Contracts are the essential record of what parties agree and yet most end up signed, filed and forgotten - and usually reflect a painful, tedious and expensive contracting process.
On the other hand, the contracting process that starts with a really well written contract can deliver real 'business enabling' benefits to the parties including:
- significantly reducing the time required to complete a deal
- making a massive contribution to realising the commercial goals of the deal
- reducing the risks of dispute and their costs should they occur
- serving as a vital repository of important corporate memory
GLS has launched GLS Legal Docs™ so that businesses can achieve the kind of efficient contracting process that genuinely helps businesses to get transactions done better, faster, safer and cheaper.
GLS Legal Docs™ is another demonstration by the GLS Group of how combining technology and legal content can eliminate the barriers that deny businesses access to world class legal support.
In this article we will introduce GLS Legal Doc™ and examine:
- what defines the hallmarks of a “good contract"
- the true cost you face from using low quality agreements
- how contracts drive “business enablement”
- how traditional firms must re-think how they charge for their templates
We would also like to invite you to try GLS Legal Doc™ for free - with a single click - and experience document automation in 4 languages.
WHAT IS THIS AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
GLS Legal Docs™ delivers access to an online, curated and automated library of 70+ world class legal documents that address the most common commercial transactions faced by businesses globally.
This is not just a traditional precedent library - this is an automated library of precedents that will draft, edit and amend themselves into the contract/policy document/legal document that reflects your preferences!
GLS Legal Docs™ allows any business anywhere to generate a world class legal document at a fraction of the cost that a traditional law firm would charge for the same.
GLS Legal Docs™ operates on proprietary contracting automation software, into which the GLS Group has invested millions of dollars of contracting IP and decades of “best practice” knowledge.
Our technology works by guiding users through a short online interview that extracts the user’s legal preferences and commercial objectives.
These preferences and objectives/data points are then used to automatically generate a world class first draft of the desired agreement.
Each document in the GLS Legal Docs™ library has been engineered with a total commitment to “contracting process efficiency” by experts with decades of experience at the world’s best law firms.
GLS Legal Docs™ isn’t just about rapid first drafts – it’s about producing quality documents that drive the realisation of time, cost and quality efficiencies throughout the contracting process and project.
Each GLS Legal Doc™ also comes with a 30-minute consultation with a world class legal advisor whose sole remit is to ensure that the user’s goals for the document and/or project are realised.
Available 24/7/365, each document in GLS Legal Docs™ is constantly updated to keep in line with GLS’ own “best practice standard” at a price point that is a fraction of what would be charged by a traditional law firm.
A 'BUSINESS ENABLING' CONTRACTING PROCESS - WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Top quality first drafts of legal documents contribute to a “business enabling” contracting process that allows a business to experience the following:
- a clear and continued focus on desired outcomes – the “what are we trying to achieve”
- documents that are easy to work with – that can be understood, amended, reviewed and administered with ease
- documents that set the deal up for success by being absolutely clear on each party’s respective rights and obligations
- key-stakeholder time not being diluted by “white noise” issues/negotiations
- external consultants being used only for matters that genuinely require their expertise
- the power of “plain language drafting” to quicken understanding and the contracting process
- the building of a cross-party deal rapport that sets the groundwork for a successful long-term commercial relationship
THE PROBLEMS SOLVED BY GLS LEGAL DOCS™
Poor quality legal documents create significant time, cost and quality inefficiencies. Indeed, bad first drafts are notoriously hard to recover from.
The spill-over consequences of poor quality first-drafts are often greater than what most people will ever imagine, and include:
- damaged goodwill and potential mistrust between parties, as a result of drafts that do not reflect the sought-after commercial position (i.e - are they reneging factor)
- costs incurred as a result of negotiating-in requirements that have been overlooked (typically this is even harder than negotiating out errors)
- time wasted by both parties as a result of negotiating-out the numerous “weeds” present in poorly drafted clauses
- the projection of an image of sub-optimal professionalism by the authoring party, which can impact bargaining position and credibility
- time wasted in reviewing and negotiating non-controversial sections of a poor draft – at least 85% of any agreement should not be controversial
- payments to lawyers to review poor drafts – these payments are genuinely expensive as lawyers/in-house teams need to spend more time to review poor drafts
- even more payments to lawyers and time wasted by senior management, in order resolve disputes resulting from ambiguous wordings and contradictions
Beyond all of the above, poor drafts may often end-up becoming entirely redundant as their densely packed legalese typically ends up simply not being read by anyone in the business beyond the legal team.
Put simply, if you do not start with a top quality first draft then you are denying your project a 'business enabling' contracting experience.
For the in-house lawyer, the following could hinder the production of a high-quality first draft:
- the time it takes to instruct external counsel being as significant as the cost
- a lack of in-house precedents, or in-house precedent libraries that are sparse, poorly maintained and not automated
- internal users reusing the “last deal’s precedents” with the result that errors and irrelevant provisions get replicated
- the inefficiencies of trying to “tweak” the last “similar” deal takes on a life of its own compared to directly addressing the unique needs of the current deal and achieving a bespoke fit
- internal users using their own “document libraries” that don’t reflect the group’s authorised legal position and are not fit for purpose
- the in-house lawyer eventually being made to provide a first draft from scratch by himself, at the expense of large amounts of time and costs
GLS Legal Docs™, for a totally inconsequential price point, allows businesses to mitigate all of these challenges and drives a contracting process that is genuinely “business enabling”.
WHAT DOES A GOOD AGREEMENT LOOK LIKE?
A good agreement that positively adds to project or goal realisation, as well as proactively drives contracting process efficiencies, has the following characteristics:
- it uses friendly, plain and easily understood language
- it uses consistent and concise language
- its draws from a clear but disciplined dictionary of defined terms
- there is consistency around the complexity of clause details and mechanics
- there is balanced and proportionate risk allocation
- there is clarity around performance obligations (i.e. the who, what, why, when and how)
- there is clarity around the respective rights of the parties (e.g. what happens if performance is not delivered)
- technical or operational matters are not blended into front-end legal terms
- schedules serve as clear operational chapters for unique subject matter
- it is as short as it can possibly be whilst getting the job done properly
- it is capable of being understood by anyone
- it is capable of being easily translated into other languages
- it is free of technical legal language and concepts.
Each and every GLS Legal Docs™ template strictly observes these world class drafting principles and in so doing delivers a document that can help you drive contracting process efficiencies.
To illustrate, below is an excerpt from a GLS Legal Doc™:
A THOUGHT FOR THE LEGAL INDUSTRY
For the GLS Group, as legal industry disruptors, making world class legal support available at a fraction of the cost charged by our competitors is just what we do – it is our business model, and we embrace it.
For the traditional legal industry, however, the achieving the GLS position is less palatable as time sensitive complexity has historically been what drives the profitability of their time-based engagement model.
However, in an era of abundantly available efficiency technologies, traditional law firms must necessarily re-evaluate their relationship with the contracting process if they are to survive.
GLS believes that:
- firms must “let go” of the notion of charging excessively for basic legal document production - just as architects did when hand drawn blue prints gave way to CAD
- first draft contract preparation is no longer the exclusively domain of the legal practitioners – IT enabled systems can do much of the same work, in much less time
- a firm’s ability/willingness to give affordable access to high quality templates is a direct indicator of how effectively they can aggregate and leverage their expertise for a client’s benefit
- firms must recognise that anything that can be reduced to an “automated workflow” is in fact no longer “lawyering” and so they should stop seeking to charge clients for it
Traditional law firms may find these observations threatening – but GLS feels that these principles serve to make our industry more accessible to clients and allows lawyers to return to a genuine “trusted advisory” role.
GLS Legal Docs™ is making world class legal documents available so that deals can run faster and smoother, and client resources can be spent on genuine “advice” rather than mere document production.
A SUMMARY OF THE BENEFITS OF AUTOMATED DOCUMENTS
Automated document libraries, such as GLS Legal Docs™, mean that legal documents can:
- allow for human capacity to be directed at genuinely “value adding” tasks
- be generated to a high quality quickly and in a manner that offers unlimited scalable output
- materially reduce the risks of human error
- be generated and accessed 24/7/365
- create and contribute to deal momentum through speed of production
- reduce and even eliminate production costs
- be easily managed as a “single source of truth” for approved documentation
- allow for tailoring to occur within pre-defined and accepted margins
- be generated to actually match a client’s legal and commercial preferences
- be efficiently updated in line with best practices and/or governing laws
Whilst enjoying this free trial, note that this “garden variety” legal contract is often produced by traditional law firms for USD$500+….
Within seconds of completing an online interview, a world class NDA will be delivered to you, entirely prepared and ready for use – and in any of the 4 languages that GLS currently offers.
A user’s experience of this NDA trial exactly replicates what is experienced by users of GLS Legal Docs™ - i.e. it shows how easy it is to achieve speed, cost savings and quality efficiencies all at once!
To reinforce the power of technology-enabled service delivery, GLS will release the NDA trial experience in as many as 8 languages, with Danish, Mandarin, French and Spanish to follow soon.
FURTHER OPTIMISING THE CONTRACTING PROCESS
GLS Legal Docs™ is merely the tip of the contracting efficiency iceberg.
Whilst a superb legal template drives massive contracting process efficiencies, that process can be optimised even further.
To enable such optimisation, GLS offers a range of products that assists in-house legal teams to embed efficiencies throughout their business’s systems.
These products including:
- GLS Clause Bank™: this contains a wide range of best practice clauses to support your negotiations
- GLS Playbook™: this is a guide for non-lawyers on how to negotiate the key clauses of a businesses’ contracts
- GLS 3rd Party Paper Checklists™: this is a tool for an organisation’s contracting team, that ensures that any “third party paper” still meets the standards of their business's authorised contracting positions
These solutions can all be found in our industry leading, legal resource productivity centre: GLS SOLUTION CENTRE 2.0
ABOUT THE GLS GROUP
The GLS Group is the world’s leading legal industry disruptor. Founded in 2014 by a core team of highly recognised market leaders from top-tier global law firms (together with some of their clients).
The GLS Group, now has over 200 staff globally and was shortlisted in 2018 by the Financial Times for its “Most Innovative Law Firm Asia Pacific – New Business and Service Delivery Model” award.Copyright Global Legal Solutions 2019 ©