All we are saying is give junior attorneys a chance . . . to practice doing due diligence

All we are saying is give junior attorneys a chance . . . to practice doing due diligence

February 08, 2021

We're excited to announce the release of our new Doing Due Diligence course, which teaches junior attorneys how to do the "blocking and tackling" of reviewing target documents and capturing key data points in a diligence matrix (or "chart," "table," "form"—whichever is your preferred nomenclature). In this course, learners navigate a mock data room, choosing a document to review and completing a series of interactive exercises to fill out a diligence matrix row for each document.

Top law firms asked for practical, interactive diligence training.

We've built a product development pipeline that starts with our advisory boards. We listened to the needs and wants of the law firm professional development leaders and lawyers on our advisory boards.

An Opportunity

From this discovery and discussion, we learned that some law firms had historically pulled together mock data rooms, scrubbing documents from prior deals and building hypothetical facts patterns. These firms found these to be effective training programs, but they often would go years in between offering them due to the effort involved in pulling together the materials and administering the program, along with the ever-present competing demands on the time of the attorneys the firm needed for the program.

A Solution

It became clear where we should next set our next sights: a due diligence "sandbox" that gave junior associates practical guidance and instruction and, most importantly, a chance to practice doing the work in a way that felt authentic to the real experience, with the added benefit of feedback at every step of the way.

So we built our Doing Due Diligence offering to take all that off the plate of the firm and its attorneys, while preserving the flexibility to customize the offering to use a different fact pattern, different documents, or a different diligence chart, for those firms who so desire.

We incorporated law firms throughout the design process to make sure it hit the mark.

We collaborated with our advisory boards and their firms to gather feedback throughout the entire design process.

We started with mapping out a curriculum and collecting input on that outline.

From there, we focused in on what we understood to be skills and tasks that were often undertrained and commonly encountered and for which Praktio was well suited.

For new features we'd need to build (e.g., a data room), we designed mockups and solicited feedback from the firm attorneys who were willing to meet with us.

We then built the smallest version of the course and piloted this with BigLaw junior attorneys. We used that feedback to refine the flow of activities in the course experience. We also became increasingly confident we were onto something, as firms passed along comments from their testing lawyers like:

"I was very impressed! This would have been incredibly useful to me as training."

Based on all that, we proposed to our partnering firms what a first commercial version of the course would involve. This validated that this would be sufficiently useful for them that it'd be worth purchasing. With "yes" responses in hand, we proceeded to build out the balance of the proposed course.

This course immerses junior associates in a practical due diligence simulation.

Those of us who were junior corporate attorneys likely experienced being called onto a deal and asked to start doing diligence review of a target company's contracts in an online data room. We likely wondered, "What should I look for, and how should I usefully report that in the diligence matrix?" This course removes the mystery from doing diligence review of target contracts, giving learners guidance and practice doing this work so they're sure-footed heading into the real deal.

The learner begins by walking field by field through a sample diligence matrix.

Along the way, we explain pitfalls to avoid, and best practices to adopt, when summarizing items from a target contract in the chart. We also show the learner how and where to find these data points in a target contract.

The learner works in a data room to choose a document to review.

The learner receives notes from a hypothetical meeting with a partner bringing them onto the deal team and starts doing diligence review of the documents thus far populated in a mock online data room.

For each document, the learner completes each field in a diligence matrix.

Through this immersive simulation, the learner gets a chance to do several "reps," receiving feedback on every choice for every field for every document. By the end, the learner has developed some comfort and fluency with doing this work.

Want to take it for a spin?

Let us know what you think! If you're interested, Contact Us, we're happy set up trial access, put on a demo, discuss customization options, and otherwise explore this with you and your firm.

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