January 17 by Monica Zent
There is a huge opportunity to refine the contracting process and make it more collaborative. Centralized repositories, unified databases, and a culture of knowledge sharing, facilitated by modern, easy-to-use cloud and app technology, will define the future of multi-party agreements.
Since many organizations cannot even find all of their existing contracts, much less capture exchanges along the negotiation path, there is runway for developing systems that support searchable, machine-readable records and fluid information exchange. This will permit contributors throughout a law department to evaluate, negotiate, modify, and execute contracts, particularly as electronic signatures become more common.
Artificial Intelligence will enhance the ability to search and access contract clauses, as well as automate more of the contracting process. It will reduce or eliminate the time spent on substantive updates and terminology selection. Secure and sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, collaboration technology will facilitate communication, knowledge sharing, and negotiation of a wide variety of matters to avoid unnecessary churn, waste, and inefficiency in and across organizations.
That reduction will refocus the time professionals dedicate to higher value tasks and place a greater emphasis on knowledge management. It will help with bargaining and lower intellectual property, commercial, and contractual risk by developing a more thorough process. Blockchain technology will aid in the contracting process but may only be a sufficient supplement for a few decades before advances in AI and quantum computing offer reliability and security that exceeds what is possible today.