The Benefits of Legal Collaboration Software

Most contract negotiations should be a collaborative process. Your company will make its best contracts when it can use knowledge and expertise from across its workforce. However, keeping a large group both together and on target can challenge the best leaders.

Often, Legal has the contract, and nobody else really knows what they are working on. Legal doesn’t always keep up with the changes in other departments, either. They need to partner with other parts of the company to effectively create and carry out contracts. 

The benefit of legal collaboration software is that it can bring everyone together at one time and in one place. Everyone can read the latest contract. Everyone can make suggestions. Everyone knows when it is their time to step up and enter the process.

In this article, we will cover:

  1. Risks of not working together
  2. Problems with collaborating
  3. Benefits of legal collaboration software
  4. Ironclad features for collaboration
  5. How collaboration builds functionality

Risks of not working together

If you skip coordinating with other departments, you open yourself up to many risks. The risks get larger when you skip over people on a legal contract.  These risks include:

  • Human error
  • Ignorance of regulatory frameworks
  • Ignorance of past and concurrent contracts
  • Unfulfilled contracts
  • Increased litigation

A single word may cost you a million dollars. An honest mistake can lead to a lawsuit that drags on for seven years. Parties can find themselves trying to comply with impossible conditions that differ in two places within the contract. Everyone has to work together, and Legal needs to take point.

Problems with collaborating

If the risks of skipping collaboration are high, the problems of getting everyone together can be massive. You may have several different record-keeping, communication, and analysis programs at work in your own office. If you are working with several subcontractors, they will all have their own systems. Even getting documents back and forth can be a headache. 

No one place

The people you want to work with are all over the place. You send out a company email, and people file it under their priorities, not yours. You have a Zoom meeting to get everyone together, but not everyone shows up. You set up a Slack channel for communication, and two people refuse to use it. 

No one time

People are working together on a Google Docs platform, and suddenly a second copy of the contract pops up, and people are working on both separately. Two separate groups are working on the same issue because of a miscommunication. They both develop great but different solutions that will change the rest of the contract as well. The boss redlines a number of paragraphs, but she’s doing it by hand on a printout. And you won’t get that until next week.

Benefits of legal collaboration software

Legal collaboration software is designed to solve these problems and more by getting all interested parties on the same page at the same time. The software keeps a central, up-to-date copy that all can see. Communication is within the system, which keeps track of correspondence.

Legal collaboration software allows the entire office to access the contract process. Other teams gain visibility into the contract process. Sales knows the status of a contract for deals they are working on. They can then seek more deals with better timing around when the contract work starts. Collaboration itself brings greater benefits to the contracting process. 

Legal collaboration software keeps everyone up-to-date. You can sign in to the program and look up the contract. You can see the notes that Marketing added and the proposed changes that a VP made. Sales can keep on track, influencing the deals they are building.

Lessens dependence on email

Email is essentially a private thing. Each person keeps records (or doesn’t keep them) according to their own standards and priorities. This works well for many things. It does not work well for contracts. 

Too often, a contract ends up in court. The parties use discovery (and eDiscovery) to line up all the relevant documents and facts. This breaks down (and becomes expensive) whenever you hit an email hole. Somebody didn’t keep records, so you have to assume you have all of their comments preserved in the chain of emails below the main one. Another person changes the subject line, and you need to dive into everyone’s computers again to find emails tagged with the new subject. Still, another person swears they sent out an email to everyone, but you cannot find it. 

Reliance on email is a pain in this case. A centralized data repository creates one place for everything. Putting together documents for discovery (or anything else) becomes easy.

Ability to use the contract

Once the contract is completed, all departments can use it. This use is more than mere compliance tracking. Legal uses it to build new, better contracts. Sales uses it, with other contracts, to forecast trends. Marketing finds the exact name and number of the person they need to approach for case studies. 

The contract gains value for all these people and makes their jobs easier. Collaboration allows your company to build something greater than it had before. 

Ironclad features for collaboration

Ironclad is designed to make collaborations easier. With our program, different teams can work seamlessly together. Each has clarity about their parts to play during contract creation and afterward.

Centralized Contract Management Data Hub

Ironclad provides one central place (and one central contract) in which everyone can work together. You know whenever you log on that you are working on the most recent and correct version of the contract.

One centralized contract has many benefits. Everyone who needs to see it can see it. This visibility and transparency solve many problems before they become major. You can more easily audit any contract. The entire history and lifecycle are available at the central hub. 

You can track, manage, and report on contracts before and after signing. Everyone working on compliance can see how they and others are fulfilling the contract. Milestones, like deadlines, will create automatic reminders and alerts so that no one can miss them. 

All of these benefits make contracts faster. New contracts can be customized from older contracts that worked well. Executives can review contracts faster, knowing exactly what has changed. Our centralized contract management collaboration hub makes access, oversight, and collaboration easier for all.

DOCX Native Collaborative Platform

Gone are the days of each department having its own standards and each client using a different system. Ironclad brings everyone together in a DOCX environment. All files are in the DOCX format and work with MS Word and Google Docs. You can comment and track changes just like before. But now, you do not need to email everyone involved every time you make changes. 

No one has to use different (and perhaps unsecured) email programs to keep up. They get a notice instead, and can see, accept, or reject any changes. Everything happens within the system and uses the same standards. 

Ironclad integrates with the most popular tools and programs. We are bringing more partners into our systems, creating the most familiar atmosphere within our program. Ironclad integrates with:

  • Dropbox
  • DocuSign contract management
  • Salesforce
  • Google Drive
  • HelloSign
  • Adobe Sign
  • One Drive

We have also made our public API (application programming interface) available, allowing you to integrate your custom apps. This also allows your programmers to adapt the system further to fit your needs.

Workflow Designer

You don’t have to be a programmer to use our workflow designer for contract generation, negotiation, approval, signature, and storage. Our AI populates fields, adds standard clauses, and creates a drag-and-drop menu where you can design workflows that fit. 

You can build a basic contact in minutes and get all stakeholders on board to amend or approve it. When the contract hits your desk, the fields you need to check or sign are tagged, letting you choose to complete those before you dig deeper.  The system can ask a user questions and generate appropriate contract data and clauses.

Clickwrap

Sometimes, getting everyone to look over the contract and sign or initial it is the longest part of the young contract’s life. Clickwrap speeds up the process. It makes clicking a button or checking a box legal and binding. Everyone can sign off easily. (And if anyone is holding it up, it is clear to everyone who they are.) Everything is now one step closer to fully digitized contracts. 

Data Repository

centralized and searchable data repository brings all your contracts together. You can locate and use any contract you need. Ask questions of the repository; it has answers. How have we solved this problem in other contracts? How many contracts are pending? What are the total number of units, across contacts, that we are sending to Store A? Whether negotiating a contract or examining a new way to meet deadlines, your history of contracts can provide a slew of useful answers.

All of this creates more ways for departments to collaborate and bring in subcontractors, stakeholders, and other people as necessary. Everyone works through a single channel. Unhelpful barriers drop, allowing everyone to feel part of a single company. New ideas can generate anywhere and enter your contracting system to help build better contracts.

How collaboration builds functionality

Collaboration makes contracts better, and not just because new voices can speak up and get involved. Departments can now work cross-functionally, lending their expertise and help to other departments. Every team member knows their roles and responsibilities in the contract creation and fulfillment process. Legal can become part of this collaboration and move into an equal place instead of playing watchdog.

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