January 10, 2024
Reading Time
4 min

7 Steps to Optimising Your Contract Function 

Lawyers aspire to be more than just legal advisors; they want to be commercial enablers and play a vital role in driving business growth. However, a significant portion of their time is often consumed by low-value contracts, diverting their attention away from more strategic and impactful activities. It's crucial for lawyers to recognise that if they genuinely want to enable the business, they must optimise their contract function. Contracts form the backbone of any organisation, governing relationships, obligations, and risk management. While their importance cannot be overstated, dedicating the majority of their time to contract-related tasks does not contribute significant value.

By optimising the contract function, lawyers can alleviate the burden of repetitive and time-consuming contract activities. Implementing streamlined processes, leveraging technology, and adopting contract management solutions (such as our CaaS subscription) enable legal teams to automate routine tasks, such as document generation, review, and approval workflows. By reducing the manual effort required for these activities, lawyers can reclaim a significant portion of their time and redirect it towards strategic initiatives, such as providing proactive legal counsel, identifying and mitigating risks, and participating in key business decisions. This shift not only allows lawyers to have a more meaningful impact on the organisation but also empowers them to act as true business partners, driving growth and contributing to the bottom line.

Here are some examples of what you can do to optimise your Legal team’s operations:

1. Create a Legal Front Door

Establishing a legal front door acts as a centralised point of entry for all business team queries. The benefits are immense—keeping a comprehensive log of requests, enabling effective triaging, and deriving data insights for informed decision-making are only a few of the gains you’ll make by implementing this tool. For example, identifying which departments or teams generate the most enquiries, you can identify areas where additional training may be required - that in turn will have a long-term impact on your legal team’s workload as other teams become more sophisticated and independent. Moreover, managing your legal team's workload becomes much more manageable as you gain visibility into the workload distribution.

Some teams opt to use existing platforms like Jira, Asana, Airtable, or Slack to build a legal front door, however we have extensive experience in building legal front doors for our clients - for example this one that we built on Jira!

In our Contracts-as-a-Service offering, we can integrate our services smoothly within your current systems. This ensures a seamless transition with minimal disruption to your ongoing operations. Alternatively, we can provide our user-friendly intake form to simplify data collection and contract submission. We also offer a dedicated contract repository as an added benefit. It's a secure digital space where you can store and easily access all your contracts.

2. Build a Knowledge Hub

Legal teams often find themselves repeating advice or answering recurring questions. Stop the information bleed and create a knowledge hub. Every email, Slack message, or communication contains valuable information that can be stored and shared efficiently. Document frequently asked questions, guidelines, templates, and other essential information in a shared space such as Notion, Confluence, or SharePoint. This empowers your team to access information readily and reduces redundancy. If you need assistance in establishing a knowledge hub, reach out to us for guidance. See our case study on how we helped Curve build their knowledge hub and save 10 hours a week on answering legal queries!

3. Design your Contract Templates

Contract templates, when poorly managed or nonexistent, can lead to unnecessary complications. However, creating a high-quality template bank yields significant return on investment. Empower your business teams to self-serve, particularly for low-risk agreements like NDAs. Simplify complex agreements into plain English to encourage sales representatives to engage in defending or negotiating them. Streamline the drafting and negotiation process for junior lawyers, allowing you to delegate more work efficiently. Experience smoother and quicker deal cycles as counterparties encounter fewer obstacles during contract reviews. Strengthen relationships with sales and procurement teams by eliminating friction caused by inadequate templates. If you require assistance in developing a robust template bank, we are here to support you. See our case study on how we helped and International Sports company create their template bank and increase speed to contract creation by 50%!

Our Contract-as-a-Service offering comes with a fully customised playbook as a standard feature. It is designed to suit your business needs and streamline your contract process. We will also improve your templates to make them simpler and easier to understand, which will speed up your negotiations. This ensures a quicker closing process, allowing your business to progress without unnecessary delays.

4. Embrace Standardised Agreement Templates

For routine agreements that don't require extensive customisation, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Adopting standardised templates can streamline your contracting process and enhance collaboration with external parties. Consider utilising tools like oneNDA (One Non-Disclosure Agreement) and oneDPA (One Data Processing Agreement). These free, widely recognised tools ensure consistency and efficiency in agreement execution, saving you valuable time and preserving crucial business relationships. Check out oneNDA for more info on how you can get started.

5. Obtain Contract Negotiation Playbooks

To scale your legal team effectively, equip them with contract negotiation playbooks. These playbooks outline preferred positions, set out what’s negotiable and what’s not, approved fallback positions and suggested comment wording when pushing back on counterparty deviations. You can develop playbooks for both third-party agreements and your own contract templates. Empower junior team members to handle negotiations efficiently, freeing up senior resources for strategic initiatives. Create a consistent contractual landscape with balanced risk across your agreements. This becomes particularly crucial during fundraising rounds when investors often request visibility into your contract management practices. Download your free template playbook here to get started!

6 Embrace Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)

If your legal team handles a high volume of contracts, investing in a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution can be a game-changer. Explore our legal tech directory, which provides a comprehensive list of features offered by various CLM tools. Before making a choice, read our article on getting CLM ready, as it highlights the essential factors to consider. Remember, CLM is not a plug-and-play solution, but with the right preparation and guidance, it can revolutionise your contract management processes.

7. Partner with TLB for Unparalleled Legal Optimisation

TLB is committed to empowering legal teams like yours to achieve optimal performance and efficiency. Our expertise, proven methodologies, and industry experience make us the ideal partner to support your journey towards legal team optimisation. Whether you’re a small business in the process of setting up its legal function, a fast-growth scale-up or a large enterprise, we can help. Check out our central CaaS service to discover how TLB can handle your commercial contract reviews and negotiations end-to-end while simultaneously enhancing your workflows, resulting in an efficient contract function to support your business scaling.

A Contracting Bolt-on To Your Business

Our CaaS solution pairs AI software with our expert team to process, negotiate and manage routine contracts with simplicity and speed.
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