Product news

Is Sideline only for lawyers?

June 4, 2024


Daniel Yim

A photo of fish biscuits. One biscuit is set apart, and on a different coloured background, from a group of others.

Sideline solves the problem of how to show edits made to a colleague’s draft email. We market the solution specifically to law firms that work in teams and do relatively bespoke, complex work.

Many people point out this is not a problem limited to law firms.

Consultants, sales teams, customer support, tax advisers, bankers, engineers and many other workers all write important emails that need internal review or sign-off before they are sent to the intended recipient. And if you think your organisation has a need for Sideline and would like to trial it, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re not aware of anything in the way Sideline works that would prevent it from being used in any particular industry.

So why then do we target law firms?

There are a few reasons:

  • Lawyers write a lot of emails. It’s often said that lawyers live in Word and Outlook (in no particular order). There is also an increasing client preference for lawyers to deliver their work in an email format where possible, and reserve Word/PDF attachments only for where the work cannot be condensed into an email.
  • Lawyers are extremely fussy with wording, and for good reason. In legal practice, the exact wording is critical not just for substantive accuracy, but also in order to successfully achieve the overall objective of the email, whether that is to persuade, reassure, intimidate or inform.
  • Law firms tend to operate in hierarchical teams where the most junior resource does the first draft, settles it with somebody a bit more senior, who then settles it with someone again a bit more senior, with the process repeating all the way up to the partner. Part of this has to do with the strong tradition of mentorship within the legal profession, and part of this is the practical reality that partners have a regulatory obligation to supervise all of the work produced by their team.
  • Law firms invest heavily in training. This has been the situation for a long time and there’s no reason to think it will reduce in the future. The internal development and promotion of lawyers is critical to a law firm’s business model.

In addition, I have a legal background myself, having worked as a lawyer and legal innovation consultant for over 10 years in Australia and the UK, and therefore it makes sense for me to continue working in this space.

You can therefore see the focus on law firms is mainly to do with who has the most acute pain when it comes to marking up emails, and who stands to gain the most value by paying for a solution.

This also explains why Sideline is an Outlook plug-in, rather than Gmail, since 99% of law firms use Outlook as their email client.

We’d be more than happy to chat further about any of this. You can get in touch here.

Share this article

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation and analyse site usage. View our Privacy Policy for more information.