oneNDA Launches Claustack – A Community For Contract Standardisation

oneNDA has launched Claustack, a new open-source initiative where lawyers can come to collaborate on creating standardised contracts, share knowledge and access templates for free. The contract standardisation pioneer described it as ‘GitHub meets StackOverflow’.

Interested parties can run their own template standardisation projects via Claustack, and also contribute feedback to other people’s projects. They can also either make use of the templates on offer, or if they’d like to, share their own templates with everyone else on the platform.

Perhaps another way of looking at it would be to say it’s a community-based and open-source version of Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law, but with the focus on standardisation.

And, as is apparent now, standardisation projects, whether it’s this one, or Bonterms and Common Paper, or the many others, all need a community to make them real. I.e. it’s great to standardise, but you need buy-in. This platform should help to both widen the level of engagement across the legal community and increase the number of standard templates on offer.

Electra Japonas, co-founder of oneNDA and CEO of TLB, commented: ‘The reality is, contracts are broken. They are too long, take too long and kill deals. If they don’t kill them, they delay them or damage relationships. They are simply not fit for purpose.

‘Lawyers have taken every horror story they’ve ever heard and tried to avoid it by adding extra language to a contract, therefore making it unnecessarily long and burdensome. What was a 10 page contract 20 years ago is now 100 pages long, includes every scenario any lawyer has ever heard of, however low the likelihood of the risk materialising, contains language that does nothing more than what the law already does and takes a skewed position to favour one party over the other.’

And of course, the legal community cannot expect anyone else to fix these problems.

On the idea behind Claustack, Japonas added: ‘The future of law lies in open-sourced, crowdsourced standard agreements that are balanced and fair. It lies in changing the way we perceive contracts, from artisanal works of art to standard functional forms that get negotiated minimally.

‘In order to get buy-in from the legal community to adopt such standards and obtain the input we need to create forms that will be widely used, we need to involve them from the outset.

‘Whatever is created [via Claustack] will be open-source and free for public consumption. The benefits of this approach are immense. Deals will be done quicker benefiting business at their bottom line, legal costs will be reduced, technology will be better able to innovate and build on an open source library (like GitHub) and AI will be more accurate and add more value.’

So, there you go.

But, that is not all. oneNDA has been super busy and has also announced:

‘A revised version of oneNDA (referred to as oneNDA v2) – Since oneNDA was launched in August 2022, the oneNDA team has encouraged the community to provide feedback and comments. The new version includes updates made in response to that feedback including expandable text fields and space for additional language, allowing more flexibility whilst retaining standard language.

The push for the second change was the desire to increase adoption within the community by allowing more flexibility whilst still retaining standard language. Users will still not be allowed to change the baseline text.

And also:

  • A new M&A-specific oneNDA form (referred to as oneNDA + M&A) which contains the same language as oneNDA but incorporates additional language that makes the NDA fit for purpose for a wider use-case. The push for this initiative was again to increase adoption by broadening the scope.
  • And, there will be a new standardisation project on 6th April for a Data Protection Agreement, which will be open for consultation to all Claustack members.’

The project also noted that 600 organisations have adopted oneNDA as their organisational standard and 10,000 people have signed up to be kept in the loop on oneNDA. Now that is community engagement.

Japonas concluded: ‘The most exciting bit about oneNDA has been seeing the legal community really pull together in such an incredible way, from law firms, to in-house counsel, to legal tech vendors, to crowdsource value for the legal profession.’

This is all excellent news. Great to see the ever-expanding standardisation movement going from strength to strength and now becoming a real community.

More info here.