Business Miscellaneous

Legal Contract Lifecycle Management: Traditional vs. Digital Approaches

The traditional approach of legal contract lifecycle management is outdated. Using a digital method shortens your contract lifecycles and simplifies their management.

The Benefits of Contract Management Software for Legal Teams

Digitizing Your Legal Contract Management Process

Today’s fast-paced world requires law firms to have an effective contract management process in place to satisfy their clients’ needs. However, traditional management methods are outdated and inefficient, meaning firms that use them will fall behind their competitors. The digital approach to legal contract lifecycle management is far more efficient, making it a worthy investment for your company. 

What is legal contract lifecycle management? 

Effective contract management is essential for law firms because it allows them to rapidly and accurately create or revise various agreements and avoid liability. The elements of proactive management include proper creation, negotiation, adherence, oversight, and documentation. In the modern world, proper management is essential for satisfying clients, as it is nearly impossible for legal times to form successful agreements without it. 

The stages of legal contract lifecycle management

If you want to manage your contracts efficiently, you must understand the different legal contract lifecycle management stages. You must carefully manage each phase to ensure that the arrangement is completed successfully and compliant with regulations. 

Some of the most critical phases of a contract lifecycle include:

  • Creation
  • Review
  • Approval
  • Execution
  • Performance
  • Expiration

It is difficult for legal teams to keep track of each phase of the contract lifecycle manually. This is especially true for firms that handle a large load of agreements daily. However, almost every law office can significantly benefit from digital administrative tools as they streamline each phase of the agreement process, saving your company time and resources. 

Traditional vs. digital legal contract lifecycle management

Law firms have two options for contract management, the traditional approach, and the automated approach. Traditionally managing agreements relies on manual processes, physical files, and email to manage vital documents. On the other hand, contract automation allows you to use technology-based tools to streamline your contract lifecycles. Features such as cloud service, templates, and eSignatures give teams that utilize management software a competitive edge over other law firms.

The advantages of using contract management software for legal documents

Today, most clients expect law firms to manage each stage of the agreement lifecycle using contract management software for legal documents. The reason being that the digital platform enables them to draft templates, review terms, and deliver their obligations more efficiently than a firm that relies on traditional management. 

Here are some of the benefits of using contract management software for legal agreements compared to traditional management:

1. Organize all your documents in a secure repository

Using a legal contract lifecycle management program means that you can store all of your documents on a centralized cloud service. This will make them more accessible and also reduce the chances of losing any critical documents or information. When you have a single repository, multiple attorneys and departments can securely access any information they need when working on a case at the push of a button. 

2. Monitor contract approval time

Many clients want contracts approved as quickly as possible, which is challenging to do when you rely on manual management practices. Using a legal management platform allows you to keep contract approval time down and, as a result, keep your clients satisfied with their experience. Additionally, locking down an agreement early ensures that you won’t waste time going back and forth over changes and waiting for approval.

3. Utilize updated contract templates

Using contract templates is one of the best ways to reduce your agreement lifecycles and liability. For instance, legal contract lifecycle management software lets you create one template that you can amend to fit different clients’ needs instead of editing various documents. However, for templates to remain compliant and practical, they should be updated every three to four months. Without smart management, you rely on memory to draft contracts, leaving room for loopholes and liabilities. 

4. Include compliance management in your administrative tasks

Integrating compliance checks into your contract life cycle effectively ensures you aren’t vulnerable to any legal issues. Compliance requirements should be looked over thoroughly, which is difficult for firms that use traditional management techniques. Legal contract management tools help you identify any compliance issues and quickly make necessary adjustments to your document. 

5. Create a standardized contract negotiation process

A standardized negotiation process lets non-legal professionals such as accountants and paralegals specify contract conditions with your clients. Rather than wasting an attorney’s time with non-essential tasks, you can give non-lawyers a negotiation blueprint, allowing your firm to work more efficiently. When the negotiation process is kept short using automation solutions, you can push agreements forward without wasting time and money.

6. Route request to the correct party

When you utilize a new document management platform, you must forward contractual requests to the right person. This is a strenuous process with manual management as you may not know which department handles certain documents. A legal contract lifecycle management solution will automatically send requests to the correct individual. This ensures that your attorneys only deal with the information they need rather than sending documents around to other departments.

7. Utilize eSignatures

The digital approach of legal document management allows you to use eSignatures to sign contracts. Electronic signatures are as legally binding as pen and paper signatures. But, the benefit of them is that you can sign documents right on your automation platform. Integrating digital signatures into your practice ensures that contracts are signed off on efficiently to streamline your administration process further.

Automation is the future of contract management for legal departments

Streamlined contract management for legal departments is critical for delivering compliant contracts efficiently. Digital contract management allows you to manage your agreements from a top-down perspective, letting you see the big picture while focusing on what matters to your client base. This approach to management isn’t possible when you rely on traditional pen and paper techniques, opening your firm up to financial and legal liability. Therefore, if you want your law firm to remain competitive, you must invest in legal contract lifecycle management software.

About the author

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Olga V. Mack

Olga V. Mack, CEO of Parley Pro, a modern, collaborative, and intuitive contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform that has pioneered online negotiation technology.