Why giving clients access to automation is a good thing

In this second article about Ment’s unique client-facing functionality (the first can be found here) we take a look at how clients can get access to the template questionnaire. In this instance, clients could be external clients for law firms (ie those that are paying the law firm for legal services) or internal clients for in-house (ie those that are requesting services from the Legal function). 

You may be wondering why they need access to the template questionnaire at all? So here are two scenarios; one law firm-focused and the other in-house focused.

Law firm use case

The starting point for this use case is that the law firm’s Employment team has a client who regularly onboards new people into their business, but only ever instructs the law firm to draft the most complex employment or consultancy agreements. The day-to-day less complex agreements are dealt with in-house – and deemed not to be worth instructing the firm to do because it’d be too expensive. However, that in-house team prepares their agreements manually (ie without automation). 

There is a commercial opportunity here for the firm to get a stickier relationship with the client. The law firm knows that they aren’t going to be instructed for this less complex work – however, it would be possible for the firm to provide the client an automated version of their less complex agreements. They would then be able to create those less complex agreements quicker and easier internally – and the firm can provide this as a subscription service to the client.

This is one of the unique advantages of Ment over other document automation tools out there. In this scenario, it allows the law firm to automate an employment agreement and provide access to their client(s). The law firm even has the ability to time limit it or cut off access if the subscription ends. If a more generic template is used it can also be scaled easily across multiple clients too.

Benefits

So in summary:

Benefits for the law firm

  • Additional regular revenue stream
  • Stickier relationship with client
  • Able to provide better service to client
  • Can be scaled easily if using a more generic template to cover all subscribers

Benefits for law firm’s client

  • Internal drafting can be done quicker
  • Happier with law firm because they understand their needs and can help them
  • In-house legal team has more capacity

In-house use case

For the in-house use case the starting point is that Legal is inundated with requests for NDAs or DPAs from internal clients (e.g. sales or procurement). Legal does not want to provide these internal clients with the templates of the agreement because they don’t fully trust them to contract with external parties. Providing the template would give them too much flexibility to draft (ie add unnecessary obligations on company or omit clauses to ‘get things through’). 

The ideal therefore is for the internal client to be able to draft the agreement(s) with the constraints of Legal built in (e.g. restrictions on confidentiality period). The internal client is then able to create an agreement through a questionnaire which contains these constraints – and therefore the result is a draft agreement that is always approved wording.

Ment can enable this in three ways depending on the level of control required:

More control for internal client

With Ment it is possible for Legal to provide the internal user with a link to the template questionnaire. The internal client can then get to the link (possibly through the company’s intranet) and fill the questionnaire. On submitting the questionnaire they have access to the generated document and can then send it to the counterparty.

Less control for internal client

It is possible to do the same as above (ie provide the link to the business user) but when the internal client generates the agreement it can either (a) return back to a lawyer for review or (b) only produce a PDF at the end to avoid freehand drafting post generation.

No control for internal client

We are also able to offer off-the-shelf the oneNDA and oneDPA automated templates. For those that aren’t aware of these – they are agreements designed to be easily and quickly agreed as they use market standard wording that shouldn’t be amended. Therefore if the internal client is generating these agreements then there will be very little scope to negotiate/make any changes at all.

Benefits

So in summary:

Benefits for in-house legal team

  • Can stem requests for less complex legal documents
  • Can empower business users to create their own drafts
  • In-house legal team doesn’t need to be there to draft first. They can be there to review only. Saving time and freeing up capacity.

Benefits for internal client

  • Empowered to create first draft simple legal documents
  • Not reliant on Legal function for first drafting (improving contract velocity)
  • Can use standardised wording templates that will allow quicker agreement of contracts

Any questions about the above? Feel free to reach out to Marc May on LinkedIn or via email.

Contact us