TermScout has built a contract rating system that operates like a ‘buyers guide’. The US company uses a mix of tech and human analysis to provide easily accessible insights into contracts and the key provisions in them, with star ratings, comparison charts, and drill-downs into important clauses. These contracts are publicly available ‘click through’ agreements in the software sector covering around 150 companies.
It’s one of those products where a Walk Through is necessary to really appreciate what it can do. But, one could see this as a kind of Consumer Reports or Which? review approach.
In effect TermScout ‘tests’ the contract, looks at key terms, compares them with what is market, and then gives the customer, in this case probably a lawyer, but perhaps also a contract manager or procurement expert at a company, a detailed breakdown of what is in that contract and how it compares to similar contracts of other companies.
So, for example, you can compare limits of liability across a range of contracts from a number of software companies.
And you can also send them a contract that you are considering that is not in the public realm and they will also review it in relation to their system’s methodology.
Artificial Lawyer really liked the approach because it brings several things to the table: transparency in a market that is famous for opaqueness, and the ability to clearly and easily compare contracts using a defined approach.
Check out the Walk Through here, with CEO and founder, Otto Hanson, providing the commentary. It’s about 14 mins.
In some ways there are similarities with what Thomson Reuters does via Practical Law, although TermScout’s ‘consumer review’ approach does seem distinctly different and has a very user-friendly feel to it.
After seeing the product in action this site wondered if this could be applied to far more than software contracts, and of course the answer has to be: yes. But, to do that you need a ton of analytical work and also subject matter experts. Hanson, as you’d probably guess, is an expert on software contracts – hence the focus. But, clearly there is a lot of room here to expand.
AL would be interested to hear what you think of this approach.