It’s never a good idea to say “putting aside the death and human misery,” but putting aside the death and human misery, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred far-reaching positive changes to business and daily life that we’ll be grappling with for years. Yeah, even after typing it that sounds awful, but you get the idea. Courts rethought time-consuming “cattle call” appearances, firms leaned into video conferencing in lieu of unnecessary travel, lawyers began imagining a work-from-home hybrid model… the small adjustments we all made to this tragedy continue to resonate.
A lot of these changes come down to tech adoption, but it’s too simple to say “people finally started using technology.” The workflow and cultural changes brought on by technology carry a lot more of the revolutionary potential.
With access to over a billion contracts, mammoth digital contracting platform Ironclad can tease out the transformation of contracting throughout the pandemic. And it has! With its new Digital Contracting Data Trends Report!
“Every business decision requires a contract, and, because of that, contract data can give businesses a holistic view of not only their legal obligations, but also their operations,” said Jason Boehmig, CEO and co-founder of Ironclad. “This allows companies to create a data layer that reveals insights around how teams are operating, how quickly deals are closing, how much spend companies are committed to, and much more.”
Among a ton of insights, the biggest may be that legal departments are moving faster than ever.
That’s the average time it takes companies to complete a contract and it’s down from 16 days to six. TEN DAYS!
On the one hand, Ironclad’s data reflects contracts in their system so there’s a bit of a self-selection issue. Ironclad customers have the technology and gumption to speed things up… not shocking. But it does take two to tango and this acceleration suggests there are counterparties out there also moving faster.
How are things moving so much faster? The pandemic got people comfortable with faster turnaround digital agreements which certainly helps, but the explosion in digital collaboration seems like the biggest factor.
Editing tools like these aren’t just helpful, they’re more secure. Negotiating through a flurry of emails isn’t as seamless as a system that keeps everything in one place.
And this isn’t limited to internal co-op — folks are bringing counterparties into the direct collaboration too.
There’s much more in this report — including the unsurprising but grimly amusing massive spike in searches for “force majeure” every time a new variant came out — and you should check it all out. But I keep coming back to this massive acceleration in the process. This is the sort of progress that revolutionizes how the legal process is seen and accepted within a business. A faster and more efficient process earns enterprise employee trust and that reverberates.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.
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