Contract Automation: Experiences from Dutch Legal Practice
Ivar Timmer ()
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Ivar Timmer: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
A chapter in Legal Tech, Smart Contracts and Blockchain, 2019, pp 147-171 from Springer
Abstract Organizations in legal practiceLegal practice , under pressure to do “more for less,” are searching for ways to automate legal work, to improve efficiency of legal service delivery. Automated drafting of contracts (or: contract automationContract automation ) is one of the areas where technologyTechnology is—partly—replacing legal professionals. In Dutch legal practiceDutch legal practice , the number of organizations that are actively deploying contract automationContract automation is still relatively small, but growing. This chapter looks at experiences with contract automationContract automation of organizations from various sectors in Dutch legal practiceDutch legal practice . Contract automationContract automation can improve legal service delivery to consumersConsumers and SMEs, as well as contracting processes within organizations. Several organizations report positive results. However, successfully implementing contract automationContract automation , especially for internal use within organizations, is not simple. Tight budgets, resistance to change and poor integration with other softwareSoftware are some of the problems that organizations may encounter. Generally, human and organizational factors are often at least as important as the technological aspects. Successful implementation of contract automationContract automation requires designDesign thinking, a proactive approach and process-oriented (legal) professionals. Regardless of these difficulties, the use of contract automationContract automation softwareSoftware in Dutch legal practiceDutch legal practice can be expected to increase, due to several factors. The number of organizations that are offering contracts (and other legal documents) online to SMEs and consumersConsumers has grown rapidly over the last years. Contract automationContract automation is not only offered to consumersConsumers and SMEs by commercial parties, but also by branch organizations, as a service to their members. ConsumersConsumers and SMEs will become used to these self-help solutions for legal matters. Legal publishers are also increasing the offering of automated contracts and other legal documents. In addition, law firmsLaw firms and consultants are promoting the use of contract automationContract automation within client organizations. Finally, many corporate organizations are increasingly exchanging experiences on improving legal operationsLegal operations and the use of Legal TechLegal Tech , including contract automationContract automation . Eventually, increased use of contract automationContract automation may drive further harmonization of contracts within sectors and facilitate other technological applications, such as the automated analysis of contracts.
Keywords: Contract automation; Expert systems; Legal Tech; Legal management; Legal operations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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