Precisely was founded in 2014 by Swedish lawyer Nils-Erik Jansson, as a direct result of seeing too many peers drown in low-level administrative tasks tied to contract management. Providing a user-friendly platform for the whole contract lifecycle, teams can create and manage compliant contracts, enabling everyone handling contracts to be more self-sufficient, while keeping within the legal department’s pre-set guidelines. Precisely’s contract lifecycle management platform is available in Dutch, and seven additional languages.
This article has been written by Heather Jonasson (Content Manager at Precisely).
Over the past year, the pandemic has caused many workplaces to re-evaluate their strategies and how they do business. For the legal industry, there have been some challenges. However, most of these challenges have been in the form of virtual hearings and online mediation. In other areas of the law, processes have been quickly advancing. Namely, online contract management systems.
A recent article from Bloomberg shows that 80% of lawyers report an increasing need in technology solutions due to the pandemic. Some companies had already adopted contracting software before the past year, but many are just discovering the opportunities to transform their legal workflow.
Legal teams in a variety of workplaces are embracing automated contracting, not only because of the circumstance of employees and clients temporarily located in different geographies, but also because of the need for improved productivity. Performance is a major driving factor in any organization, and with online contracting platforms offering a range of solutions from creation to execution of contracts, companies are jumping onboard. Digital contracting is the new standard.
For example, with many standardized contracts and NDAs, the contract automation process enables anyone in a company to produce contracts and bring them to negotiation and signing. Of course, this was extremely valuable when many legal departments were working from home last year, as being self-sufficient on routine contracts eliminated the need to wait for approvals and responses. So much valuable time is then available for legal departments, allowing them to concentrate on more strategically important legal matters. Today’s automated contracting platforms are not only easy-to-use, they keep everyone in the loop by centralizing the process.
Using digital tools to remain relevant
While attending the Nordic Legal Tech Day conference held in Stockholm this October, the topic of legal challenges was brought up. According to the latest EY CEO Imperative Study, the main challenges in the legal industry remain the same, i.e. the increased level of regulation and complexity of business. The key leadership challenges with focusing on doing more with less and attracting/maintaining talent.
However, the survey does show some opportunities. Namely, that location is no longer such an important issue. And of course, digitization is increasing at a rapid pace due to the challenging work conditions of Covid-19. It has become more important to find digital tools during this time to remain relevant and maintain business relationships.
When it comes to long-term effects from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is thought that there will be less traveling and more use of legal tech tools.
A.I. improves performance
A.I. in legal contract automation software has been talked about for a number of years, but recently we’ve gotten to the point where the software has been developed more with legal accuracy in mind. The way A.I. improves performance is in the way it processes advanced data analytics. Basically, contracts are now made smarter as data patterns are extracted instantly from pages of legal information. Possible savings and unseen risks are now identified. Reminders for contract milestones are registered automatically, ensuring no contract is forgotten or misplaced. Best of all, clause violations are monitored and flagged as well as noncompliance.
Increased security in a centralized platform
In the practice of law, it is necessary to share files and information, but at the same time, most of these documents must be fully protected. Luckily, digital solutions are improving security with regard to client information.
Practices of file sharing through email may seem quicker than postal or courier sending of documents, but it is certainly not the most secure. Remote working environments have increased the need for safe file sharing solutions, confidential communications and circulating contracts for signatures.
Having a management system for the entire contract lifecycle all in one place has not only sped up the process, but is also much more secure than previous methods. With these document automation systems, set permissions can be assigned to prevent unwanted changes to contracts as well as which parties are allowed to comment. Setting different administrative levels for each user guarantees that only authorized personnel can adjust terms.
The benefits of e-signing
One solution that many legal offices have adapted, even if they have not yet employed an all-in-one management system, is e-signing. If we look at e-signing from a security standpoint, the benefits add up quickly. Not only does e-signing give a comprehensive transaction trail between the signing parties, the transaction log uses hashing technology to protect it from tampering. A complete transaction history that is timestamped and tracked also ensures legality.
In addition, e-signing has been highly adopted during a period of being unable to meet in person. Contracts can be sent, signed and returned in minutes, no matter the location of the parties. Traditional signing methods look to be on their way out as e-signing looks to be the smarter option.
Don’t fall behind
The future of legal tech is being shaped with inventiveness and creativity. Advanced machine learning is processing routine tasks, opening up countless hours of time for lawyers to focus on more specific matters. Clients expect more streamlined processes and will no longer have the patience for delays when other organizations have more accessible and time-saving solutions. Firms and teams that adopt the technology available are the ones who will benefit, while others are left behind.
We are on our way to making routine, basic processes a thing of the past, leaving legal departments to concentrate on more appealing and challenging tasks. The legal tech field has only grown and innovated faster than ever over the past year and both companies and clients are taking note.
New to the concept of Legal Tech? Check out our Beginner’s Guide here.