As a legal professional, you hold a tremendous responsibility within your organization – especially with managing internal stakeholders and maintaining efficient processes with external stakeholders. Relying on disparate and manual contract management processes such as spreadsheets, emails, and shared storage drives can create an inefficient contract management process that can waste time, decrease revenue, and increase risk. Read on to learn how paralegals, general counsel, and corporate counsel can leverage four essential legal ops contract management software tools for success.
What Are Legal Ops Tools?
Legal ops tools are the mission-critical instruments leveraged by legal professionals – including general counsel, corporate counsel, paralegals, and legal assistants – to empower their legal operations initiatives that include each stage of the contract lifecycle from requests through renewals. Four critical legal ops tools include automated contract workflows, eSignatures, artificial intelligence with machine learning, and contract risk assessment mapping.
Tool #1 - Automated Contract Workflows With Alerts & Notifications
Dealing with contracts in both the pre-award and post-award stages can be challenging, especially when dealing with many internal and external stakeholders of ranging authority. For instance, requesting a senior lawyer to review a clause that could have been reviewed by a junior lawyer can cause workflow inefficiencies and decrease morale. In the post-award contract stage, you can lose track of contract risk factors and obligation milestones without the proper notifications.
Moreover - when needing to renew a contract, you may inadvertently involve paralegals or lawyers who are not direct stakeholders, which can cause frustration and waste time. These legal ops bottlenecks can not only breed inefficiencies but also exponentially increase contract administration risks by inadvertently excluding a stakeholder from a necessary contract task – such as repositioning clause language that mitigates risk and saves your organization money.
You can avoid many of the abovementioned risk-incurring situations with the help of configured contract workflows and notifications. Stakeholders, including paralegals and corporate counsel, can be assigned to specific tasks and receive notifications for completion. Once a task is completed, the assigned stakeholders can be notified within the pre-configured workflow to complete the subsequent task. You can also assign clauses to necessary stakeholders, who can be notified whenever a specific clause is modified.
Post-award contract compliance and obligation notifications can be assigned to necessary stakeholders to encourage timely anticipation and follow-through with counterparties and to encourage post-award contract compliance. Upon a contract's upcoming renewal date, internal and external stakeholders can be automatically notified in a timely manner. Additionally, you can receive on-screen alerts and recommendations in real-time via pre-configured notifications for increased contract visibility. Internal stakeholders can also leverage AI-based contract management software tools to help identify areas of opportunity to leverage upon a contract’s renewal for further risk mitigation and increased ROI.
Tool #2 – Secure & Swift eSignature Software
Gathering required signatures for a contract can be difficult, especially when signees are in different locations. Signatures finalize contracts and propel their execution. This highly anticipated step in legal operations can be delayed with manual wet signatures that can waste time and paper-based resources. Moreover - specific signatures can require notarization, which can further delay the signing process.
Fortunately, electronic signatures can make signing contracts a breeze with contract management software that enables signees to sign virtually anywhere at any time - with the proper electronic device and adequate internet access. Additionally, signees can leverage the use of digital signatures that virtually ensure a signature’s date of signing and that it was untampered with thereafter - reducing the need for a licensed notary.
Discover how IntelliSign® eSignatures can cut your send-to-sign time by up to 20% in the video below.
Tool #3 - Artificial Intelligence With Machine Learning
Remaining current with the latest document language can prove challenging - especially as laws and regulations change. You can encounter legal ops setbacks when manually sourcing the latest contract language, particularly in clauses. Thankfully, robust contract intelligence can empower you by supporting automated contract assembly and revision. Integrated contract AI with machine learning can be configured to recognize specific language - including clauses and phrases - and offer insightful language recommendations. Such recommendations arise from a configured language library.
Moreover, contract artificial intelligence can help extract metadata that can be leveraged to support legal routing, contract abstraction, auto-amendment recommendations, approvals, and more. Machine learning can feed CLM software the necessary data to agilely evolve with changing environmental variables and algorithms. While artificial intelligence does not replace the counsel of a licensed legal resource, AI can reduce some of the tedium and offer intelligent possibilities from which you can choose. Rather than waste time unnecessarily, contract AI with machine learning can help streamline your legal operations with robust insight and unparalleled confidence.
Tool #4 - Dynamic Contract Risk Assessment Mapping
Assessing contract management risk within a myriad of contracts can be challenging without visualization and prioritization. Whether you are dealing with ten or ten million contracts, identifying and prioritizing risk factors can prove challenging when sifting through words and other data variables within pages of documents. Without a centralized and graphical opportunity assessment tool, identifying risk can prove arduous.
Luckily, leading CLM software offers risk assessment and OFAC search mapping tools to graphically visualize risk within your documents for comprehensive risk contract management. Rather than manually sifting through your contract records for risk variables, you can leverage a visualized graph that can plot contracts based on their identified risk score – yielding a holistically visualized risk analysis of active contracts that can help you effectively prioritize contract risk factor decision-making. You can also analyze how a contract would perform with hypothetical risk variables and exposure within a risk assessment matrix - further helping you and your internal stakeholders prepare for prospective happenings.
You can leverage this visual contract risk assessment matrix and statistical data analysis to identify negative, neutral, or positive facts about contracts within your CLM system to help improve your contract strategy. You can also enable message alerts to notify you if a contract incurs a value of X% greater than the average contract within your CLM software database.
You can also leverage the OFAC search graphical risk tool to identify if your contracts, including involved vendors and employees, comply with the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s national sanctions list.
This graphical risk visualization allows you to identify a contract’s OFAC compliance both in the pre-award and post-award stage – increasing comprehensive risk mitigation. You can preconfigure rules to notify you in real-time if a current contract meets or exceeds a specific OFAC Search percentage to allow for swift risk mitigation before it becomes untenable.
Achieve Legal Ops Success With CobbleStone Contract Insight®
Discover how you can maximize industry-leading legal ops tools within CobbleStone’s legal ops contract management software – CobbleStone Contract Insight. Don’t waste any more time with legal operations bottlenecks. Book your free demo to see CobbleStone Contract Insight CLM software in action!
CobbleStone’s trusted, award-winning, fully integrated contract management software streamlines the contract management process with optimal governance, reduced friction, and high flexibility from contract requests to renewals. CobbleStone Contract Insight has been a visionary leader in CLM software for over twenty years and is trusted by thousands of contract managers. CobbleStone’s user-friendly, robust, and scalable solution seamlessly integrates with mission-critical applications, including MS Word and MS Outlook, for unified and seamless contract management. It’s no wonder why Forrester names CobbleStone a Leader in CLM software!
Are you interested in future-minded contract management software tools? Watch the 6 Critical Contract Management Tools for 2021 video below to learn how to leverage industry-leading CLM software tools for streamlined, user-friendly, and low-friction contract lifecycle management success!