Lawyers are prized for their ability to analyze complex legal documents in furtherance of providing counsel. Traditionally, all this required was the right document, extensive education and training, and more often than not, infinite diligence and patience.
That’s no longer enough. Especially in today’s data-driven business world where agile business demands that in-house legal teams understand and respond quickly to contractual obligations.
One of the hallmarks of next-gen contract management software is giving lawyers on-demand, one-mouse-click-away access to contract metadata — business intelligence to make smarter decisions. Think renewal dates, governing law or indemnification obligations, in a specific contract or across a larger contract set.
Without metadata easily at hand — even if it’s in the cloud or other repository — analyzing a contract set is tedious and time consuming. And a paper chase, digital or otherwise, most in-house lawyers have no time for.
Enter the contract analyst, enter the data-driven legal department.
Contract data analysts surface business-critical contract metadata
At its core, contract analysis empowers legal teams to identify and unlock contract metadata in a visible and searchable format. The result is a corpus of contracts transformed into a dynamic intelligence resource.
At Ironclad, templatized workflows and third-party paper workflows do just that, thanks to our digital contracting platform. Once a contract is completed and stored in the Dynamic Repository, it’s easy to extract customizable metadata for custom reporting across an entire contract set.
But what about contracts generated outside a digital contracting platform? Identifying metadata for a single contract is easy enough for a legal professional. It’s exponentially more challenging the larger the contract set.
With legal resources often stretched thin, keeping up with contracting data is daunting. To aid lean legal teams in their quest for accurate, usable contract data, Ironclad recruits and trains law students from local universities under our Contract Analyst Program.
How the human touch brings contracts out of filing cabinets into the digital age
Delivering high-quality, error-free legacy contract data identification to Ironclad customers is the goal of the Ironclad Contract Analyst Program.
Getting down to business, the students review and scour legacy contract sets — contracts generated outside Ironclad — tagging key contracting data per customer specifications. These vary depending on business needs and contract sets but commonly include:
- auto-renewal opt-out notification period
- total contract value
- PII exchange
- ability to terminate for convenience
- counterparty address region.
Once review and data extraction is complete, the tagged contracts and associated record properties are uploaded to the customer’s Ironclad instance, organized and archived in the Dynamic Repository. There they live, waiting to reveal business-critical information on-demand.
Bridging the educational gaps between law, business and technology
The Contract Analyst program gives students a contracting primer in a real-world setting a law school lecture hall can’t match. They leave understanding the importance and power of mission-critical contract data to drive business.
We asked several participants their thoughts on the program’s value and their key takeaways.
“The work I’ve performed for Ironclad has helped me better understand the fundamentals of digital contracts in an ever-changing world,” said Alexander Hagevig, a 2022 J.D. candidate at Golden Gate University of the Law.
“It has enhanced my learnings from law school and given me a look into the actual legal profession,” added Austin Brown, a 2022 J.D. candidate at the University of San Francisco School of Law. “I haven’t been able to get that anywhere else.”
“Meeting truly amazing people at Ironclad and learning from them and their diverse, non-traditional legal paths has been extremely inspiring,” said Marie Sarbaziazad, a 2020 graduate of the University of San Francisco and a founding member of the Contract Analyst program.
Reflecting on the students’ experience, Chris Young, Ironclad’s General Counsel and departmental head of the program, called it a win-win-win.
“Our customers unlock the power of their contracts through data, the analysts develop as aspiring legal professionals, and Ironclad invests in the future of Legal, providing local students opportunities that might otherwise be outsourced.”
Using contract data is easy — finding it is harder
Data, data everywhere, nor any drop to drink.
As we’ve seen, contract analysis and contract analysts breath life into legacy contracts, freeing them from dusty file cabinets or forgotten cloud storage.
In-house contracting’s future demands the capture and analysis of metadata, operationalizing it and surfacing it across a legal team’s entire corpus of contracts. Doing so empowers legal in a way impossible until recently, freeing lawyers from rote work and paper chasing.
To learn more about participating in the Ironclad Contract Analyst program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ironclad is not a law firm, and this post does not constitute or contain legal advice. To evaluate the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability of the ideas and guidance reflected here, or the applicability of these materials to your business, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Use of and access to any of the resources contained within Ironclad’s site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the user and Ironclad.
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