An Interview with Robert Klamser, Co-Founder and President at UpShot Services, LLC.
In 2010, DocuSign’s Chief Legal Counsel Ken Moyle rallied support to gain congressional recognition of the Electronic Signatures in Global National Commerce (ESIGN) Act that was signed into law by President Clinton on June 30th 2000.
Today, we commemorate the breadth of opportunity businesses enjoy as a result of streamlined, efficient and paperless digital tools.
To mark the occasion, we’ve interviewed Robert Klamser, co-founder and President of UpShot Services LLC (“UpShot”), for a glance into how digital tools innovate the legal industry.
Robert is a digital trend-setter. He recently shared with us how he introduced a fresh approach to legal bankruptcy proceedings with Digital Transaction Management (DTM). By integrating DocuSign into his practice, Robert exemplifies how DTM is streamlining bankruptcy claims & balloting and improving the process for all participants involved.
What made you decide to use DocuSign?
UpShot acts as an agent of the Bankruptcy Court primarily in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings. Specifically, creditors are allowed to file a claim against the bankrupt entity directly with UpShot, thus relieving the US Bankruptcy Court system of a significant administrative burden. Furthermore, prior to the introduction of UpShot’s electronic claims filing system, the entire claims filing process was paper-based. In today’s mega-cases, this creates large amounts of complex data that must be manually digitized. Technical limitations and a lack of applicable precedent resulted in an industry reliance on physical paper and manual data entry of these claims. Creditors were not permitted to submit any type of electronic claims, even scanned PDFs.
Electronic signature naturally resonated with me and my partner, a former bankruptcy lawyer. In a paper-laden practice within the legal industry, we knew it was vital to digitize such a critical part of the corporate restructuring process. Paper is inefficient and is quickly becoming obsolete. That’s why our business model is tailored to the new digital future of claims management.
When it came to integrating the right tool, DocuSign aligned with our core competency of digital data management for Chapter 11 bankruptcies. Through DTM, we securely power electronic signing within the claims management process.
How do you envision DocuSign impacting the future of the legal profession?
As soon as we rolled out DTM, we saw competitors follow up and attempt to offer similar services. However, their remedy for the digital divide was electronic filing, which is simply filling in fields and submitting forms online. We remain the only company utilizing electronic signatures to ensure each claim is legally binding and carries the same legal standing as a physical document. Creditors risk disallowance of their claim if it is not properly signed and DocuSign’s legally authenticated signing platform provides that assurance, which in turn comforts legal professionals and encourages further digital adoption.
Can you share a story about how DocuSign made a positive impact on your clients or your business?
Our recent case, Pitt Penn Holding Company, Inc., serves as an exemplary showcase for digital tools.
Prior to the conclusion of the case, creditors must complete a ballot indicating their acceptance or rejection of the proposed Plan of Reorganization (the “Plan”). The Plan is basically the roadmap for how the company intends to emerge from bankruptcy protection. Balloting is the final, critical piece of a successful reorganization. It is also a time-sensitive process with strict deadlines.
In a traditional setting, all ballots must be signed on paper, received by a specific deadline and the results are manually tabulated. However, we carved a legal precedence for digital processes by permitting any ballot to be completed, signed and submitted electronically.
Our digital strategy achieved tremendous success on many levels. Electronic filing is a boon for last-minute responders, providing creditors the maximum time to review the Plan without the worry or cost of mailing their ballots. The results were available to the attorneys in real-time without the cost of manual tabulation. In the Pitt Penn case, the industry’s first to allow electronic ballot submission, 85% of ballots representing 99% of the dollar value of claims were completed digitally. In addition to the added convenience and accuracy of electronic ballots, the operational costs to the debtor associated with ballot processing was reduced by almost 95%!
We’re proud to attribute this case’s success to DTM’s efficiency, expediency and respect for internal resources.
What are the key business areas where DTM has added value?
DTM seamlessly makes the claims and balloting process more efficient and reduces costs to debtors without requiring additional effort from the attorneys managing the case. Technological advances such, as UpShot’s electronic claims & balloting, allow lawyers to focus on guiding a company through Chapter 11 without worrying about lost, inaccurate or slow paper-based processes.
Now as the Courts steadily embrace digital processes, we’re looking for more opportunities to improve efficiency through technology. In the particular legal instance of bankruptcy claims and balloting, digital solutions directly promote efficiency and ease. With DocuSign, we’re storming through the legal industry’s hidebound attachment to paper in order to align with our digital business ecosystem.
Our sincere thanks to Robert for sharing his insights and for raising the digital bar!
Please click here to learn more about digital solutions for the legal industry. We look forward to connecting your legal business with digital success.