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Are we missing something in legal tech?

Yes, we are—a lot of things.

We’re starting a series of “What’s missing in legal tech” and this article is the first of the series. Let’s tackle the elephant in the room first.

NDAs. Too many NDAs. Same stuff over and over.

Aren’t we all tired of the email back and forth that on average lasts for about 3-4 days wasting time to get any deal started?

There’s a lot being said about the inefficiencies of signing NDAs these days.

  • Creates busy work for lawyers and contracts professionals

  • Takes time away from high-value work

  • Results in a business slowdown

  • Many aren’t even signed

  • The number of versions is bonkers

and more…

Let’s tear some of these concerns down:

1. Adding busy work for attorneys

As Roma Khan, the inventor of GlobalNDA, says, “Shame on us for signing an agreement that says we will not steal information that is clearly marked confidential!” Yet, we sign them over and over with the same terms and conditions. This adds busy work for lawyers and for sales teams.

2. Takes time away from high-value work

Often, lawyers and contract managers have to stop what they are doing to handle an NDA. Tracking NDAs is another huge problem — async conversations about NDAs through emails, Slack, and Teams take up lawyers’ mental bandwidth, leaving less time for more critical work.

3. Slowed business development waiting for NDAs

The NDA wait and “NDA back-an

d-forth” as we call it, is the biggest roadblock when getting the business started. Most don't even get signed so business development starts without protection. Imagine when you don’t sign an NDA in business development:

  • There’s scope creep that you have no idea how to deal with

  • What goes out, what stays in— no one knows

  • Unreasonable time limits that no one agreed to

4. Poor visibility for sales and legal

Centralized access is a big problem for legal departments, sales teams, and companies. If you cannot see which NDAs are active,

then you end up signing them again or communicating without protection. Many companies do not have CLMs or give CLM access to sales teams. Therefore, NDA data remains fairly unknown to most of the company.

Poor quality data "weaken an organization's competitive standing and undermines critical business objectives," according to Gartner. Bad data cost companies $15 million in annual losses. How much is it costing you, not to know your contract data? It’s time to ask hard questions—

  • How many NDAs are active?

  • With whom are these NDAs signed?

  • How are deadlines & pending requests tracked?

  • How is communication handled?

5. Multiple versions of the same terms

We’ve seen some development in legal tech with regard to standardization. One great example is OneNDA trying to standardize the NDA template, but it hasn’t been adopted as much as we’d hoped. The pro and cons of that system is the open-source formatting. This makes the NDA template too open to customization and we are back to where we started. Also, OneNDA is designed for version control, but it is not effective for volume control.

What are your thoughts? What are the most pressing NDA gaps that need to be addressed right now for you and for the industry?

We’re just starting to raise these questions. There is so much more to discuss. Watch out for the next blog in this series.

Share your thoughts on this issue. Put on your creative hats and do add a link to this article. Let’s start the #NDAgaptalk.

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