Kingsley Martin, Founder and President of KIIAC LLP announced at the International Legal Technology Association’s Conference 2011 a new resource that he has created and is making available to the legal community free of charge. His hope is that through this website we can work collaboratively to improve the quality and efficiency of legal drafting. His new website, www.contractstandards.com contains tools to help analyze legal documents and identify component provisions, to generate drafting checklists, to automate document drafting, and a discussion forum to develop contracting standards. On the website, Martin describes their mission statement as follows:
Our mission is to openly share contract standards–contract analysis, checklists, and clause libraries–in an effort to establish global contract norms. It is hoped readers will share their knowledge through comments, practice guidance and other contributions. Contract Standards is a work in progress with new materials added daily.
[The site is developed and maintained by kiiac.com.]
In an educational session on Low-Cost Information Management and Knowledge Management (ILTA INFO7), Martin demonstrated how this new resource could be used to provide some core KM functionality free:
- Creating Contract Standards.The contracts standards section of the web side includes a list of all major agreements types, a matrix for identifying the components of agreements, and a clause library. In time, there will also be a Definitions Library. The provisions are drawn from publicly-available sources.
- Contract Automation. The contract automation section of the website contains free document assembly tools and end-user guides. Participants are invited to suggest new features, or even collaborate in developing open source document assembly tools for general use. The document assembly tools allow you to create a document template and then populate the template with the variable terms that are specific to each contract such as the name of parties and economic terms. Finally, the website can automatically generate a drafting checklist containing all variable terms, optional text and questions that you should ask clients to help you with the drafting.
- Drafting Guidance and Discussion.This discussion section of the website is intended to collect the comments, questions and recommendations of users. The hope is that this discussion will contribute to the development of contract drafting standards, as well as the development of document automation and analysis software.
Kingsley Martin and KIIAC welcome comments, questions and suggestions. The main question is how lawyers will react to a free resource that has the potential to change the way we draft — at a price that is hard to ignore.