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Syneos Health Case Study

February 24 2020 by Jodie Baker

Megan Isaacson, Legal Operations Manager at Syneos Health, needed a saner approach to Legal Intake & Triage. She wanted to save her lawyers administrative time and hassle while improving service and turnaround time for the company’s business clients. Xakia’s intake tool brought a win-win solution for both sides.


A publicly traded biopharmaceutical solutions company, Syneos Health seeks to “shorten the distance from lab to life” by synchronizing clinical and commercial operations. It brings together talent, technology and the advantages of scale to accelerate its customers’ delivery of important therapies to patients.

The company’s mid-size legal team has members located throughout four continents. Some operate from Syneos Health offices; others work from home.


Using a do-it-yourself solution, the legal team had created shared email accounts and directed business clients to submit requests there.

This approach was problematic for many reasons:

  • One unit appointed a team member to serve as the administrator of the email account to monitor queries and assign projects. If he got too busy, the account could go unwatched. Requests – and response time – piled up.
  • Another unit allowed multiple people to work within their email account. That made it difficult to track what had been read, replied to or addressed.
  • The flexible nature of the email accounts led to requests with incomplete information or questions that didn’t actually warrant Legal Department involvement. Colorful examples included:
    • business clients who would forward email threads from their phones or copy the email account mid-discussion, creating significant “reply all” traffic and mysteries to solve;
    • an email forwarded with documents attached and “See below” without clear instructions.

All told, Megan described the system as “a black hole” that was “painful across the board.”

In addition to the logistical challenges, Megan saw the system as a threat to the team’s strategic goal of hiring and retaining talented and skilled attorneys.

“We want the best of the best working for us,” she said. “Having really intelligent, skilled strategic thinkers doing administrative tasks or trying to figure out the heads or tails of an email chain is not a good use of their time.”


Once she decided to prioritize Legal Intake & Triage, Megan researched and demoed several legal operations tools. She ultimately selected Xakia.

“The real differentiator for us was the intake component and the ability to have dashboards and metrics,” she said. “Xakia was really the only out-of-the-box solution that offered both of those things.”

“I liked that it was user-friendly. I could be the administrator and build and change things as needed. Change is very constant in our industry, and not having to rely on IT support or help desk tickets was huge for us.”

Megan created intake forms to collect the necessary information depending on the type of request, such as a contract review. Business clients were given links to submit requests and offered training sessions to ease the transition.

“We focused on this message: it may feel like more work upfront to submit a Xakia ticket, but you’re guaranteed to get a response, and your request is visible to the entire legal team – you will receive faster service from Legal.”


Syneos Health turned off the mailboxes – “a big day,” Megan said – and redirected senders to Xakia.

Through Xakia, business clients now get immediate confirmation their request was received and will be addressed. The legal team is liberated from messy email management, and now starts each project with full context.

“We used to get an email about a master service agreement, which would require 10 follow-up emails because we had incomplete information,” she said. “Now, with all the information populated on our legal intake form, and the ability to attach the document, we can hit the ground running.”

As business needs evolve, Megan can create new forms for new types of requests, ensuring the correct information and instructions are received every time.

“We’re more intentional in what we ask for now,” she said. “We would never go back.”

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