With “Super Easy” Workflow Designer, Thumbtack Counsel Supports a Changing Business

Counsel Ben Lazar selected Ironclad to help get Thumbtack’s vendor contracts in order. But thanks to the ease and speed of Workflow Designer, Ben was able to support a number of other contract types, including NDAs, service, and sales.

This story is part of our ongoing Digital Transformation series, which explores how organizations are adapting their in-house legal teams amidst major changes in how we work. We hope that these stories provide actionable advice that can help organizations as they make their own transitions.

What inspired you to look at Ironclad in the first place?

When I was interviewing at Thumbtack, we needed to scale how we managed contracts. The team said, “One of the things we’d like you to do, Ben, is to figure that out.”

Then, when I started, we ended up in a fundraising round almost immediately. And what gets exposed in a fundraising round? The state of our contracts. They weren’t stored very well. When we needed to find something, it turned into a circus. We spent lots of late nights trying to track down our contracts. 

When we came out of that fundraising round, it was like, “Okay. Thank God we got through that. We need to be quicker. We need to be more nimble.” 

“We spent lots of late nights trying to track down our contracts… We need to be quicker. We need to be more nimble.

We were looking at both pre-signature solutions, like Ironclad, and post signature solutions. Through the process, I started to realize that if we didn’t start the process at the pre-signature stage, we were never going to get our contracts into the repository for when we needed them again. We needed to create reliable storage and consistent approval processes. So we decided: “If you’re going to agree on a contract for Thumbtack, no matter who you are, you’re going to have to do it through Ironclad.” 

What was your implementation process like?

Our first step was to build out a very robust, customized [vendor contract] workflow, where we get key information from the business stakeholder. How much are we spending under this contract? What’s the counterparty’s name? And then we flip it over to the legal team and say, “Okay. Now, let’s track key legal terms.” What are the indemnity provisions? Is there a change of control provision to be able to do really fast diligence, in the case we had to? It has worked very well.

That’s when Workflow Designer really became a more robust tool. So we built our NDA using Workflow Designer. It was super easy. And then I started to get the hang of it and decided , “Hey, I could put our service agreement into this, enabling several teams to move fast by generating contracts on our form without any legal resource bottlenecks.” So we were able to get our service agreement into Workflow Designer and got that out with some great customization options for internal clients. That’s been awesome. 

What’s been your biggest success with Ironclad?

What we realized after going and getting Ironclad for a totally different purpose is that we could use the software for our sales team. We’ve built out several sales contracts with the options to vary the terms in really significant ways, and be able to put approval rights in some of those variations, so that if you want to give a certain discount or something like that, your manager’s going to have to approve it. Basically, I’ve been able to create this very nimble, fast sales contract machine that doesn’t require me to get involved unless there are redlines. 

The truth is we couldn’t be doing what we’re doing with the sales team right now without either Ironclad or more legal support. It’s just not possible. Now, they’re able to just get it out right away. They really, really appreciate it.

“I’ve been able to create this very nimble, fast sales contract machine that doesn’t require me to get involved.”

What’s your advice for someone who’s considering a digital contracting platform?

Something like Ironclad, I think, can be very intimidating. For most in-house legal teams, you tend to be stretched thin, and you’re going to be running around a lot. You don’t want to be spending your time finding a contract management vendor. 

But Ironclad has certainly been worth it. And I certainly feel a lot more comfortable about our contract situation — way more comfortable now than I was a year ago. And I’ll feel even better about it a year from now because I know the way this is continuing to build on itself.