This article was written by Rebecca Thorkildsen, director of legal solutions at Pangea3, and was originally published on Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.

In many ways, law departments’ delivery of contract management services is still like the Wild West – a lawless frontier. Within a single law department, approaches to managing contracts can differ wildly among practices or teams, if not among individual lawyers themselves. Some teams or lawyers are straight shooters: very disciplined, requiring structured submission of requests, using pre-approved templates, and capturing data and executed documents at the end of Legal’s involvement in the lifecycle of the contract. Most lawyers, however, still take requests by email, look to their personal stash of past contracts with “good” language, and file the latest version of the contract they had (often, not the executed version) within their personal email folder. Although both strategies may produce an excellent contract that achieves the client’s objectives, there is a bigger picture to consider: the risk of variations in negotiated terms across similar contracts and the inefficiency of lawyers spending time inserting key provisions that are regularly missing when the client submits a contract. As a result, law departments of all shapes and sizes are considering technology options to improve the delivery of contract services.

As a former head of technology consulting services to law departments and a professional now charged with instituting efficient contract management services, I am often asked to recommend contract management software. Although the lifecycle of a contract can be characterized the same way among most law departments, unfortunately, the role that technology plays within that lifecycle for a law department is not one-size-fits-all. I’ve led clients through the exploration of a variety of approaches and will describe four general approaches to consider.

Read the full article on Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.

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