Contract Lifecycle Management Software (CLM Platform): How Lawyers Can Build Critical Relationships to Attain Einstein-Level Brilliance
I often hear concerns like:
Olga, my epitaph will read ‘Death by due diligence’. We’re running multiple M&As. I have nightmares filled with tricky multijurisdictional regulations, information governance programs, and data privacy worries.
I rely on my in-depth, specialized knowledge a lot. At the same time, many issues are so multifaceted and technical that only a team of experts from diverse backgrounds could tackle them.
How am I supposed to know everything all the time?
Though I love to encourage lawyers to expand their knowledge and innovate, you can’t go it alone today. But with Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software and a collaborative approach, you can build three critical relationships that will help you attain Einstein-level brilliance and fulfill all your growing responsibilities more effectively.
Relationship #1: Cement your relationship with your organization.
CLM software can cement the relationships lawyers build with the organizations they serve. That’s because a CLM platform provides the tools to integrate your legal knowledge and guidance into everyday business operations.
When you use CLM software to create automated processes, contract templates, and company playbooks, you also incorporate your decisions and legal expertise into the activities employees perform every day. The software’s automated capabilities ensure that the actions you want to occur are performed under the exact circumstances you establish, even when you’re not physically present to guide the process personally.
Your legal expertise becomes more accessible to employees. Every time an automated process is triggered, and every time someone uses a template or refers to the company playbook, they receive your expert guidance. It’s internal collaboration on autopilot, which is especially advantageous in today’s remote work environment.
Relationship #2: Support cross-functional relationships & enhance your circle of knowledge.
CLM also helps lawyers establish collaborative cross-functional relationships within the organization they serve. Now that sales, marketing, IT, finance, human resources, procurement, and other functions require more contracts for increasingly diverse relationships with complex needs, more stakeholders are involved in contracting than ever.
A CLM platform’s online discussion board informs each reviewer quickly and clearly of the details that matter most to them. Company executives, department leaders, and experts contribute their knowledge to enhance comprehension by explanation and discussion. And lawyers expand their circle of knowledge to include trusted colleagues that help them identify risks and new opportunities.
As a result, a CLM platform becomes an incubator for new ideas and innovative approaches to solving problems. You gain greater awareness of a broader range of company concerns and goals, and you’re better prepared to guide the organization strategically. Inside knowledge like this is critical because you deal with counterparties to establish relationships that can affect your company’s success.
Cross-functional relationships happen when members of different departments come together to solve problems or collaborate on process improvements. These relationships are essential for continual growth because most of the issues that organizations encounter occur when work goes from one department to another.
Contract lifecycle management features help lawyers combat these issues by providing a single source of truth that members of different teams can use to collaborate efficiently on agreements.
CLM platforms allow lawyers to build cross-functional relationships by:
Enabling shared access to information
With a CLM platform, your legal team and members of different departments are able to collaborate, communicate, and easily share information. This boosts transparency since different team leaders and other key stakeholders can see where their agreements are stored and what those agreements contain. With information sharing, employees can quickly answer basic questions about termination dates, requirements, and values of contracts.
Company employees often complain that their legal departments aren’t responsive enough, preventing other teams such as sales and marketing from completing their obligations. With digital contract management for lawyers, legal teams can significantly increase their responsiveness to other department requests such as contract review, signing, inquiries, etc.
CMS allows legal departments to automatically share custom reports with members of other departments across the company. This helps to ensure that every team has the insights necessary to make educated decisions about agreements. When legal teams understand what each department prioritizes in their agreement details and performance, they can lower the number of requests and show their value as a company partner.
Relationship #3: Bring in third parties for collaborative contract negotiations.
CLM software provides a collaborative environment where in-house lawyers, co-counsel, and lawyers for counterparties work together smoothly. Technology is reliable and accurate. Powerful search features find every relevant document and detail, as well as contradictions and obligations in contracts. Dialog on each central issue is centralized on the discussion board, so each party can easily see what’s at stake. Lawyers know they have all the right information to make smart decisions. And critically, the transparent environment helps establish associations of trust among negotiators.
When a CLM platform is used for the contract management process, third parties can easily be involved in the negotiation process with features such as real-time edits, collaborative redlining, insights into the agreement, and version control.
Involving third parties in the contract management process using CLM is vital because it:
When all stakeholders have access to a single source of truth, it is easier to ensure that everyone has the same information and is working on the same agreement. Each user also has access to the contract’s version history, comments, status, and edits which helps ensure everyone is on the same page. Limiting confusion when working on contracts with another party reduces stress and tension, fostering more beneficial collaboration and healthier partnerships.
Shortens approval time
Using a contract management platform, all stakeholders can collaborate in real-time. This means that you won’t have to waste time coordinating schedules for in-person meetings since everyone can access the document remotely. E-signatures also make it easy to approve contracts without meeting with the other party, so your agreement can go into action as soon as possible.
Increases the benefits of agreements
Each business agreement has its own set of risks and benefits. The goal of each stakeholder is to get the most benefits out of a contract while maintaining a low level of risk. CMS makes this possible by providing each member with a reliable platform to communicate and collaborate on, allowing each side to share their visions and objectives of the deal. With digital collaboration, your company can be sure it’s getting the most out of its partnerships.
Transparent negotiations build mutually beneficial relationships.
Trust is important because parties may approach collaboration with adversarial surface goals, but it is short-sighted not to explore your relationships further. CLM software gives lawyers the tools to dig deeper and identify areas where each party’s goals and interests align.
For example, one party wants to pay less for more of a product while the other wants to be paid more for less of that product. Working together, however, they are more likely to discover more profitable mutually beneficial goals, such as sharing shipping costs or coordinating marketing efforts to increase sales overall.
It’s difficult to reach that level of cooperation when each lawyer is huddled behind a closed door, hiding behind redlines and unaware of even their own organization’s inner workings. CLM software improves how you relate to everyone. Armed with a more in-depth knowledge of what your organization needs to thrive, you can negotiate smarter with defined strategies and clear goals in mind.
Transparent collaboration with CLM software builds critical relationships.
As lawyers, we’ve developed specialized legal knowledge to fulfill our responsibilities. At the same time, many of today’s most complex challenges need a team of experts to handle them appropriately. Bring everyone together to build relationships that expand your knowledge. Integrate your knowledge into day-to-day operations to guide employees even when you’re not there. Discover the value of others’ experiences and expertise and better understand the organization you serve. Collaborate with third parties to develop more productive relationships. CLM software is the way you really can know how to do it all!