When it comes to no-code document automation, the question invariably arises: How much access should be given to clients when it comes to template questionnaires, especially as it applies to legal clients? This could include external clients for law firms, those who are paying the law firm for legal services, or internal clients for in-house, those who are requesting services from the legal department.
You may be wondering why they need access to the template questionnaire at all! Let’s examine two scenarios: law firm-focused and in-house focused.
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 complete because it’d be too expensive. However, the in-house team prepares their agreements manually (i.e., without automation).
There is a commercial opportunity here for the law firm to gain a stickier relationship with the client. The law firm knows 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 M-Files 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 clients. 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 for the law firm
• Additional regular revenue stream
• Stickier relationship with client
• Ability to provide better service to client
• Ease of use if using a more generic template to cover all subscribers
Benefits for law firm’s client
• Internal drafting can be completed more quickly
• Satisfaction 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 when a legal department is inundated with requests for NDAs or DPAs from internal clients, such as sales or procurement. Legal doesn’t 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, possibly adding unnecessary obligations to the company or omitting clauses to “get things through.”
The ideal scenario is for the internal client to be able to draft the agreements with legal constraints built in—for example, restrictions on confidentiality period. The internal client is then able to create an agreement through a questionnaire which always incorporates these constraints—the result is a draft agreement that always contains approved wording.
M-Files Ment can provide such functionality in three ways, depending on the level of control required:
More control for internal client
With M-Files Ment, it’s possible for legal departments 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. Upon submitting the questionnaire, they have access to the generated document and can then send it to the counterparty.
Less control for internal client
It’s also possible to provide the link to the business user, but when the internal client generates the agreement, it can either return back to a lawyer for review or only produce a PDF at the end to avoid freehand drafting post-generation.
No control for internal client
M-Files Ment also offers off-the-shelf the oneNDA and oneDPA automated templates—agreements designed to be easily and quickly agreed upon as they use market standard wording that shouldn’t be amended. If the internal client is generating these agreements, there will be very little scope to negotiate or make any changes.
Benefits for in-house legal team
• Control of requests for less complex legal documents
• Empower business users who can create their own drafts
• Less involvement of in-house legal team for first draft. 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
• No reliance on legal departments for first drafting, improving contract velocity
• Use of standardized wording templates allowing quicker agreement of contracts
See M-Files Ment in action. Contact us today to learn about the different platform capabilities and how they can benefit you.