Many of us start a new year with a list of personal and professional resolutions aimed at improving our lives. When we think about the many processes involved in our day-to-day work, there are any number of changes we can commit to that will make our lives better. This has a net positive impact on everything we do, including how we use our business contracts.
For legal professionals, negotiating business contracts can take up a large portion of time, but there are simple ways to streamline the process that will enable deals to close more quickly and bring greater efficiency to the contract review cycle, increasing the speed of business. The following “resolutions” can help improve your firm’s contract review process in the new year, while freeing you up to focus on higher value work.
1. Set your objectives early on
When meeting with a new client, it can be easy to jump to the deal you already know you want to make, which can create more problems later in the contract review process during negotiations. In your first discussions with the client, it is important to make the objectives of both parties clear, so you can take that knowledge into the first draft of the contract. Basics such as the parties involved, timing of the project and cost can seem like easy information to plug into a contract, but if general parameters are not discussed up front, the negotiation process can take longer than necessary.
2. Standardize and create a legal playbook
With a playbook, there is less room for error, while also speeding up cycle time. Although a playbook is more effort up-front, once in place, it ensures that the organization’s legal and business interests are served, reducing risk. A legal playbook also offers higher data security by keeping personal details from previous contracts out of new contracts. While ensuring personal details are removed from new contracts, important transaction details are preserved to keep each contract ready to move on to negotiations. Online legal contract playbooks are easy to set up and help to maintain consistency across contracts.
3. Make templates for your most used contracts
Creating standardized contracts for agreements your business often encounters can ease a lot of the hassle of drafting a contract. These templates help with contract lifecycle management, or CLM. Contracts go through a few different phases during development and negotiations, and it can be difficult to keep it all straight if you are working on multiple contracts at the same time. Rather than drafting a new contract for each deal, you can start with a template and easily jump into the contract lifecycle.
4. Learn to recognize the “blank spaces”
While you cannot always anticipate everything a business contract might need to cover, learning how to identify some of the main areas that are often omitted will improve your process. Make sure you are asking the right questions, such as “What happens if payment is delayed?”, or “How will the contract hold up in this situation?” to see if there are obvious points that have been left out.
5. Consider AI-based contract review to help
AI contract review software like BlackBoiler can also help make the contract review process easier. BlackBoiler’s machine learning-based technology reviews contracts quickly and accurately, saving legal professionals and other negotiators time and money. Your legal team can start accessing the benefits of automated contract markup in minutes, either as a standalone tool, or integrated into your CLM workflow.
In addition to your other personal and professional goals for this year, your 2023 resolutions should be about improving the contract review process to free up time to focus on higher value work. BlackBoiler’s patented AI contract review software will speed up the contract review process by quickly providing accurate changes, marked up in “track changes,” just like an attorney. If you want to learn more, contact us today and request a demo.