Contract management software is a term that has many meanings (thanks to marketers), but most of this software is designed around the premise of "never writing or signing another bad contract." But what about the contracts you've already signed?
Before you adopt a software solution that controls how you draw up and authorize new agreements, you need to clean up and organize the contracts you've already got in-house. Here's how.
Step 1: Get All Your Contracts in One Place
Before you write any new contracts, you need to round up all your old ones. In many, if not most organizations, legacy contracts and legal documents are likely spread across multiple file-sharing and storage systems. Before you start writing new agreements with a new, end-all-be-all contract management system, you need to gather all your old agreements into one organized system. That way, you know where to put all the new agreements your new solution is about to create, and you don't allow the new system to contribute to the old "contracts everywhere" problem.
Step 2: Identify All the Risks and Opportunities in Your Existing Agreements
Reviewing your old contracts is a good idea in general, but it's especially important before adopting a new contract-creation solution. You need to know what language has presented a problem in the past, what has worked, and what contract risks and opportunities are already out there. With this knowledge in hand, you can determine exactly what past mistakes you want your new contracts to avoid.
Step 3: Develop "Standard" Language that Will Define Future Agreements
Now that you know what went wrong and right in the past, you can develop your boilerplate language for all future agreements. These are the building blocks from which your new contract-creation software will draft new agreements. If you've done steps one and two correctly, you should have a healthy list of sample clauses and contract structures from which to draw inspiration here.
Step 4: Establish Rules for "Breaking" Rules
Boilerplate language is a starting point, and there will always be circumstances 9and clients) for which deviating from the norm is justified. That said, any contract creation tool that simply lets users override its safeguard to make special contracts for anyone and everyone isn't much of a solution. You need to decide now, before implementing new contract management software, who is allowed to authorize non-standard contracts, under what circumstances, and under whose authority. With these policies in place, your new contract creation tool can actually do its job effectively.
Conclusion: You Need More Than One Contract Tool
The steps above are a big job, but you can actually make it easy to adopt a good pre-signature contract creation tool by first deploying a competent post-signature contract analysis solution. New artificial intelligence software makes organizing your legacy contracts in one place easy and makes analyzing the risks, opportunities, and common boilerplate language of your current contract portfolio fast and painless.
LinkSquares is building exactly the kind of post-signature contract management solution you need to adopt before deploying a pre-signature contract creation tool. With LinkSquares' AI-powered contract analysis technology, you can gather, organize, and analyze your existing legal agreements at software speed and lay the groundwork to safely automate future contract-writing.
If you're ready to clean up your contract backlog – and want to get your house in order before deploying a pre-signature contract management tool – contact LinkSquares today.