The Weagree Wizard is an online contract assembly (document automation) software application that enables a user to draft contracts by processing a powerful Q&A. All that is needed is internet access and a password. Watch the demo-video to see the powerful features of the Weagree Wizard (click here).
Modular, modular, modular. In essence, contracts are sets of text modules. Typically, a template will contain a number of template-specific clauses as well as ‘building blocks’ from the clause library (those building blocks can be re-used in other templates). The template, the building blocks and relevant Q&A elements are retrieved from the database. By processing the Q&A, the database assembles the desired contract. This modular approach, based on a database, implies a powerful contract know-how management functionality.
Clause library. The Weagree Wizard includes a powerful clause library. The clause library is particularly useful: (a) for exceptional cases not covered by the contract template, and (b) for tailoring mark-up clauses in a contract received from the other party:
The Q&A. The Wizard automatically generates a user-friendly questionnaire (Q&A). Upon completion of the questionnaire, or based upon default answers, the Weagree Wizard assembles a fully-fledged, crisp contract. The level of detail of the questionnaire may be aligned with the permitted authorisation level of certain users. The actual delivery of the contract may be made subject to prior approval by in-house counsel. If desired, the user can insert additional building blocks (and related questions will be added to the questionnaire).
Contract house style. The resulting contract is in Word or PDF format and in the organisation’s contract house style. Margins, font, paragraph indentation and numbering, headers and footers, cover page layout and other presentation settings will be as established by the customer. Changing these settings is done in one central location and takes only a few minutes. Subsequent contracts will follow the change of contract house style.
Workflow. The Weagree Wizard contains a workflow, allowing a legal department to outsource a substantial part of contract creation work to its internal clients, and to monitor everyone’s compliance. Providing access to business line managers includes the option to release the contract itself only after approval by the responsible in-house lawyer. Furthermore, the workflow enables a legal department to keep track of the status of all pending transactions. In short:
State-of-the-art software application. Like most of today’s software applications, the Wizard is web-based (internet accessible). This means that updating software and model contracts is effectuated centrally.
Templates and Q&A
General structure. In the Weagree Wizard, contracts are created along the lines of a template. The templates identify contract building blocks, which consist of contract clauses. The contract clauses, in turn, evoke the inclusion of required defined terms (definitions) and trigger questions, which are processed by means of an (automatically generated) questionnaire. Questions will normally have a default answer and an explanation, and may offer alternatives or editable fields. The administrator can easily insert all types of questions into building blocks (by the click of just one or two buttons).
Q&A: related, interdependent or conditional questions. In the questionnaire, users need not deal with the same issue twice. Often, answers affect other answers. For example, in case of a distributorship, a central question would be whether the contract is to be ‘exclusive’, ‘sole’ or ‘non-exclusive’ and as a consequence various contract provisions will be excluded, or included in one way or another. The Weagree Wizard supports such ‘conditionality’ of Q&A-elements and related contract clauses.
Q&A: no text-stuffed screens. Q&A-questions may contain a brief explanation, a guidance note or a possible alternative answer. Such explanation appears as a small info-icon ‘i’ alongside the Q&A-question. These explanations are clearly marked next to the Q&A-question. They are not stuffing the screen with text. When answering the same Q&A for a third or fourth time, text may disturb or distract attention. After all, the WYSIWYG-underwater-screen shows the contract text in real time.
Defined terms (definitions). The defined terms used in the clauses will automatically be collected in one contract article (or schedule). The Weagree Wizard will alphabetically order the definitions, and will list recurring defined terms only once. No definition can appear if it is not used.
Clause numbering and cross-references. Articles and sections number automatically. Cross-references (e.g. “Notwithstanding Article 5”) are automatically adjustable as well. This means that if a contract clause is inserted, during the building process or later on, all clauses and cross-references will automatically renumber.
High quality templates. Initially, the Weagree Wizard will be equipped with a set of contract templates. Customers will be free to use or modify them as they desire. Also the clause library includes standard form clauses such as ‘term and termination’, ‘notices’, ‘confidentiality’, ‘miscellaneous’ and ‘dispute resolution’ building blocks.
User-related functionality and access rights
Types of users. The main users are of course those who create a contract. The Wizard distinguishes two main groups of users: legal counsel and business line managers – full users and light users. The former group is granted broader authorisation, such as clause library access and workflow approval rights. The latter group may be restricted in the number of contracts they can create, or the level of detail of Q&A-options they may see and answer during the questionnaire.
Two examples: (1) a choice-of-law question might be filtered out for non-lawyers; (2) an answer option Other… in a list of pre-defined options, permitting the user to provide a tailored answer, might be filtered out for business support managers.
User authorisations and approval rights. Users can be structured hierarchically, so that members of one group of users (e.g. in-house counsel) have approval rights affecting other groups of users (e.g. business line managers). Approval rights can be reverted to colleagues (e.g. during leave or holidays). Also, users such as general counsel or senior management, may receive monitoring rights over the approval processes.
Template access restrictions. Templates must be allocated to groups, and users can be assigned to those groups. Three examples: (1) attorneys working in a corporate (M&A) department cannot access the contract know-how of the banking practice; (2) clients of a law firm are granted access to a select set of templates, whereas the law firm’s fee earners are granted broader access, and (3) the NDA’s are made available company-wide, whereas procurement-related contracts are accessible by the purchasing employees and legal counsel only, and the legal department’s core contracts are inaccessible to all non-lawyers.
Administrator. The administrator (usually a user with specific authorisation) is responsible for granting user access rights and organising templates. Organising templates means that the administrator can create, modify or delete templates, building blocks, contract clauses, definitions and all related Q&A-elements.
Note that the administrator role does not require – as opposed to competitive solutions – any notable computer skills or programming talent (quite on the contrary!). If desired, Weagree can provide administrator services. Although entering templates into the Weagree Wizard is straight-forward, there is a clear manual as well.
Weagree’s licentie kent drie gebruikerstypen en hanteert twee licentiemodellen.
Drie gebruikerstypen. We onderscheiden drie typen gebruikers:
Full users: de juristen en ervaren contractmanagers. Full users kunnen alles wat een light user ook kan, hebben bovendien toegang tot de clause library en ze kunnen tijdens een Q&A de contractentekst al meteen aanpassen en ad hoc clausules uit de clause library in het contract invoegen. Ook kunnen full users templates creëren of aanpassen.
Light users: Gebruikers in de business, zoals van afdelingen Inkoop, Verkoop, intellectuele eigendom, HR, Treasury en Shared services. Light users ‘consumeren’ de templates die hen ter beschikking zijn gesteld (zij doorlopen de Q&A en genereren, al dan niet na goedkeuring, een contract in Word of pdf).
Super light users: hebben toegang tot maximaal twee templates en hebben verder dezelfde rechten als light users.
Twee licentiemodellen. Weagree heeft twee licentiemodellen:
SAAS: Weagree draagt zorg voor een werkende contractcreatieapplicatie in een ‘secure’ datacentrum. Software updates en upgrades worden meteen geïmplementeerd.
Perpetual licentie: de licentie wordt initieel volledig afgekocht. De jaarlijkse kosten voor maintenance & support en hosting zijn optioneel en worden vooruitbetaald. Alle bug fixes en updates van nieuwe of verbeterde functionaliteiten zijn onderdeel van de maintenance & support.
Maintenance & Support. Bij een perpetual licentie is maintenance & support van de Weagree Wizard (nieuwe functionaliteiten, oplossing browser-incompatibiliteiten en bug fixes) optioneel, jaarlijks vooruit te betalen (18 procent van de alsdan geldende perpetual licentieprijzen). Bij een SAAS-licentie is dit inbegrepen in de licentieprijs.
Hosting. Weagree levert hosting via een hoogwaardig, extern datacentrum in Nederland, dat ISO 27001 en ISO 9001 is gecertificeerd. De hosting is optioneel. In de jaarlijkse kosten van de SAAS-licentie is hosting inbegrepen; desgewenst kan dit uit de licentieprijs gehaald worden. Bij een perpetual licentie worden deze kosten apart gefactureerd. Als een licentienemer zelf de hosting verzorgt, gelden mogelijk implementatiekosten.
III. Weagree Wizard (technology) compared to competition
Overview of key differences
User-friendliness. What distinguishes Weagree from competitors is its highly user-friendly interface: the application looks simple and is easy to use for both lawyers and business people. This applies to both the creation of a contract and to tweaking the underlying contract templates and Q&A-options. You don’t need an administrator with both computer programming skills and insight into legal practicalities. Although knowledge of the practical aspects of contracting is helpful, Weagree will assist in this as well.
Extensive experience. Weagree was one of the first contract assembly providers worldwide. We have extensive experience with ordinary-course-of-business contracts. Our customers will not only benefit from our experience, but also be safeguarded from experimenting with relatively new players (e.g. law firms, software providers).
Unique proposition. Weagree’s proposition can be compared to competition:
High quality templates included. In contrast with most competitors, various templates are already included in the Weagree Wizard. This makes it easy to re-use components for your own templates or even to amend templates provided by Weagree. You are free to add, amend and delete these templates as you deem fit your own business.
A superior technology platform vs. Word-integrated solutions
Word-integrated vs. database-based. In assessing competitive solutions, it is crucial to understand the fundamental difference between the possible platforms and the underlying technology. The choices for the platform and the technology determine whether a contract assembly solution can be both successful and sustainable.
Selecting a Word-integrated solution may seem to provide a familiar working environment but it considerably limits contract know-how management capabilities and introduces the need to use computer language in a model contract. There are two conceivable platforms:
1. Word-integrated. The vast majority of (inferior) solutions is integrated in MS Word. Central to the functioning of these contract assembly applications is the model contract as reflected in one single Word-document. A characteristic of this platform is that an administrator must insert some sort of programming language into or underneath the contract text. This means that you need an administrator with both computer programming skills and insight in the relevant legal issues.
Word-integrated solutions provide no contract knowhow management functionality, make the maintenance of model contracts more complicated and burdensome, do not reuse recurring contract building blocks, do not have a clause library (or at best one with poor functionality), and have limited contract house style flexibility.
Future development of a Word-integrated solution critically depends on Word (e.g. what will future cloud solutions of Word permit?). Moreover, many features of Word-integrated platforms remain problematic: document corruption, clause numbering and indentation, cross-reference functionalities, section breaks, tables, bookmarks, user comments and positioning of pictures.
2. Weagree’s technology: database-based. Superior contract assembly platforms are built on a database. A database setup permits the reuse of contract building blocks, the use of a clause library, centralised contract-house-style management, superior interfacing with external applications (DMS, CRM, ERP, CLM, workflow). A characteristic of this platform is that an administrator must insert the contract clauses into the database and tag the spots where Q&A-questions are triggered or plain language is to be inserted.
Inherent to a database-based solution is that it offers the most powerful tooling for contract know-how management: a maximum reuse of contract clauses, a searchable clause library, and inherent filtering, categorisation and search functionality.
 Understandably, because until 2003, Microsoft kept its Word-document format secret. All Word-documents had to be created from within Word; creating a proper Word-document from a database was impossible. After approx. 2005, Word-documents could be created from outside MS Office by calling the Word ‘DLL-libraries’. Only since the open-document format was adopted, external platforms became eligible as a contract assembly platform.
MS DOS vs. Windows. Many people will remember MS DOS, the text-oriented way of using a PC. When you made a typo, the PC did nothing or gave an error. In Windows (or iOS) you do not need to enter a command: when you click on something, it does what you expect it to do. This is how the Weagree Wizard compares to Word-integrated solutions.
If you make a typo in the Weagree Wizard, it will show up as a typo during the Q&A or in the generated contract. Instead, if you make a typo in a Word-integrated solution, hopefully a debugging and compiling process will bring up an error, otherwise neither the Q&A nor the contract will deliver any of the related text.
Object-based. Inserting a template in the Weagree Wizard is largely a ‘visual act’, see the screenshot below. The ‘rule-based’ inclusion of clauses, selection of options and insertion of data are dealt with outside the perception of the administrator. An administrator of the Weagree Wizard is not bothered with programming variables and commands, but works with a manageable, intuitive toolset of building blocks, the content of which are either contract clauses, contractual phrases or words to be inserted, or Q&A-elements that will become visible during the Q&A.
“Programming skills not required” That’s what many of Weagree’s competitors say. Reality is that if their document automation solution is Word-integrated, inserting programming language can hardly be avoided. If the administrator tooling is not object-based, programming (or coding) is impossible to avoid. Some competitors say that for their solution “no coding skills are required” because there are also long-standing providers of document generation that are proud of their advanced programming language.
This ‘object-based’ configuration may seem to limit the Weagree Wizard’s capabilities. However, with Weagree’s focus on user-friendliness, advanced features needed in any given contract are available, but introduced in a highly intuitive manner. The administrator role can therefore be assigned to several persons, one for copy-pasting the templates and one for formulating or adjusting questions, answer options and other elements of the Q&A. If a typo needs to be removed (or a Q&A element be changed), every person with Weagree administrator training can accomplish this.
Automation and contract know-how management. Working with a programming language makes maintenance of model contracts more burdensome. In an advanced Word-integrated application inserting ‘programming language’ in the contract text adds two extra steps (i.e. debugging, compiling and uploading). Because the Weagree Wizard is object-based, such ‘programming’ is almost absent. No burdensome debugging and compiling steps are necessary. You can verify your changes real time, in a parallel browser session.
Weagree’s strengths by reference to weaknesses of other solutions
Weaknesses in competitive products. Competitors’ contract assembly products of the Weagree Wizard often contain considerable weaknesses:
1. No contract knowhow management. If the model contracts are not inserted into a database, very limited or no knowhow-management functionality exists. Also, no consistency amongst model contracts is reinforced by the system (poor model contracts work equally well). A database permits countless search, filter, categorisation and other data management features: it is know-how management by its very nature. The Weagree Wizard is built on a database.
2. No reuse of contract building blocks. Not to be underestimated: if a particular clause appears in several model contracts, it must be inserted (i.e. typed in repeatedly) into each of the automated Word-documents. Also related Q&A-elements must be repeated each time. This is highly labour intensive, a cause for incomplete template updates or corrections and error-sensitive. The Weagree Wizard contains a powerful clause library that avoids all this ‘double work’.
4. No (or poor) clause library. This is inherent to a Word-integrated platform: a clause library, if any, would consist of individual documents containing one clause; the Weagree Wizard contains a database of clauses with powerful search, filter and categorisation functionality. Obviously, you can add your own.
5. Dependence on MS Word (and on future Word-versions.)
6. Little focus on user-friendliness. The user interfaces of many competitive solutions are poorly developed. Poor user-friendliness frustrates the change management required for implementing contract assembly in the work processes. In the Weagree Wizard, you can modify all text labels, but not the ‘user interaction design’: we engaged professional designers for this, and do not allow lawyers to redo their work (but you may apply your own ‘look & feel’).
7. Poor ‘underwater’ screen. A ‘WYSIWYG underwater screen’, in which during the Q&A the resulting contract text appears, gives a user a strong sense of being ‘in control’ of the contract creation process. Experienced Weagree Wizard users indicate that absence or limited performance is a disadvantage.
8. Contract house-style is typically managed on a per-template basis, not from one location in the database. This means that even a minor change of your house style (e.g. font size, indentations or numbering style) requires that all templates must be updated individually. In the Weagree Wizard this is managed on one place, and takes only one or two minutes.
IV. Your business case for the Weagree Wizard
Quick overview of Weagree’s business proposition
In short, the business case for implementing Weagree’s contract assembly solution entails:
(a) productivity improvements and business efficiency:
reduces time required to draft a tailor-made contract
accelerates a legal counsel’s response time
(b) quality improvement of the model contracts (and of signed contracts)
(c) compliance and operational risk management:
minimizes risk of errors in first draft contracts
improves compliance with corporate contracting requirements (with short response times, business managers are more inclined to formalise business transactions)
(d) shortened transaction cycle (accelerated contracting process), in particular as a result of: (i) reduced legal counsel’s response time, (ii) higher quality contracts, and (iii) more to-the-point contracts (as a result of an effective Q&A)
(e) contract knowhow management:
anchors individual counsel’s knowhow (model contract clauses) in the organization (knowhow will remain available from generation-to-generation)
catalyses a legal department’s contract upgrading efforts
(f) management control and workflow functionality
Strategy sessions to quantify your business case
Are you experiencing difficulties in justifying the business case for introducing contract assembly into your organisation? Weagree has developed an assessment model enabling an organisation to establish in a fairly precise manner the potential benefits, by quantifying the status quo.
Contact Weagree to see if such a strategy session is something for your organisation.
The user’s user-friendliness
Weagree has always considered user-friendliness to be more than a qualifier: it is a key characteristic, facilitating contract automation to the maximum extent possible. To us, user-friendliness means: no training required for users, brief training required for administrators, attractiveness of contract automation, and pleasure in the job. To our customers, user-friendliness means (a) less change-management challenges, and (b) ease of inserting or modifying templates and questionnaires.
“User-friendliness“ defined. We are so dedicated to improving user-friendliness that we know fairly well what it entails (and we are never really sure). For the user “user-friendliness” means:
1. Simple and attractive: no introduction training needed, pleasant to work with, facilitating a radical change-management challenge.
2. A sense of being in control over the contract:
(a) the ‘underwater screen’ takes away any distrust (you can see your contract text simultaneously);
(b) it is at all times clear how long the Q&A will continue (and those who know the template, can immediately move to the relevant clauses);
(c) the Weagree Wizard is not a maze (two clicks to the Q&A, one click to the home page or elsewhere).
3. Only seeing what is relevant:
(a) Q&A-questions are ordered logically and conveniently;
(b) an ‘underwater screen’ (compare WordPerfect 5.1), showing the effects of a Q&A-question in real time;
(c) no screen-filling explanations (which are relevant only the first time, and therefore arranged under a clear info icon);
(d) a my contracts page with previously generated contracts;
(e) based on authorisation level:
on a conveniently arranged new contracts page: only templates of the groups to which the user is granted access are visible;
within those groups: only selected templates;
within the Q&A: only selected Q&A questions.
But also, what is relevant is presented in a well organised manner: the lawyer/administrator cannot redesign the designer’s work.
4. Maximum flexibility:
(a) a user can at all times leave the Q&A and easily resume the work at a later stage;
(b) previous Q&A answers can be adjusted easily at all times (e.g. converting a one-seller SPA into a multi-seller SPA takes a few seconds);
(c) a previous Q&A result can be reused when creating another contract (e.g. closing documentation, auction documents).
Flexibility does not mean that a lawyer/administrator can adjust the Q&A presentation style or the ‘interaction design’. We engaged professional designers for this.
Smart interaction and a sense of being in control. The Weagree Wizard is simple and easy to use. The user ‘interaction design’ (i.e. how a user interacts with the Wizard) was designed together with experienced in-house counsel. The Wizard gives the user a strong sense of control over the processes of creating and managing contracts. The user keeps an excellent overview during all stages of the contract drafting process. During the Q&A, a navigation bar not only indicates the user’s progress in drafting a contract, but also enables jumping back and forth through the steps of the questionnaire.
Intuitive setup. The user interface of the Wizard was developed by (interaction) design professionals in such a way that even the clumsiest of lawyers could work with it. The questionnaire has an intuitive user interface, which provides explanatory notes and default answers to each question. Going through the questions is a matter of answering and clicking ‘next’ or ‘generate contract’.
No training required. Our customers will receive an introduction to how the Weagree Wizard works and to the features of the Wizard. End-users need no training, except that the possibilities and use of the clause library may need to be brought to their attention.
The administrator’s user-friendliness
For the administrator “user-friendliness” means:
1. You don’t need to be a computer programmer: a paralegal or professional support lawyer who is good with computers can do the work, and can simply teach colleagues. Our ambition is that (almost) every user becomes capable of inserting new templates.
2. An excellent Manual. Weagree provides a straightforward and practical manual for the administrator.
3. Hardly any training required. To start autonomously (inserting increasingly complex templates), requires two to three training sessions (altogether 7-10 hours).
4. Contract-house-style management is simple and centralised. The contract-house-styles for all templates are managed from one central place. An adjustment of the look & feel of all contracts takes a few minutes (and not many months).
Manual and helpdesk. There is a practical manual, but it is only for administrators. Obviously, Weagree provides helpdesk support to solve any complications.
V. Connectivity, hosting, IT security and technical aspects
Connectivity with external applications
The Weagree Wizard is built on a database: not only the contract clauses but also the Q&A questions and answers are collected and managed by a database. This makes data management and connectivity with external applications a basic feature. The Weagree Wizard can be connected to:
– Customer relationship management solutions (CRM)
– Contract lifecycle management (CLM) systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions
– A document management system (DMS) for delivering the generated contract
– Workflow (approval) solutions
– Public resources provisioning company registration details, individual personal registration data and real property rights
– User provisioning, identification and authentication (SAML 1.1 or 2.0)
SAP, Salesforce, Effacts etc. The connectivity with external applications can be multi-sourced (i.e. data imported from more than one external source) and multi-targeting (i.e. data or documents exported to more than one external target solution). Basically, the Weagree Wizard can easily be interfaced (via a web-service or otherwise) with solutions such as Sharepoint, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, iManage, Workshare, Effacts, as well as document management applications. Contact Weagree to hear if off-the-shelf plugins or connectivity solutions required by your firm are available.
Ad hoc imports. Individual users are able to import company data (e.g. their client’s companies’ details in the frame of an M&A or financing transaction) from an Excel spreadsheet.
Hosting provided by Weagree, or at your own servers
The Weagree Wizard is web-based. Therefore, it can be installed in Weagree’s highly secure datacentre, as well as on your firm’s own servers. If Weagree provides hosting, a separate database and a separate application portal are set up: contract templates and data of a customer are exclusively accessible by users authorised under the license of that customer. Accordingly, data inserted by users are shielded from third parties (and, depending on the workflow setup and any customisation of the database structure, even shielded from other users).
For questions about the security of Weagree’s datacentre, see “Security” in this FAQ-section (under this item V. Implementation).
IT security of Weagree’s hosting services
General. The security of the servers on which the Weagree Wizard operates, as well as the security of the data the Weagree Wizard generates and stores, is of utmost importance to us.
Highest IT security standards. Weagree aims at providing IT hosting services at the highest available standards. Weagree continuously improves its hosting services both in terms of technology and data security and protection. The hosting services provided by Weagree comply with the following standards:
(a) The hosting provider contracted by Weagree is a premier datacentre:
– all datacentres operated by it are located in the European Union area
– provides high-availability server configurations, redundant network connection, power supplies and network infrastructure ensuring minimum disruption
– provides regular server maintenance outside office hours (currently, weekly on Tuesdays between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m. CET)
– provides 24/7/365 server monitoring, event detection and alerting, with first class incident response times and corrective handling
– is ISO 27001 and ISO 9000 certified (and anyhow under a generally recognised standard of equal security and process management)
– implemented and monitored a state-of-the-art firewall and anti-virus software continuously protecting the network and preventing unauthorised access
(b) A customer’s data are securely separated from other data.
(c) Online connection with the Weagree Wizard is routed (or rerouted) through the SSL (https) data communication protocol (or higher).
(d) User identification and authentication is provided through up-to-date Active Directory (AD) and Internet Information Server (IIS) technology as provided by Microsoft from time to time. A customer may implement any other technology; SAML 1.1 and SAML 2.0 are supported.
(e) Password storage is fully encrypted. Password complexity and password expiry can be provided as desired (subject to Weagree’s minimum requirements).
(f) Both the database used by the Weagree Wizard and the Weagree Wizard itself are installed on two separate (virtual) servers. The database files are separate and not shared with other customers of Weagree (or Weagree itself).
(g) Except to the extent AkzoNobel instructed otherwise, data inserted by users of a customer and contracts generated by them with the Weagree Wizard are backed up in accordance with generally accepted practices.
(h) Access to servers other than through the Weagree Wizard is possible only by secured, dedicated, individualised means and only permitted to persons who have a clear need to access the customer’s data (e.g. delivery of bug fixes, update releases or software upgrades, reproducing any error or establishing whether any reported error or malfunctioning was caused by or relates to the Weagree Wizard).
(i) Weagree employees:
– have been positively screened for criminal record and confidentiality breaches
– have an employment agreement with suitable confidentiality provisions (including as regards any trade secrets and inside information)
– are notified of and trained in their duties of confidentiality
– have unique access credentials (IDs and passwords)
– follow suitable incident management procedures if access credentials or keys are lost
Technical characteristics of the Weagree Wizard:
– Cloud-based (secure, internet accessible, no local installations on laptop or PC)
– Built entirely on a database (SQL Server 2008 R2 and higher are supported)
– Support of all languages (incl. Chinese, Cyrillic/Russian, Arabic)
V. Other drafting services
Upgrading model contracts
An important aspect of accelerated contract drafting is effective standardization. Standardization is a matter of developing or upgrading (building blocks of) model contracts and making smart choices in providing for options. Upgrading model contracts has two aspects: first, it is quality step-up into best practice contracting. Second, upgrading your contracts entails a process of further improvement. Weagree has broad experience with both.
Drafting excellence. Weagree upgrades model contracts in accordance with clear and consistent best practice drafting principles. The drafting principles can be found here. Weagree can assemble new model contracts out of sets of negotiated transaction precedents, and scrutinize and mark up existing models and precedents. In co-operation with the customer, we will address all company and industry-specific matters.
LinkedIn group Drafting contracts. Weagree operates a niche LinkedIn group, Drafting contracts, highly focused on contract drafting. The group grows by some 1,000 new members every month (in August 2014, over 12,500 individuals had joined the group). Discussion topics relate to:
1. Sharing model contract clauses
2. Best practices of drafting clear and unambiguous contract clauses
3. The use of ‘legalese’ or archaic contract language
4. Why or when to use certain contract language
5. Legal or practical impact of certain contract clauses
6. Comparative (contract) law enquiries
7. Cross-border contracting and negotiating
8. Checklists for contracts
9. (How to) cooperate on model contracts
10. The look & feel of a contract
In the LinkedIn group, you are unlikely to find information on job inquiries, contributions mainly aiming at the sale of a product or (legal) service, or personal advertisements.
If you are a legal professional and wish to join in discussions or observe comments from all over the world click here, log in into LinkedIn and press the Join button on the group’s information page.
A two-step approach. Of course, fundamental policy choices on model contracts can be concentrated in one or two plenary review session. However, the result may well be too rigid for day-to-day practice. You might prefer to prioritise pragmatically: first address the truly important aspects of your model contracts and then fine-tune the discussions. Weagree may assist you with a first upgrade. We recognize that model contracts are subject to differing (but valid) opinions of the lawyers involved. Weagree does not interfere in differing opinions (although we may challenge them to achieve an optimal result). This two-step approach towards ongoing review may be helpful for many companies.
Upgrading advice. Ideally, upgrading model contracts and model clauses is a more fundamental and an ongoing process. Weagree can advise customers how they can set up upgrading processes and manage this effectively, and how pitfalls of such process can be avoided. Also, Weagree provides the related contract drafting services. For more information about upgrading model contracts see item ‘Ten steps to a successful upgrade of your model contracts’.
High quality templates included. The Weagree Wizard contains a library of precedents that can contribute to customers own best practice documents.
Contract drafting courses and in-company training
Effective contracts. Being able to draft effective contracts is a valuable skill. An effective contract serves the (business) purposes behind it and addresses only those subjects that matter. Clear and precise contract language and consistency are important to prevent misinterpretation or disputes.
Courses. Weagree offers in-company courses for junior and senior legal counsel. The courses can be designed to suit the particular needs of the customer. They may address general principles of contract drafting, best contract drafting practices and the do’s and don’ts in international style contract drafting. Also, courses may be individualised, focusing on contracts prepared by the individual participants and accordingly address their individual needs.