What is an API and How Can Legal Teams Use One?

You may not be a software developer, but you have probably eaten at a restaurant. An application programming interface (otherwise known as an API), is like a server. You sit down at your table, and your server comes over to take your order. A little while later, the server brings your order to you. Similarly, a software developer can use an API to access data from another application. 

An API is a piece of software code that lets one application access data from another one. A well done API makes it easy for developers to connect two or more platforms to share data between them for various purposes. 

A popular example of the power of APIs can be found in an application like Uber. When you open Uber, you see a map with your location. Developing and maintaining an up-to-date map of a city takes lots of work, and lots of people. You need to monitor every street, building and town. You need a fleet of cars to drive around to take measurements and pictures. This is a daunting task - so daunting, that Google employs over 7,000 people to contribute to their Google Maps app. 

Because of Google’s API, Uber didn’t have to hire 7,000+ people to launch their app. The Google Maps API allows Uber developers to connect the map to their application, allowing information to be quickly pulled and represented. This means Uber was able to save time and resources needed to build a critical part of their application. 

But what about the legal industry?

Legal professionals may not need the Google Maps API to coordinate rides, but its valuable data can be used to automate data entry for a legal entity’s registered address (this is one of Athennian’s API’s). There are several other APIs in the legal industry that provide value. Here are a few examples of where APIs can be used in legal tech:

Save time and money with entity management software integrations 

Standard APIs from other entity management software on the market have basic usages, such as pulling reports and insights from your database. However, as legal departments become more advanced, they require more powerful integrations. Frequently, paralegal teams and stakeholders need to access several different applications with different logins for a single project. Consider a simple day-to-day process, for example: a lawyer might have to use Microsoft Teams to communicate with colleagues, Athennian to assemble documents and share information with the client, and StructureFlow to create organizational structures.

APIs help legal teams save time and money by integrating key parts of these day-to-day workflows. In the example above, the Athennian API would allow you to create triggers that notify Microsoft Teams when document updates have been made. Stakeholders can create visualizations of structures managed in Athennian and view them easily in StructureFlow, without having to recreate or re-enter any data. Integrations like this allow legal teams to find answers they need in seconds, and get more done in substantially less time. 

Athennian's API revolutionizes workflows, allowing legal teams to spend more time on higher value activities.

Let your data work for you 

Similar to the Google Maps API example above, your entity data in Athennian is infinitely more valuable if you are able to easily pull it out and apply dynamic data into other applications. When entity management software systems hold your data hostage with costly (or non-existent) means of sharing data, they bring innovative, new business opportunities to a grinding halt. 

Entity data in Athennian is up-to-date and accessible. With the Athennian API, your business can be dynamic and adaptive, and make decisions quicker. This brings even more value to your company’s overall operations since data can be repurposed and utilized in more places than one.

In current entity management systems, entity data is stagnant and siloed, and can depreciate rapidly. An API can revolutionize workflows so that legal teams can spend more time on higher value activities. 

Become more data driven 

Data-driven decision making - in both law and business - is becoming exponentially more important. Legal teams rely on data to inform strategy, improve business development, understand results, price projects, and more. 

When your data is interoperable and flexible, it means that you can make better decisions. One example of this is through enterprise search. Enterprise search solutions enable legal departments to create one internal search application that can quickly deliver relevant information from different data repositories. With the Athennian API, you can utilize platforms like Voiceflow or ChatBot to create a chatbot that will pull data from Athennian’s database to immediately answer questions you have. This enables paralegal teams to answer questions like: ‘what tasks are outstanding related to Entity X?’,  or, ‘what is the status of Ontario articles of incorporation for Entity X?”, and get responses immediately, without spending any time searching through the database. This can be integrated into virtual assistant technologies like Amazon Alexa to immediately respond to questions via voice. 

Adrian Camara, Chief Executive Officer at Athennian, described this process, saying: “By utilizing entity data housed in Athennian and making it available to other applications, organizations can unlock new business opportunities that will accelerate innovation in the legal tech space.”

Final Thoughts…

These are just a couple examples of how innovative legal teams are using APIs to scale productivity and streamline workflows. As more legal tech providers embrace collaboration and interoperability, APIs will continue to advance. By getting started with the Athennian API first, you’ll be a step ahead in new and exciting legal tech innovation. 

Getting Started with the Athennian API 

With other entity management software platforms on the market, users have to work double to pull out the data they need, and manually input it into other platforms. This leaves room for inaccurate data, and increases risk of non-compliance. With the Athennian API model, your data isn’t held hostage. You can use your data, your way, to unlock new business opportunities and develop successful partnerships. We look forward to innovating with you!



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"Very easy to use, modern interface, excellent support. Athennian has an amazing conversion team. They helped us migrate all of our data and the training was very good."

Megan W, Director

“When we were reviewing other entity management systems on the market, in some cases, we were not comparing apples to apples. But with Athennian, there was really no comparison. The paralegals were so excited to come on board.”

Linda Escobar, Senior Paralegal

"There are so many things I like about this program, but the one thing that really stands out is the user friendly interface. The program is fast and allows me to enter corporate information very quickly and efficiently. I would also like to note that Athennian provides the most the fantastic customer service."

Kelly R, Corporate Law Clerk