The Connection Between Revising the Content of Your Templates and Automating Them

In two recent posts I considered the merits of overhauling the language of your template commercial contracts (here) and the merits of automating them (here). But it’s important to consider that those tasks apply to different parts of the process.

Automation allows you to prepare first drafts faster and with greater control that is possible using the traditional copy-and-paste approach.

By contrast, with templates that contain modern and efficient language and contain substance that’s more closely tailored to your needs, the benefits kick in after you’ve created the first draft of a contract. Because the other side will be able to read the contract more quickly and will be able to understand it, and because the contract will have been purged of irrelevant and distracting provisions, negotiations will go more quickly and deals will close sooner. Monitoring enforcement will be simpler. And you’ll be exposed to less risk of dispute.

So automating without overhauling template language, or vice versa, is to do only half of the job. In particular, it seems short-sighted to automate without improving content. After all, content is what governs the relations between the parties, and it’s what you have to live with for the entire contract relationship.

And given that automating requires that you examine your template language to determining what to customize, automation provides a perfect opportunity to upgrade template content.

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.