Drafting contracts

(i) Step 9: Identifying approval requirements and business access

Contract automation permits a high level of delegation of contract creation to the business (or a law firm’s clients). Making the Weagree Wizard available to business managers and others within the organisation implies that also a workflow would be introduced. In such case, a company may need to establish contract approval rules as well. Such rules would require that an approval (by legal counsel) is given before entering into contracts, except if the contract is entirely based on pre-approved templates (i.e. those made available in the Wizard).

In connection with the establishment of contract approval rules, a company should categorise the various company-internal types of clients and determine which authorisations may be attributed to individuals within the categories. Categories are for example: sales department, purchasing/sourcing department, IP-department, manufacturing and planning. Also within the legal department, distinctions can be made between junior lawyers (being granted a limited freedom to modify the contracts in the Wizard) and senior lawyers (who will have the opportunity to modify all elements of the contract, but may also opt for a high level review).

Each category of users will get authorisation to access its own set of contract templates and each user category will have its own contract approvers. Normally, the contract approvers would be the legal counsel. However, each company may create its own approval structure (i.e. providing for multiple approvers or approvers for subsequent stages of the contract). A workflow of approvers should anyhow be tailored for each customer’s needs.

The workflow functionality of the Weagree Wizard is extremely powerful. It can be customised to a very high extent. Such customisation may include that transactions are initiated and assigned to particular business managers even before the other party is contacted or any contract information is available. The workflow (and internal notification function) may extend far beyond the first draft contract, to also cover post-transaction period.