Contract automation: your business case

Contract automation (creating your contract with document assembly) solves many of your legal department’s problems if it’s extremely user-friendly:

Minimise 3 weeks of waiting to 2 hours (or less)…

You probably recognise the problem:

  • Where your work is commoditised or standardised: your (internal) client requested a contract and needs to include a special clause …and you do not have the time now to ask your colleagues for a sample clause, to search your model contracts for it, and to sit down and tailor it to the request. You perceive the contract request as a job that will take a number of hours. Such request may easily survive in your inbox for two or three weeks.
  • Where your work is bespoke: you need to draft a complex agreement, and from your model Word-document, it still takes considerable time to tailor it to what is needed. A large part of the contractual framework, however, is copy-pasting from examples and model contracts, and could have been standardised.

Minimising your response time. Because drafting routine contracts and more complex contracts requires much less time with automated contract creation, the response time of a legal department minimises. Business performance improves. There is an efficient involvement of stakeholders (whether that is the client for a law firm or ‘the business’ providing input). Providing a ‘simple’ first draft business contract does not take weeks.

Standardising also complex contracts. The Weagree Wizard can automate all types of contracts and documentation. It can create both routine contracts (e.g. NDA’s, supply or purchase agreements, distribution or agency agreements, licences, powers of attorney, shareholder resolutions, notarial documents, as well as employment contracts), and large, complex contracts (e.g. SPA’s, JV Agreements, loans, credit facilities, prospectuses and all kinds of IP and ICT licenses).

70 to 90 percent faster contract creation…

Every year, even simple contracts still take a lot of time:

  • chasing your colleagues for the required transaction details,
  • filling in the data (probably copying them from CRM, ERP, related (master) agreements, the e-mail or spreadsheet from your client, etc.),
  • deleting inapplicable contract clauses,
  • checking cross-references,
  • making sure all schedules and annexes are inserted and referred to.

Many will perceive this as ‘secretarial work’ and no lawyer likes this type of ‘project management’. If you assess this further, you may see that altogether, every year, this consumes substantial time. Between 180-320 hours per lawyer.

Time saving and improved productivity. In most contexts, the time required to create a first draft contract can be reduced by up to 70 to 90 (!) percent. Likewise, the productivity of legal counsel improves significantly. This time-saving may go up to 180 to 320 hours per lawyer per year. External support can thus be minimised (e.g. interim lawyers, local counsel).

For law firms, creating a complex agreement, such as a share purchase agreement (SPA), a credit facility (LMA) or a shareholder agreement, can easily be done 120 times faster. Substantial parts of such agreements are standard. Once automated, further-automation is easy, because contract creation software does not care about your Word-document becoming unworkably filled with options.

No hidden costs…

For your core business process, contracts and contracting, you want to stay on top. It is our ambition that you can upgrade your model contracts yourself – without involving others. Template-upgrading work must therefore be simple, without much training.

‘No coding skills required’. Our competitors tell you that ‘no programming’ is required. How do you define ‘programming’ and how much time does it cost you learn this not-to-program?

You don’t want to sink your valuable model contracts and model clauses into a contract creation application for which:

  • you need to train and instruct extra people?
  • you need to find those extra people, and they are hard to find: they must have both contracting experience and a bit of coding skills.
  • admin training is taking more than a few hours?
  • each time you need to start up (“how did I not-code it?“)
  • you have to train another administrator every year because the work is so annoying that everyone ran away (keep such person motivated)?
  • which makes maintenance of your contract templates more complicated or even annoying, because you can’t quickly modify them yourself?
  • which means that even small changes or adding an extra contract templates or Q&A depends on the availability of that special person.

Why not Weagree? Does Weagree bring better news? Yes. Because we did not start with legacy technology. Because the Weagree Wizard has automated the coding blocks, making it a (highly visual) game of puzzling your contract together. You need special people: those who enjoy making a puzzle and who have a passion for language (writing a good questionnaire and good model contracts).

Weagree admin training is awareness training. Weagree administrator training takes only 3 hours (for millenials) to 9 hours (for baby boomers). No skills needed, but if you like puzzling, that helps; and if you know what contracting practice asks, that’s perfect. No special people. No installation on your laptop: everything is web-based. You can do the administrator training by yourself: everything you need to know is in our admin tutorial video’s (30 short videos of together 38 minutes to get you started, and altogether 2:10 hours).

Template insertion is highly scalable and intuitive: it’s fun. The administrator function for inserting or modifying an automated contract template is entirely intuitive: admin training is awareness training. Weagree has automated the programming elements for setting up your Q&A and the outline of your template is highly visualised: everyone can find their way to the template, without preparatory reading or remembering how it was set up initially. And yes, we managed to keep it user-friendly: simple and intuitive.

Low quality of contracts costs time and money…

Improved quality of contracts. Introducing the Weagree Wizard serves as a catalyst for upgrading model contracts (so top class model contracts are not a precondition to introducing legal document automation or contract assembly). With the Weagree Wizard, all model contracts and contract building blocks and clauses are managed from one central location. This contributes to a higher quality of all contracts.

Noise in your contract…

Why is this clause inserted? it does not apply to our case!” You have probably heard the other party saying it. Here is your problem: you are unsure whether or not it applies, and if you ask your colleague next to you, he or she will probably confirm, to facilitate deal closure but unaware of the nuance in the clause.

If, in your template contract, you would flag every contract clause as ‘optional’ (and explain in which cases it can be deleted) or how it may be amended, your Word-document would become unworkable. Some clauses are included because – if applicable – you need them, and most people do not object.

A computer, our contract assembly software, does not care about ‘a contract becoming unworkable’: your challenge of drafting model contracts should not be about selecting what is worth reflecting (finding the common denominator) but about whether an extra Q&A-question is desirable (optimising the generated contract for 95 percent, instead of for 50-60 percent only).

Shortening the transaction cycle. A contract that is circulated promptly, contributes to momentum of a transaction. As a result of a smart Q&A, a first draft contract will not contain superfluous contract clauses. Also, because (i) the productivity of legal counsel improves, (ii) the response time of the legal department minimises, and (iii) the quality of a first draft contract improves, the finalisation of a business transaction requires less drafting time and less negotiation cycles. Negotiation issues are clear from the outset. A shortened transaction cycle is the result.

Transactions that are not covered by a contract…

…and you can only suspect that this is the case. You do not ‘know’. In the business, your usual suspects tell you that general terms and conditions apply. …or the business used that ‘template’ which you tailored for them a long time ago.

Compliance with contracting requirements. Because the Weagree Wizard is much faster than copy-paste and search-replace drafting and because contracts will be more to-the-point, people are inclined to create their contracts via the Wizard. Moreover, if a legal department’s response time and performance level are excellent, business managers will be inclined to adhere to contracting requirements. In other words, if legal counsel performs professionally, business managers would less often seek to avoid the legal department.

Furthermore, routine contract drafting work can be delegated to the business (where desired, subject to prior legal approval before release of the contract). Finally, risks of errors or omissions in a contract are minimised.

Everyone use their own contract templates and sample contracts…

…Even in the business: many of them may have given up asking the legal department. They have their personal versions of your previously drafted contract template. …Except that those were for a specific context. …Except that the law has changed or you have improved the model contract.

Optimised contract know-how management. The Weagree Wizard is a powerful solution for managing contract know-how. Thanks to the database-technology on which it is built, all model contracts, contract building blocks and the clause library are not only managed centrally, they are also better searchable and accessible (through categorisation, keywords and assignment of ‘know-how ownership’ of clauses). Moreover, the Wizard facilitates an effective handing over of model contracts from generation to generation of lawyers.

Does anyone have a complete overview of pending contracts?

Workflow and status monitoring. The Weagree Wizard contains a workflow, which (i) keeps track of contract approval status, (ii) prevents that business opportunities fade out because of lack of responsiveness in the business process, and (iii) structures standard processes in a standardised manner. The workflow shows the actual status of all contracting work-in-progress. Senior management gains real time insight into all transactions (and other activities) by their business groups and units. Separate reporting by business managers can be reduced.

IT systems are not very user-friendly and some part of the work is just not nice…

User-friendly: happier people. The Weagree Wizard is simple and very easy to use (no training is required). The Q&A is intuitive. The Wizard requires no major process redesign.

For detailed information, including as regards technology, see the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section or contact us. We have created a demo video, which gives you a first impression of Weagree’s contract creation application.