Recently merged global law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has created its own legal contracting tool, called Swiftagree. It will begin by addressing NDAs in the UK market.
Sounds great. But what does it do?
BCLP said in a statement that Swiftagree ‘provides a fair, unbiased and market representative [legal] agreement. With baseline and standard terms in place, the two parties only need to agree on the material commercial and legal points using the Swiftagree online platform, which are then automatically inserted into the agreement for e-signing’.
Or in layman’s terms, it’s an online contracting sandbox, with most of the hard work already taken care of. All the counterparties need to do is agree on the exact terms of the most negotiable points and then e-sign it. Simples.
The firm goes on to say: ‘[It] provides clients with a consistent, efficient and low-risk approach to negotiating and executing high quality unbiased contracts. Contracting typically adopts an unnecessarily adversarial approach, with each side setting out their position and negotiating towards a balanced agreement. This may still be appropriate for complex contracts but Swiftagree adopts a different approach for more standardised contracts.’
The firm added that the inspiration came from the world of derivatives, saying: ‘Standard form agreements are already used across various sectors including the ISDA master agreement, JCT construction agreements, UK Loan Market Association (LME) agreements and the UK Model Commercial Lease. Swiftagree develops this concept further by providing a digitised platform for the negotiation, execution, storage and tracking of agreements.’
Swiftagree is currently focused on English law contracts, but the firm said it expects to ultimately scale out its reach to contracts governed by US law.
Bruce Braude, Head of Strategic Client Technology and based in London, said: ‘Swiftagree combines legal and technology trends to create a proposition that delivers material benefits to clients. We believe there is significant potential to further broaden its application and technology capabilities as we progress.’
Barry Gross, Partner at BCLP, added: ‘Innovation is at the heart of the Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner combination. The future of legal service delivery will require service providers to meet their customer’s requirements through multiple channels one of which will be digital. Swiftagree is a significant step forward in bringing legal service delivery truly into the digital marketplace saving clients time and money.’
Congratulations to BCLP and great to see the fruits of the merger appear so rapidly.