Combining legal content with doc automation to productise contracts makes a lot of sense, and FromCounsel and Clarilis’s partnership is taking another step forward. This time they will be offering a range of documents in an automated Share Reorganisation suite.
The partnership started back in November 2020 and its suite of automated M&A docs arrived in May 2021. They have been steadily expanding things and are now at another milestone, this time focusing on the world of share agreements. Also, earlier this month Clarilis launched a set of automated model lease documents on its own.
This new suite covers documents for share transfers, variations of class rights, share issues, share buybacks, consolidations of shares, reductions of capital, redesignations of capital and articles of association.
Clearly this is a move that also supports standardisation, i.e. that they are providing templates. However, the companies pointed out that the automated docs ‘contain extensive optionality within the underlying drafting – far beyond the level seen in most traditional ‘flat’ precedents’.
I.e. this is standardisation, but with optionality – which may sound like a paradox, but this flexibility is probably going to be needed by many firms and is a compromise between ‘set in stone’ template standards and the ‘reinventing the wheel’ approach.
The companies added that this approach provides ‘consistency, time savings and increased lawyer capacity … alongside the removal of human error and reduction of the risk of failure to comply with the strict legislative requirements required for these processes’.
In short, automated contract standardisation here not only gives you an expected efficiency boost, but it should reduce risk. And there are also guidance and drafting notes provided by FromCounsel, which they said will help lawyers to ‘avoid the many pitfalls associated with this category of work’.
As a reminder, FromCounsel is a UK-based legal group that provides a range of legal documents and guidance, while Clarilis has pioneered the doc automation field using an approach that brings in their own team of subject matter experts to do the heavy lifting for clients. They work with firms such as Addleshaw Goddard, Gowling WLG, Herbert Smith Freehills, Slaughter and May, TLT and Travers Smith.
Commenting on the latest expansion, James Quinn, CEO, Clarilis, said: ‘This is another significant next step forward in the commitment of Clarilis and FromCounsel to deliver standardisation in legal as an enabler for accelerated LegalTech adoption. It builds upon the launch in May 2021 of the exceptionally well received automated M&A suite that delivers savings of up to 14 hours drafting time per use.’
While, Andy Thornton, QC and CEO of FromCounsel, commented: ‘The first phase of our alliance proved that standardisation can be achieved to enable firms to quickly deliver high quality documentation, minimise risk and provide employees with the best tools. We will continue to extend the range of documentation available with Clarilis, on behalf of law firms of all sizes and look forward to the next phase of pre-automated content in the form of the complex documentation within the Shareholders agreement suite.’
Is this a big deal? As noted, this kind of combo makes a lot of sense and having a recognised group of legal experts such as FromCounsel, plus Clarilis’s own team, draft and automate these documents helps to address some of the challenges faced by many doc auto projects.
Having to do all the doc automation yourself doesn’t suit a lot of firms, while using templates that someone else has made is only going to work if you really have confidence in them. In this case, FromCounsel has a large team of experienced legal experts, with nine QCs advising on the legal content, along with many other lawyers.
Note: Clarilis and FromCounsel will be discussing this project and offering a preview of these automated suites at a webinar on the 14th June – you can register here.