Five Steps to Effective Legal Contract Management

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    Title*Five Steps to Effective Legal Contract Management
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    Posted 15 February 2021

     

    Legal contract management - which refers to the processes that law firms use to manage the negotiation, execution and termination of contracts - is one of the most crucial activities of any successful business arrangement. The number of contracts a law firm or legal team must process are endless and include those with vendors, clients, partners, and other business entities. However, many law firms struggle to implement an effective contract management process, putting their business relationships at risk. 

    With so many firms using ineffective contract management processes, it’s clear that there’s room for improvement.  Previously, we’ve written about how to select the right contract management tool, but an effective legal contract management process extends beyond just using the right technology. Here, we look at five key elements to ensuring you have an effective contract management process.

    Centralise your Contracts

    At the core of effective contract management is a centralised contract database. Storing all of your contracts in a single, centralised location significantly improves your staff’s ability to find the documents they need at any step of the contract process. 

    For example, many law firms store their documents under a client folder or workspace in a Document Management System (DMS), such as iManage or NetDocuments. Contract management tools like Sysero can integrate with your DMS to make it easy for lawyers to create contracts directly from a client workspace, and then automatically file executed contracts as PDFs in the DMS. Assuming your law firm is using a modern DMS system, such as iManage Work 10, lawyers can then easily access their contracts, from anywhere on any device. 

    Simplify Contract Creation

    With the sheer number of contracts that law firms and legal teams manage, there’s simply no way to produce every contract manually. Not only does drafting contracts take precious time away from more value-added work, it also increases the risk of inaccuracy and non-compliance. 

    Having the ability to quickly generate new contracts, whilst ensuring quality is a cornerstone of successful contract management. Using a document automation tool like Sysero, you can enable lawyers and staff to convert past contracts into reusable and editable contract templates - all within Microsoft Word. Once a template has been created, it can be stored in a web-based Knowledge Library from which lawyers can create new contracts using only a web browser - making it widely accessible. 

    When lawyers need to create a new contract, they can simply access the template required, complete a guided online questionnaire, and generate their customised contract.  This can be done on a PC, tablet or even a smartphone without the need for any software or app to be installed on the lawyers devices.

    By simplifying contract creation through document automation, you can greatly increase the number of contracts and transactions your firm produces, whilst significantly reducing associated risks.

    Obtain Signatures Digitally

    The contract signing process can be an unexpected bottleneck for law firms, especially with more staff, lawyers and clients working remotely these days. The ability to obtain digital signatures is now a vital part of effective contract management.

    By adopting an e-signing tool, you can make your contracts more accessible and signable from nearly anywhere. And the less time it takes to execute a contract, the faster you can start realising its value.  

    Take for example, how law firms use Syerso’s E-Sign tool to effortlessly obtain multiple electronic signatures on contracts via Outlook. Using Sysero E-Sign, lawyers can route contracts to signatories directly from Microsoft Word by entering email addresses for each signatory. Signatories receive the contract as a PDF document and can easily sign by clicking on automatically generated colour-coded links and typing their name - there’s no need for them to download software or create an account. Once all parties have signed the contract, a signed PDF is created, e-notarized and emailed to all parties.  

    For those firms who have already implemented DocuSign, Sysero can be configured so that documents are created in Sysero and routed through DocuSign.

    Mitigate and Manage Risk

    With increasingly complex regulations, directives and cybersecurity challenges, today’s law firms face much greater accountability in demonstrating security and compliance. Even more importantly, failure to comply or properly secure your data can greatly damage your firm’s reputation and lead to significant loss of business. 

    That’s why contract security should be a top priority in your contract management process. A secure contract management process will embed compliance at every step of the contract lifecycle - from contract creation through to approval and review. 

    With technology like Sysero, security and compliance can be tightly ingrained throughout the contract lifecycle. For example, Sysero allows you to create risk-based profiles for each new client; embed compliance into the contract generation process; encrypt and hide sensitive data whilst allowing non-compliance staff access to non-sensitive data; and employ a quality review workflow to automatically flag contracts for review at specific intervals. 

    Taking a cloud-based, automated approach to contract management allows you to gain greater visibility into potential risks associated with contracts and greatly reduce your risk exposure. 

    Bringing it All Togethe

    A modern approach to contract management requires firms to think of contract management as a comprehensive process. Relying on a single, automated contract management solution that integrates with your internal systems can help you quickly create legally binding contracts, minimise risk and improve client satisfaction. 

    With Sysero, you can streamline the entire contract management lifecycle with automated contract generation, secure e-signatures, centralised storage and archiving, and enhanced compliance and security features.

    To learn more about how Sysero’s can help you develop an effective contract management process, get in touch with our team

     

     

     

    SummaryAn effective legal contract management process extends beyond just using the right technology. Here, we look at five key elements to ensuring you have an effective contract management process.
    Resource TypeBlog
    CategoryLegal Services Delivery
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