Contract negotiation · Contracts

Over what medium are people negotiating contracts? MS Word "redline" via email is the norm?

Trevor Grayson

January 13th, 2016

How is everyone negotiating contracts outside of their organization? The de facto seems to be using MS Word's "redline" or "track changes" and internal shared drives to store the contracts.  Are people generally happy with this solution?  What pain points may you experience?

MaxBlox/Founder Institute Director, Chennai Area at The Founder Institute

January 13th, 2016

I deal with maybe 300+ contracts and sales orders a year personally as a CEO, where i am involved in the review and editing too.  I largely use MS Word. I edit, then convert to PDF to dissuade the average counter party from editing and send it. :) .
But when interacting with larger enterprises, we revert to Word and use redlining to manage the changes. Keeping track of versions is a kludgy process.
Agreements change differently with different customers and trying to create an optimal agreement across multiple customers that cover future customers better would be good to have.
Much of the changes tend to be at a clause level. Turing on and off clauses would be a good thing to have.
Some agreements have clauses that expire at different times than the overall agreement. I dont see that ability in the market today ( and we are cobbling something to do that ourselves). For example, for my real estate agreements, i want to know three months before the lease rates change, that the rates have changed.

Mike Web Developer

January 13th, 2016

I've heard clearcontract.com is getting some traction with that.  As far as I know, it still requires Microsoft Office.

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

January 14th, 2016

I experienced pain in this on a procurement project. Issue was that the lawyers were uping requirements (e.g., insurance) and protection clauses in a vacuum and that was making the cost to vendors go up, which was passed along in either lawyer redlining or higher than necessary purchase costs.  Analytics to reign in the lawyers (which clauses were adjusted the most) would be one potential use case that could go to legal savings

Trevor Grayson

January 13th, 2016

Thanks Mike!  I would love to hear people's impressions of it.

Ignacio Juarez CEO & Founder @ TRATO | Ofrecemos Tecnología para la Gestión de Contratos con Firma Electrónica Avanzada | tratoapp.com

January 14th, 2016

Hi Trevor! It is great you brought this question. We are currently working on a solution for small and medium size companies so they can organise and create electronic legal agreements. Our first version is due this month but it is mainly focused to the Mexican market. It allows you to add and eliminate clauses and it also sends you notifications of key deadlines. Our second version, which will be available in March, will be also in english and will suggest you the use of several templates, allowing you to add and eliminate clauses. I can send you a beta version, and to anyone else interested, once it is released in exchange of your input and comments : ) 

Trevor Grayson

January 14th, 2016

Vijay,

You're asking to be able to see how many changes were made by each lawyer in aggregate? You're interested in "churning clauses" or lawyers who are making an exuberant amount of changes?

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

January 15th, 2016

Maybe that's a use case, but not the one I had in mind. Bigger issue was feedback on master contract. If I knew term a was 75% redlined (and thereby almost impossible to track and enforce) it would provide a check to the cya model driven by counsel...this could streamline the contracting and negotiation process and cut legal fees by a substantial percent by eliminating the source of redlines in an 80/20 way

Trevor Grayson

January 15th, 2016

Vijay,  Interesting point.  There actually is some software in the space that will compare versions of documents and show more or less popular clauses.  If 90% of NDAs don't have a Force Majeure clause, perhaps it doesn't make sense, type of thing.  It's a good notion.

Anu Gardiner Global Head of Procurement at DocuSign | Business Leader

January 15th, 2016

Search for Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions. Many of them have authoring capability. Selectica (now Determine), Apttus, Emptoris etc for Enterprise. Many smaller players for mid-market. Incidentally, Contractually, just got acquired by Coupa and they have authoring, redlining etc.