Giving Contract-Drafting Students a Taste of the Future

My contract-drafting class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School focuses on the building blocks of contract language. But we’d be reckless if we didn’t also consider process—more specifically, the implications of the fact that contract drafting is an industrial-scale team sport. To that end, we devoted last week’s class to two online document-assembly demos.

The first was a demo of QShift, the clause-based document-assembly system developed by Ixio Corporation. The presenters were Laura Williams and David Munn, fresh from their presentation on legal technology at the ACC annual meeting. Laura is corporate counsel with Seattle-based Safeco Insurance Company. Previously, she was Ixio’s general counsel and director of professional legal services. (Click here for the Q&A I did with Laura about QShift.) David is an attorney with Fair Isaac Corporation, a Minneapolis-based data-analytics and decision-management company.

David and Laura outlined the basic idea behind document assembly, then demonstrated how QShift works. David wrapped up by showing us how Fair Isaac uses QShift, thereby adding a real-world angle that one doesn’t always get in a technology demo.

Next up was Tim Allen, CEO of Business Integrity, developer of DealBuilder, the logic-based document-assembly software. (I’ve previously mentioned my relationship with DealBuilder.) Tim described DealBuilder’s origins and what it can be used for. He then went on to demonstrate, with dizzying efficiency, exactly how it works.

I’m sure that much of both presentations went over the heads of my students. But I’d rather that than have them be unaware of developments that have the potential to make contract drafting a much more efficient process.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.