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Contract Automation 101 with Avvoka

The Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) and Avvoka Academy recently collaborated to deliver webinars on contract automation. Participants were first introduced to some key concepts - as shown in the video below - followed by a guided, hands-on session where they experienced automating an employment contract.

Avvoka also addressed some FAQs surrounding document automation:

Introduction to automation

1. What kind of document can be automated?

Almost any kind of document can be automated. However, some documents would gain more efficiency gains from automation than others. The best candidates for automation are usually documents that are used frequently and have many standard terms. For example, facility agreements and tenancy agreements are very commonly automated. Documents which cater to multiple jurisdictions are also perfect for automation as a single question can change the entire structure of the automated document.

2. What are the benefits of automation?

Automation allows users to quickly and accurately generate documents from their precedents. It also ensures that no vague or contentious wording would be drafted into the document. It also allows lawyers to maintain their precedents and quickly make and push updates to other users. Finally, automation ensures that your precedent bank is clear and structured, without rogue versions or iterations of the precedent document.

3. How long does it take to automate a document?

As with any skill, automation of a document becomes quicker with practice. Some tools rely on users learning a coding language to automate their documents while others adopt a no-code approach to automation. Time for automation can depend on many factors such as complexity of the automation instructions and length of the document. With Avvoka, we have seen new users who are able to automate a simple 5 page NDA in less than an hour.

4. Do I need to be a lawyer to automate documents?

You don’t! Automation can be done by anyone who is familiar with the precedent document. With a set of drafting instructions and some basic knowledge of automation, anyone can automate a document!

Useful terms

1. What is a placeholder?

A placeholder essentially replaces the square brackets that you currently use in your precedent documents. The answer given in the questionnaire populates into the placeholder.

For example, a placeholder might be something like Company Name or Company Address, which in turns asks the user to provide the name or address of the company. The input the user provides is then populated into the placeholders in the generated document.

2. What is a condition?

A condition determines whether a clause or phrase drops into or is removed from a document. The answer given in the questionnaire would dictate whether the condition is triggered and in turn whether the clause or phrase appears in the generated document.

For example, a condition might be something like Probationary Period = Yes, which in turns asks the user whether the employee in question is subject to a probationary period. If the user selects “Yes”, then the clause for the probationary period is included in the generated document. If the user selects “No”, then the clause is removed.

Next Steps

1. How can I start automating my documents?

Here’s a quick-start guide to starting your journey with automation:

  1. Identify the documents you’d like to automate.

  2. Decide whether you’d like to automate the documents yourself or engage a third-party automation provider.

  3. Decide which software you’d like to use to automate your documents. Each software has its pros and cons, and bundle in different kinds of added functionality such as online negotiation or e-signing.

  4. Begin automation. The next step (if automation is done internally) would be to simply transpose your drafting instructions into automation for the document.

  5. Reap the benefits of your automated document for years to come!

2. How can I learn more about the different automation tools?

After understanding the basics of document automation, you’d be much better placed to assess the pros and cons of particular tools and decide whether they fit your needs. All vendors will offer demonstrations and even trials to allow you to test their platform and evaluate it further.

Thank you Avvoka for sharing your expertise with the FLIP Community and for keeping collaborative learning going remotely! If you’d like to learn more about Avvoka, get in touch with them!

Special thanks to our partners at the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA) for simultaneously live-streaming the session on ALITALivestream for their members.

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