you, I think, a better bird’s eye view of contractual relationships, as well as give you a more specific view of individual relationships as well. So there’s a lot of different. Ways in which I think technology can be used to help manage partnerships and grow them.

And me being someone who’s really driven by relationships and partners with others, I think that technology, you know, is really just one key part. Relationship if you’ll cause technology helps you kinda better understand the, the data underly that relationship. But at the end of the day, we’re talking about people here.

So it’s also, I think about understanding people and how they make decisions as well.

[00:15:48] Mike Allton: Love that. It also seems like it, it surfaces use cases. It surfaces questions, predicaments. Possibly even that you might not have thought through if you, if you weren’t using the tech at all or if you were just using some kind of boiler plate document and, and as an example, you know, when I’m working with influencers, it’s a fairly straightforward arrangement, whether it’s a long-term relationship or a short-term transaction.

But when we’re talking about a brand integration, now we’re talking about two different brands plus the customers of each other. That are interacting and, and what happens if one customer has an issue with my tool but their, the brand integrations customer is complexities that could be surfaced potentially, I think by some of that tech.

[00:16:33] Colin Levy: Absolutely. Yeah. There’s a lot of, I think, sort of data around customer behavior, for example, that you can get through technology. That’s, I think really important and certainly companies are making wide use of it, whether we recognize it or not, especially on the retail front, but also in other ways as well.

And certainly I think, you know, data-driven decision making in terms of looking at analytics of content and looking at behavior and reactions to that content can really help influence yours. Be more effective in terms of reaching the people they wanna reach and really connecting with them and making sure that their content is resonating with them.

And so I think technology, I see, you know, acting in a similar way with respect as well, because, You know, law firms and legal departments, I think are being able to use technology to better show their value to their internal stakeholders, but also show their value to potential new prospects as well.

Because they say, you know, users tend to be, I think, more well aware of technologies than sometimes companies are. And so, you know, say I’m looking for legal service in this firm, you know, is making sense of use of ai, I’m more likely to go to that firm than another firm cause. I want a firm that’s updated on technology making use of it.

[00:17:50] Mike Allton: That is such a perfect segue com because one of the really important trends and themes here at Agora Pulse is helping our users demonstrate their value to their boss, whether it’s the agency owner, whether it’s a client. Whatever the case might be. If you’re using social media, you need to be able to demonstrate that.

R o I. So I got a quick message for you from our CMO at Agorapulse.

It’s the Arc de Triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the C M O? Of marketing Paris, what are your main channels? Wow. There’s the arc of Triumph. There’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louv. Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in.

Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris. In fact, you’re the CMO of your company product service. So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess there are things like pay per click, maybe trade shows, events. Maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel?

By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment. HubSpot and Gartner say social media is the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it. Because you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay.

We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the tool four. Pulse tracks, all the ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as a channel one C m O to another. My name is Darryl. I’m with Agorapulse.

I’ll talk to you soon.

All right, Colin, this is fascinating and I’m hoping you can share with us maybe a couple specific examples or case studies of some brands that have used legal tech and, and the results that they accrued.

[00:19:42] Colin Levy: Yeah, so without naming names too specifically, there have been a couple customers of Malbeck that have, you know, achieved uh, high percentages of increase in productivity and in protecting and growing revenue through the use of contract management tools.

And that’s really kind of the goal of contract management tools is to really drive not just efficiency and productivity, but also grow revenue. And so there’ve been a couple customers that I, again, I can’t name, but they’re large, they’re recognizable, uh, that use our solution and have really benefited tremendously because they’ve had large legal operations, they have a lot of contracts, a lot of volume, and a lot of types of contracts.

And by using a contract management solution, they’re able to stay on top of the statuses of all those agreements, be able to track the different types of agreements that they have. Be able to track kind of the growth of those relationships as well. And so that all that stuff is really valuable for companies cause they’re able to better understand their relationships with their customers and also be able to understand how to benefit and grow those relationships as well.

And if you don’t have a contract managed solutions, really, really hard to do that because you’re doing it essentially manually through, you know, emailing people saying how. Hey, how are things going? Or you know, checking on that Excel spreadsheet that God knows what last time it was last updated on the, to see the status of a bunch of agreements.

So that’s really, I think, what contract management solutions is. Really helping build those relationships between customers and companies and really helping the contract management process itself be one that is not just illegal function, but really is a crossfunctional process involving legal, it, finance, sales, kind of all the different.

Functions that are playing a role in developing this relationship with the customer.

[00:21:42] Mike Allton: I love that you brought up the, the time saving and efficiency perspective, because at least I don’t know about the rest of of you listening, but that really resonated with me because every single quarter I’m. Putting on these massive virtual events that thousands of people show up.

And I have dozens and dozens of speakers, and dozens and dozens of brand partners and sponsors for each one of those events. And I haven’t been using a contract management system. So it sounds like if I signed up for Mal Beck, I could have a speaker agreement template set up and plug in, you know, here are my 30 speakers for this event, and it sends them out.

Their version of the contract and I’d be able to see in a dashboard where they’re at on those agreements. Did they come back? Were there questions? Have they just ignored it yet? All that stuff, right?

[00:22:29] Colin Levy: Absolutely, absolutely. And you can, you know, and you can collaborate with other people on the document and, and it’s asynchronous, meaning that regardless of what time zone someone is, they can collaborate on that same document by just logging in and working with them, the system. [00:22:45] Mike Allton: Love it. Okay, well as soon as we’re done here, I’m gonna be signing up cuz our agency summit that’s coming up in, uh, less than two months or two months from today, at least the day that we’re recording this episode. And I do not want to keep using manual documents for that. So thank you for that. That’s a huge tip for me and hopefully those of you listening.

You’re gonna think about how you could integrate a contract management system into your own processes, into your own partnerships, because that’s gonna help in so many ways, not just time savings. So finally, Colin, last question. I’m really curious as an evangelist for the technology and for up specifically, how have relationships played a role?

In your career? This is a question. I, I love asking versions of this to all my guests cuz all the answers are different and yet they all have a similarity and, and I’m curious what your answer is.

[00:23:34] Colin Levy: Sure. I mean, I would, you know, I’ll tell you flat out, I would not be where I am or have achieved the kind of things I’ve achieved and.

Been offered, the types of opportunities I’ve been offered without building relationships with other people. And it all started really for me, just being somewhat uncomfortable and unhappy with the fact that the legal industry seemed to be acting as if it was immune to the rise of technology and its impacts upon other industries.

And so I thought, well, surely I can’t be the only person who thinks this way. So that prompted me to start reaching out to other people who thought similar to me. Similar to me and really asking if I could just talk to them and learn about their work, their journeys, and those kinds of conversations, just build upon one another and really just led me to building and supporting the legal tech community that I’m really grateful to be a part of.

And I think the biggest thing I can say to anyone in terms of how to really create opportunities for yourself is build relationships with others. And that starts by reaching out to. And talking with them and really listening to their journeys and learning from those journeys and potentially even sharing those, those lessons with other.

[00:24:45] Mike Allton: Love it. Who knew we would’ve brought a legal tech evangelist onto the show and gotten such great relationship building and networking advice. Fantastic. Awesome. Kyle, this has been amazing. Thank you so much. Tell folks where to connect with you and where to learn more. [00:25:01] Colin Levy: Absolutely. Well, if you’re looking for a contract management solution, please visit malbec.io.

That’s Malbec with a, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, under my name, LinkedIn on Twitter. Also free to visit my website calling com, where I offer interviews leading legal tech leaders as well as offering other services. And I really hope to hear from you and, and I look forward to connecting with you all.

[00:25:29] Mike Allton: Sounds great. We will have all those links and more in the show notes, and that’s all we’ve got for today. Folks, please if you haven’t already, head over to Apple, drop us review, let us know what you think of the show. We would love to know what you think. See you next time.

Thank you for listening to another episode of Partnership Unpacked, hosted by Mike Alton, empowered by a Agora Pulse, the number one rated social media management solution. Which you can learn more [email protected]. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to leave us a review.

Your feedback is important to us, and if you wanna be a part of our audience during. Live broadcasts. Take a look at our [email protected] slash calendar. Until next time.



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