Where we are supporting contracts that are based on the client’s standard terms we often introduce document automation so that the business can create a tailored contract in an efficient manner and based on their business objectives. The advantages of this include both speed of production and the ability to quickly roll-out updates to the contract based on learning from our continuous improvement process. The contract is generated by the business user and then sent to the other side. The process does not normally require an initial legal review as the document automation technology ensures that the contract meets the client’s requirements.
If we are supporting a contract based on the other side’s paper or having received the mark-up back from the other side, there is usually an initial call with the client team to ensure that the objectives of the transaction and the commercial nuances are clear.
The first draft or initial markup is reviewed by one of our lawyers, supported by a playbook of pre-agreed acceptable fall-back positions that we maintain for the client to ensure consistent standards and to speed up the time to close contracts. Any new learning is captured at that stage in the playbook (and potentially the contract template where agreed), so issues only need to be raised once. The response is sent back to the other side and where points remain outstanding, there will be further calls involving experienced lawyers to negotiate the final issues to closing.
The contract is then finalised, signed (ideally using esignatures, which we support for a number of clients) and then any relevant data from the contract can be extracted in standard format for uploading into the client’s contract management system.
The entire process is managed through Flow, our workflow system, which allows clients to track, through a live dashboard, the key metrics for the process (such as time to close) but also drill into the details for any particular matter. We can also build specific reports to identify relevant activities such as continuous improvement.