Role of tech in contracts

What do we want? Legal revolution.

When do we want it? Um…. now?

The LawTech Report 2021 confirms that technology is ‘an enabler of fundamental change in the frontline delivery of legal and court services, and a mechanism for doing things differently, setting new standards, and importantly, putting user outcomes front and centre.’

Contracts and tech

The vision of the 2021 Report is that lawtech enables five outcomes, of which these aspects will significantly change the way we create contracts:

  • everyday law and consumer activities around law are as easy as using a smartphone app
  • documents and processes are seamless, interoperable and efficient
  • decision-making and risk management are improved and transparent, using big data with appropriate controls.

The 2021 Report confirmed that the pandemic highlighted some of the barriers to digitalisation of law including the inability to access (share, negotiate, sign) documents remotely or processes that rely on submitting hard copy documents.

By changing the way documents are accessed, we can start to capture and then analyse relevant data for specific clients, projects or processes. The digitalisation of the contract lifecycle is considered urgent by 68% of businesses (World CC as cited in the 2021 Report).

How does this affect contracts?

This is the start of the contract revolution:

  • contracts will move away from complex paper-based and adversarial tomes to tools that can be stored, searched and accessed using a smartphone. We know that 67% of construction professionals access documents and drawings using their smartphone. Why not their contract too?
  • all relevant documents relating to a task, transaction or project will be interoperable. We know that digital documents are central to building information modelling so contracts will need to be digital too.
  • processes will be seamless and efficient. This means we need simpler processes within contracts, backed up by dashboards, fast data exchange, easy to fill in forms etc.
  • parties to a transaction will need to gather and share data to improve decision-making and risk management during the task, transaction or project, not just before or afterwards!

What should we do?

The Report concludes that ‘humble questions asked and small changes consistently made can have a big impact’.

What questions can you ask as to whether technology could improve your contract lifecycle and what small changes can you implement that together will have a big impact on your business?

For me, I am going to continue to explore the options for digitalisation of simple trust-enhancing contracts. Join me on this journey!

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