On November 14, 2018, InvestCEE co-hosted the first legaltech meetup & workshop in Hungary on the topic of digital contracting. The event was co-organized jointly with InvestCEE’s partners: vendors from our LegalTech Marketplace (Contract Mill and Dealsign) and Klart Legal, a Budapest based law firm that has already engaged with InvestCEE to implement legaltech in traditional client work. The media partners for the event were our friends from FintechZone

Here is a summary of the 5 key learnings of which we took note.

#1 Routine work in legal processes consumes too much time

An excessive amount of time is spent on routine processes, such as unearthing contract templates, identifying document versions and comment histories, signing contracts, archiving files in a searchable manner etc. All this effort could be directed into meaningful actions while also saving time and costs. Digital transformation of legal processes makes it possible to execute routine operations more easily and on a higher professional standard.

#2 The value of legal data needs reevaluation

Information stored in paper documents, or local networks is generally inaccessible. This slows down decision-making processes and often makes lawyers and legal departments the bottlenecks for business goals. Instead, data in contracts should be viewed as a huge opportunity. As Teemu Marttinen, co-founder of Dealsign, highlighted at the workshop: companies need to look ahead of themselves and become comfortable with using digital tools to access data on contract debt (commitments), contract risks and pricing mechanisms embedded in contracts.

#3 Legaltech tools must be user-friendly to offer great utility

Companies like ContractMill and Dealsign offer platforms that lawyers love to use. The solutions embedded in these platforms enable lawyers to cover all aspects of the contract life-cycle: creating new documents, circulating first drafts, negotiating on-line and real-time, signing electronically and archiving in a smart (searchable) manner. All this saves the time of emailing clients, editing contract templates, negotiating in ping-pong style and searching for documents, clauses and specific contract data. Both Contract Mill and Dealsign make their platforms available for testing free of charge, while InvestCEE helps clients with on-boarding: uploading templates and getting started with pilot projects.

#4 Client-facing legaltech tools raise company profiles

In-house legal teams that help business departments improve client relationships are more valuable to the organization as a whole. Instead of being the bottlenecks of business, corporate legal teams can add value by simplifying contracting processes. Digital contracting implemented in client-facing activities sends a positive message about a given company staying on top of the innovation wave.

#5 It is time to move from hype to implementation

Document automation and digital contracting pave the way to using artificial intelligence (and later possibly blockchain, too) in legal context. But before we run full speed in that direction, we first need to learn to walk. As discussed at the digital contracting meetup, this means, that we need to become comfortable with using technology in legal context. Instead of using #legalautomation and #digitalcontracting for marketing purposes only, legal teams can actually start using technology to provide value-added legal services.

For more insights into the topics covered at the Digital Contracting Meetup & Workshop, take a look at the presentation slides:

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