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Legal tipsNovember 6, 2020

A Modern Lawyer's Worst Nightmares (That Can Be Erased with Contract Management)

Before writing this article, we spoke to our clients about what they believe to be the worst things that can ever happen to a lawyer.

When asked, many of them instantly replied “2020.”

While we were tempted to end right there and make it an award-winning one-word horror story, we decided to dig deeper and see what accounts for the most frightening things in the legal profession these days. And at that, what can be done to make sure these nightmares remain in the world of make-believe.

After all, even though Halloween is over, many of these fears remain with lawyers and in-house legal teams every day.

Standing naked in the courtroom.

Figuratively speaking, of course (or at least, we hope so).

And still, every person involved in any area of law practice has probably had this gut fear: showing up to a meeting or a hearing completely unprepared. Or worse, leaving the briefcase with all the documents and contracts at home.

Every person involved in any area of law practice has probably had this gut fear: showing up to a meeting or a hearing completely unprepared.

This fear has caused many lawyers to drive to the office in the middle of the night just to make sure all of the due contracts are ready, the deadlines aren’t missed, and the documents are exactly where they belong.

Unless you are a fan of starting work 6 hours earlier than everyone else or keeping your documents across creaky cabinets, having this fear signals that you are ready to move on.

Not that contract automation software is a cure for procrastination, but it sure is a valuable building block in streamlining your work and managing your time. And most importantly, it gives you access to any documents you need from any location or device as long as you can connect to cloud storage. Including the last-minute double-checking that everything is correct as you are walking straight to the meeting.

Let alone the fact that some vendors, such as AXDRAFT, are taking better care of your data integrity than most bank security systems.

So unless there is someone else involved in the workflow, you can stay in complete and utter control.

It’s not my job!

You’ve heard this one before, right?

When everything is on fire, when the deadlines are pressing hard and you need to go through hundreds of last-minute updates because a valuable deal is at the stake, the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you it’s not their job to give you a hand or help you go through the redlines they made or approved (and forgot about it).

Well, with document management set up properly, that isn’t going to happen. Simply because every adequate automation solution has collaboration and role management that clearly define the areas of responsibility of each team member and counterparty, and stores every change that has ever been made to the document. So you can revert it, or always know just whose job it is to assist you.

That being said, contract automation also means that your work is secured from any unwanted changes. With access being distributed on various levels, you can rest assured that no unauthorized last-minute fixes find their way into your finalized contract.

After all, there is hardly anyone who enjoys proofreading documents over and over.

Or gets hyped when seeing all that extra...

...Paperwork.

Oh yes, this is what the legal profession is all about. Paperwork and administrative processes, which are also documented. Please accept an extra amount of paperwork delivered right to your desk.

And don’t forget to sign the delivery papers.

Not that we’re saying legal work is boring because it very much isn’t so. It’s just that there are more exciting things to do instead of spending hours filling in documents that all look the same.

Back in the time of their legal practice, one of our team members had a recurring dream: they were proofreading a contract created by someone on the sales team that would never end. For every finished page, two more would appear, with twice as many errors. All colored in the eye-piercing shade of red.

Getting to the office in the morning and seeing a 100-page Statement of Work to go through only made this dream a lot more vivid.

And depressing.

We’ve been talking about routine quite a bit now, and for a good reason. There is a considerable amount of routine work in legal departments. It is one of the main reasons legal experts tend to stay long hours, neglect work-life balance (or give out a confused ‘huh’ when hearing the phrase), or burn out.

Routine is one of the main reasons legal experts tend to stay long hours, neglect work-life balance, or burn out.

Not as much of a nightmare, but rather a harsh reality.

With tools like AXDRAFT, paperwork becomes less of a burden, because document automation helps you save 10 minutes out of every 15 minutes you spend drafting a document.

Now all you need is to do the math and calculate how much time there is to save in your work. Then think about all the things you’d rather be doing instead.

As a pleasant bonus, contract automation helps you deal with what is probably the biggest fear of any legal professional.

Making a million-dollar mistake

At law school, you probably read about those cases when a missing hyphen in the code of the Mariner 1 interplanetary probe cost NASA $80 million, or an extra letter added to the NYC Department of Education document doubled the transport expenses to $1.4 million instead of $700 000.

Quite unnerving as they are, such cases are not uncommon in legal practice.

What makes them even worse is that they blend perfectly well with the fears of not knowing what to do next, getting all the blame, and ruining a career.

When you’re in the middle of a company merger, or you are onboarding a major client, multiple things could go wrong.

The good news is, your contracts don’t have to be one of them.

During a company merger, or onboarding a major client, multiple things could go wrong. But your contracts don’t have to be one of them.

Document automation software lets you prepare error-proof templates and legal playbooks that you can rely on. You can build your contracts off the pre-approved and double-checked blocks, which not only makes the entire process many times faster but ensures there are no mistakes that can cause any devastating legal implications.

And also, contract management software backs up your attention. We all know how hard multitasking can get.

Afterword

We’re well aware that any change is frightening by its nature, let alone when it comes to the changes in familiar and time-proven workflows. But the sad truth is, your clients are getting more demanding, and the availability of the technology is only raising the bar higher.

As much as software can add to the list of fears, you need to remember that there are people behind any technology that can relate to your problems, and help you embrace the new ways of work. If you have any concerns about whether it’s the right time to move forward with contract automation software or have any fears of your own that hold you back, we’re here for you.

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