Ontra Saves Sentinel Capital Partners 1,200 Hours Per Year by Automating NDA Process

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80%

reduction in time spent per NDA

1,200

hours saved annually on routine contract reviews

600+

NDAs automated for the firm per year

“No one else could meet the needs of our business model, especially at scale. It felt like Ontra was in a class of one. Other companies were pushing AI tools that were under-developed and still required a lot of manual work, and external law firms were far too expensive and in a constant state of turnover.”
Vincent Taurassi | General Counsel & CCO

 

Challenge: Lean legal team at growing firm struggles with high volume of NDAs

Private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners sees a consistent deal flow and typically handles 600 to 1,000 NDAs per year – each of which can take multiple hours to manually review and negotiate. Despite the growing volume of contracts, the firm’s legal team has remained lean, comprising only three in-house lawyers. Historically, Sentinel’s entry-level investment professional associates marked up NDAs, relying on a loose playbook drafted by an external law firm, but a lack of oversight created the potential for errors and inconsistencies.

When Vincent Taurassi joined the team as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer in 2015, he immediately started working on a better NDA process. “[Sentinel’s NDA process] wasn’t something I could take over myself — I’m only one person, and we review too many NDAs. So, I revamped our playbook and instituted a more robust training program for the associates. When they first started, I trained them and reviewed their documents until they felt comfortable doing it themselves,” he recalled.

This training and review program worked for a few years but was ultimately unsustainable, requiring a significant time investment from Taurassi. In addition, repetitive NDA reviews were time-consuming and took investment professional associates away from doing deal work for the firm. In 2018, the firm’s managing partners tasked Taurassi with finding a cost-effective solution to handle the firm’s growing workload of routine contracts.

 

Solution: Ontra automates NDAs, slashes Sentinel’s legal workload by half

After a thorough vetting process, Taurassi concluded that Ontra’s AI-powered Contract Automation platform “was the perfect solution” based on its affordability, cutting-edge technology, and global network of highly-trained lawyers who can handle documents promptly.

When Sentinel partnered with Ontra in 2018, Taurassi emphasized, “No one else could meet the needs of our business model, especially at scale. It felt like Ontra was in a class of one. Other companies were pushing AI tools that were under-developed and still required a lot of manual work, and external law firms were far too expensive and in a constant state of turnover.”

Onboarding was seamless: Ontra translated Sentinel’s existing NDA playbook into a standardized format and then worked with the firm’s legal team to understand their needs and workflows. Taurassi now spends significantly less time overseeing Contract Automation, training associates, and reviewing their NDA work. Leaving negotiations to Ontra’s seasoned legal network gives Taurassi the peace of mind he was looking for.

Ontra’s AI-powered contract negotiation solution streamlined Sentinel’s NDA process, and the quality of the work done by Ontra’s legal network continues to meet Taurassi’s high standards.

Ontra automated the vast majority of Sentinel’s NDAs, requiring zero intervention from Taurassi’s team. The remaining few that did require the team’s attention were flagged automatically via timely email notifications, and required just 15-30 minutes for their team to weigh in on any questions. Email notifications ensured Sentinel’s busy legal department didn’t have to review every single contract. With all the time they save, the team can focus on the most impactful work without worrying that something will fall through the cracks.

“When you’re an in-house lawyer, there’s a ton of workflow — things you don’t anticipate that come in on a day-to-day basis that need to be turned around quickly. Ontra cuts down on that ‘underbrush’ work that takes me away from strategic thinking and executing on bigger decisions,” Taurassi shared.

Contract Automation also centralizes the storage of Sentinel’s NDAs, allowing the firm’s legal team to quickly check the status of contracts and review the terms of executed documents without the need for emails or manual tracking. To summarize Ontra’s benefits, Taurassi used these three words: “Efficiency, consistency, and reliability.”

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