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ComicsNovember 20, 2020

Draft the World #4: 5 Legal Operations Ghosts That Can Make You Hate Your Job [Comics]

When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, sometimes we want to call ghostbusters and wait for them to take care of things.

Sadly, we live in the real world, and instead of the paranormal team, we need to call the authorities. Which don’t always respond if your issue doesn’t look serious enough.

And they definitely won’t help you if you’re dealing with workplace stress.

More often than not, the problems you may be facing in your legal operations are simulating the “everything is A-OK” situation so well you don’t recognize them until they sprout and blossom and leave you exhausted and overworked.

The problems you may be facing in your legal operations are simulating the “everything is A-OK” situation so well you don’t recognize them until they sprout and blossom and leave you exhausted and overworked.

In our 4th episode of “Draft the World” comic series we decided to show these problems as ghosts, and not only because they are scary or unpleasant, but because, like the ones in the “Ghostbusters” movie, they can also be dealt with given the right tools, attentiveness, and the right attitude.

If you’ve been in legal ops for at least 2 years, you have probably seen them all: Missed Obligations, Delays in Approval, Unnecessary Lawyer Involvement, Redundant and Mindless Work, and Long Contract Cycle.

Each of these guys is nasty in its own way, and each is very keen on making you a very unhappy lawyer by multiplying routine in your life.

Unless you find their weak spot, and that’s what we’re here to help you with.

“Back off, I’m a lawyer”.

Neither of these problems appears out of the blue, as there are always non-obvious red flags that mark their presence in your legal ops. So to help you detect them before the issue becomes critical, we’ve prepared a quick overview of each of these “ghosts”, followed by the way contract automation addresses their weaknesses.

Missed Obligations

Red flags: you have lots of tasks on your plate, it’s getting harder to keep everything within eyesight. Finding the necessary information in your documents is not easy because they are stored across multiple locations.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are all contract deliverables clearly visible at any point?
  • Where are all my document stored?
  • Can I access them outside office space and office hours?
  • Who else has access to this information?
  • How am I notified about the upcoming deadlines?
  • Weakness: Document storage, system reporting and automated notifications informing about the upcoming due dates and events.

    Delays in Approval

    Red flags: You send redlined documents for review and approval via emails. You are not receiving timely responses from counterparties regarding any legal matters. You have to follow up on the status more than once. You need to double-check the documents for correctness after you receive them from the counterparties.

    Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does every person involved in the approval process clearly understand their role and value of their input?
  • Do you have a defined order in which each document is approved?
  • Is everyone comfortable with the current approval process, or is someone experiencing any difficulties?
  • Does anyone involved have difficulties locating or accessing the contract under review?
  • Do any unauthorized changes appear in your contracts during the review and approval process?
  • How often do you miss important emails in your inbox?
  • Weakness: Pre-defined approval workflows, role management, notifications about status changes, on-platform contract collaboration and approval.

    Unnecessary Lawyer Involvement

    Red flags: You spend too much time correcting the mistakes in documents made by business teams. You need to review even the simplest documents before they are delivered to the counterparites. You only have basic document templates.

    Questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time do you spend reviewing someone else’s work?
  • How much does your involvement extend the contract cycle?
  • What is needed for you to get involved less?
  • How often does your own work get interrupted by the urgent review of business team’s contracts?
  • How often do you fix similar errors in contracts?
  • Weakness: Database of pre-approved templates. Smart document drafting that includes as many document variations as possible. Legal knowledge guides with company’s contract guidelines and best practices.

    Redundant and Mindless Work

    Red flags: You are not using your full potential in work. Your tasks are monotonous and require little effort. You feel that a less qualified person would be capable of doing the same job as well as you. Your work gets emotionally unrewarding.

    Questions to ask yourself:

  • What work would you rather be doing?
  • How much time do you spend on tasks that do not require any effort?
  • Does this work need to be done manually or can it be automated?
  • Does the amount of effortless work cause you to work longer hours?
  • Are you satisfied with your current work-life balance?
  • Weakness: Document drafting solutions, databases with metadata that can be pulled to any document, automated legal playbooks.

    Long Contract Cycle

    Red flags: Your cannot always tell at which stage each of your contracts is, and it takes you a while to locate the necessary contract and retrieve its status. You cannot see the value of the involvement of each party. You need to constantly send reminders to move forward in the contract lifecycle. Your contract distribution is disorganized throughout multiple channels. You do not evaluate contract performance.

    Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are your legal operations functioning with the right momentum?
  • Have you ever missed out on any business opportunities because of the contract lifecycle length?
  • How can you reduce the lag between the steps in your contract lifecycle?
  • Is document integrity preserved across all software used by each party in the process?
  • Are you always aware of the performance of each of your contracts?
  • Weakness: Contract lifecycle automation with analytics and reporting, on-platform collaboration with status notifications, customizable approval flows, sophisticated search mechanisms.

    The ghost trap

    Now that you are aware of the presence of each of these legal operations “ghosts”, all you need to do is find the right tools to capture them.

    There are quite a few contract automation software that will do the trick, and we won’t speak for all of them, but we can guarantee that once AXDRAFT has got one, it will never let these guys back into your legal work.

    Because AXDRAFT has a weak spot for getting rid of routine in legal operations and helping lawyers regain passion for legal work.

    And also for drawing, so if you haven’t seen the previous episodes of our comic series about The Big Draft Theory, Contract Management Abra-Draft-Cadabra, or The Ultimate Contract Bender, here’s something fun you can enjoy without losing focus on legal work.

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