Contract automation – Legal tech can assist you to draft contracts more efficiently

Contract automation – Legal tech can assist you to draft contracts more efficiently
22 May 2020

What you need to know

The article touches on the challenges faced by Legal Practitioners to become more efficient and provides useful insight into what can be done to increase efficiency and still maintain accuracy.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
– Charles Darwin

The ripple effects of COVID-19 will still be felt for months or even years to come with some arguing that it will bring about permanent change in some industries.

Currently, the legal industry is under severe pressure to change their ways. Clients are looking for firms to find innovative ways of working and continuously require “more for less” from legal practitioners. This situation will not subside, and the legal profession (like many other professions) will need to adapt.

Fixed fee “value-based” pricing structures will not be enough. Legal Practitioners will need to start working more efficiently without compromising on quality. The way this can be achieved is with the use of technology.

The general approach followed by Legal Firms appears to look something like this:

  • Their template repository is made up of dated MS word documents stored somewhere on a server (or even worse on paper, stored in a filing cabinet)
  • There are multiple versions of a template floating around in the office, and no one seems to know which one is the correct or latest one
  • Document templates are amplified by copying and pasting paragraphs from old templates
  • Cross-referencing and numbering is done manually
  • Information is copied and pasted from document to document to complete the transaction pack
  • Documents take ages to sign and there has to be continuous pestering of the contract parties to get the transaction documents fully and correctly signed
  • Legal Practitioners do not get around to attend to all their diarised files and miss key dates as 90% of their day is spent on checking and reviewing documents
  • A year after the transaction documents have been signed no one seems to know where the signed documents are

Sounds familiar?

What we do

The Contracts Tech platform provides a cloud solution with a full set of tools that you need to improve efficiency and accuracy during the lifecycle of a contract. The Contracts Tech solution incorporates contract creation and automation tools, an electronic signature solution created for legal practitioners and a contract life cycle management platform.

Let us see how we can help you –

1. Our document automation and creation tool helps you get the first draft ready in no time –

With the input of various expert knowledge partners we have automated the most used commercial contracts required by Legal Practitioners.

Drafting time is significantly reduced by using the Contracts Tech document automation and creation tool. Even, for example, with a complex sale of share transaction, you will be able to get the first draft of the transaction documents out in minutes, specifically tailored to your needs.

Additional benefits include limiting human error, reducing the overall risk of mistakes and the capturing of data points that can later be used in the contract lifecycle management platform.

2. We use dynamic questionnaires to function as a checklist –

You have years of experience and knowledge, but there is always the possibility that you will miss something. Working through a dynamic questionnaire (that changes and adapts as you go along) will guide you in considering and answering applicable questions that may relate to the transaction.

The dynamic questionnaire also provides instant feedback to the Legal Practitioner. For example, if based on the information provided, the shareholders of the Seller will be required to approve the transaction, the dynamic questionnaire will notify you of this and insert the applicable condition precedent relating to the shareholder approval that must be obtained.

The dynamic questionnaire will also ensure you structure the transaction within the applicable legislative framework. For example, you want to structure a loan agreement that falls outside of the ambit of the NCA, the dynamic questionnaire will notify you (based on information provided) whether or not the lender will be required to register as a credit provider in terms of the NCA prior to the conclusion of the credit agreement.

3. Avoid bloated agreements with clauses that do not apply to the transaction –

By completing the dynamic questionnaire, only applicable clauses will be added to the document. This will, in turn, save time.

4. We make use of document packs –

Using automated document packs holds significant time-saving benefits and increases accuracy as there is no need for manual copying and pasting of information. Data is only entered once and can be incorporated into the remaining documents in the pack.

5. Let your support staff assist

Collaboration during document creation also holds key efficiency benefits. By using various team members to create, review and sign off on the data input, fee earners can focus on what matters (like getting the deal through!).

6. Use our trusted electronic signature solution

Our system knows which documents can and cannot be signed with electronic signatures. Electronic signatures are binding in South Africa and are regulated by ECTA and the common law. We foresee that these electronic signatures will become an invaluable tool in the time ahead.

Getting relevant parties to print out transaction documents, sign and scan them back can be a frustrating process. Instead, make the signing process more convenient for your clients with our easy to use electronic signature solution.

Our electronic signature solution is specifically created for Legal Practitioners. There is no need for your clients to register or to create an account and pay a subscription for service.

By using the Contracts Tech signing solution, you will be able to see exactly when the client was notified to sign the transaction documents, when the client viewed the transaction documents and when the documents were signed. The system will automatically generate follow-up emails and keep all parties up to date. Once the signing process is completed, the parties will receive the fully signed transaction document pack which can then be saved in the Contracts Tech central document repository.

7. Make use of our central contract repository with AI smart search capabilities that is combined with a contract lifecycle platform

No more spending hours searching for the contracts that you know was on your table just last week. By using AI-powered search technology, you will be able to find that contract (or even that clause) that you are looking for in no time.

Our central contract repository combined with a contract life cycle management solution will greatly reduce the risk of missing key dates. All parties contact information is captured and stored centrally, and key dates and reminders can easily be set to avoid embarrassing and awkward conversations that you may need to have with your client because you forgot to notify the other contract party that your client does not wish to proceed with the purchase because he was not happy with the DD investigation.

With the use of AI Smart Search technology, the search engine will even look for the search results in the scanned document by using optical character recognition. So no more manually paging through contracts looking for a clause that you know you inserted.

CONCLUSION

We understand data security that is why we make use of a secure server infrastructure hosted at a state-of-the-art Tier III, SSAE-16 certified data center with ISO 27001 certification.

Technology can be daunting. If you are looking for an easy to use cloud-based solution that can assist you to save time and work more efficiently, have a look at contracts.tech.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Martin Kotze
Martin Kotze

Martin Kotze holds a BCom LLB degree from the University of Pretoria and is an admitted Legal Practitioner, Conveyancer and Notary Public. He is the managing director of MJ Kotze...

De Wet de Villiers
De Wet de Villiers

De Wet de Villiers holds the BAcc.LLB degree from Stellenbosch University. De Wet joined PwC’s corporate and international tax team in Cape Town as a Tax Consultant in 2011. During...

Share


Running Your Practice articles by


Running Your Practice articles on GoLegal