There is a broad consensus amongst law firms and in-house legal departments that next generation “Legal Tech”–Particularly in the form of Blockchain-based technologies and Smart Contracts – will have a profound impact on the future operations of all legal service providers. Legal Tech startups are already revolutionising the legal industry by increasing the speed and efficiency of traditional legal services or replacing them altogether with new technologies. This on-going process of disruption within the legal profession offers significant opportunities for all business”

Legal tech, smart contracts and Blockchain’, Marcelo Corrales, Mark Fenwick, Helena Haapio, 2019

Almost every business function relies on legal involvement or expertise in some way. Despite its importance, Legal has been one of the last functions to adopt digitization. Today, contracts play a crucial part in organisational processes and, as such, are instrumental to companies’ success. A significant amount of time and resources are spent drafting, reviewing, and negotiating agreements which are often stored away, never to be seen again until something has gone wrong or it’s time for that awkward renewal conversation. 

On a day-to-day level, in-house legal teams often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day: they are consumed by high-volume low-complexity habitual tasks, leaving little bandwidth to step back, strategise and/ or improve how the business operates in a more impactful, efficient manner. 

So how do legal teams move to focus more on forward-thinking and less on the day-to-day minutiae? It is the next frontier for digital transformation according to a leading Contract Lifecycle Management company, ContractPodAi

What is this CLM stuff?

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) automates and streamlines contract processes during key stages. These stages include: initiation, authoring, process and workflow, negotiation and approval, execution, ongoing management and compliance, and contract renewal.

By creating a common language, core templates, unified terms, and repeatable, consistent conditions, buyers and suppliers save time and reduce errors. Most contract management software is designed to provide greater visibility into corporate spend, create greater efficiencies in the contract process, and lower administration costs. This is accomplished by: managing procurement, sales contracts, IP licences, and internal agreements; automating and accelerating contract lifecycle management from start to finish; standardising and controlling contract development; strengthening operational, contractual, and regulatory compliance; and creating contracts quickly and easily using pre-approved templates and legal clauses.

So what’s the big deal?

“By breaking down important contractual information, lawyers and contract managers find it easier to understand the agreements that their companies hold. They receive instantaneous and in-depth insights into these valuable documents. By properly analysing contracts, lawyers and contract managers can better pick up on inefficiencies in their everyday contracting processes. Without adequate contract visibility or oversight, agreements can contain profiting-reducing errors. 

Organisations must review their day-to-day processes and performance, during the course of the year. Such thorough reviews help them gain a better understanding of these areas and find ways to improve them. Contracts should be no exception”. 

Sarvarth Misra, Co-Founder and CEO of ContractPodAi

ContractPodAi recently announced a USD $115 million Series C investment raise headed by technology-investment behemoth SoftBank and its Vision Fund 2. The round saw ContractPodAi’s valuation increase five times from its previous Series B round in 2019.

Proceeds from the round have gone towards accelerating ContractPodAi’s platform capabilities and expanding its market presence internationally, leveraging off SoftBank’s networks to capture new opportunities in the APAC region. This funding round also marks Vision Fund 2’s first investment in legal technology, one of the fastest-growing SaaS categories. So SoftBank clearly see this particular area as a big deal.

SoftBank/ WeWork office in Portcity Takeshiba, Tokyo

“The market is asking for technology infrastructure that supports in-house legal teams like CRM does for sales teams or fintech for finance” says Sarvarth Misra, ContractPodAi CEO. 

And evidence shows that reluctance to incorporate technology into client service is harming attorneys and small law firms. Research by Thomson Reuters shows that clients are often dissatisfied with their attorney’s unwillingness or inability to incorporate technologies like electronic document exchange into their relationships.

“Despite the inexorable digitization of the workplace, legal processes have largely resisted disruption,” concurs Ayush Jain, investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers.

According to ContractPodAi, their no-code platform allows teams to manage any legal scenario, process, or document using the platform’s pre-built and configurable applications. It is built mostly to help in-house counsel address the legal tasks they need to deliver, from buy and sell-side contracting, to compliance requirements, to corporate governance, radically improving business performance and optimising operational workflows. 

“We believe the company’s modularized, one platform approach extends way beyond existing Contract Lifecycle Management to capture a vast array of legal use cases across multiple jurisdictions” continues Ayush Jain. “We are just scratching the surface of what we can do,” Sarvarth Misra signs off. We will keep our eyes open.