Law firms have been investing heavily in legaltech solutions to help deliver legal services more efficiently to clients.
This technology has been tested, deployed and has all kinds of use cases, many of which are ideal for supporting businesses through the coronavirus.
Here are five key areas to consider:
Many businesses are needing to create a high volume of contracts in a short amount of time, including employment. According to the BBC, the major supermarkets are searching for 35,000 additional workers; home care company Cera has created 10,000 new jobs; Lloyds Pharmacy is seeking 1,500 new workers; and Virgin Media says it needs 500 more people.
Lawyers are using contract automation software to quickly generate templates with the right clauses, and a combination of e-signatures and online portals to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
Most businesses will have been busy checking whether their existing contracts contain force majeure clauses in recent weeks. These exempt a party from fulfilling its obligations or from doing so on time.
Contract automation software can read a contract in a minute or two and advise on whether these clauses exist, and can process contracts in bulk, saving significant amounts of time.
Recognising that some new contracts may be temporary, and that businesses may be dealing with high volumes of contracts that will need to reviewed and referred back to in the coming months (particularly in the event of any litigation or claims against the business), secure data portals can be used to enable quick and easy access to the latest versions of all of a company’s contracts.
These portals can also be used to record, report and analyse the data within those contracts, and provide a dashboard of information – for example, how many contracts are coming up for review in the next three months or how many contracts are with sectors that are experiencing difficulty, such as leisure.
Coming back to e-signatures, the government’s advice on self-isolation and social distancing (including the closure of many businesses and the rule to work from home if possible) means that businesses can no longer guarantee access to printers and scanners.
This makes getting signatures from parties to the contract particularly challenging. E-signature software is really easy to use, and can be integrated with the data sharing portals mentioned above to ensure that final signed versions are stored centrally and easy to access. Businesses can even avoid taking a licence themselves if they are able to use services such as TLT’s Signatures-as-a-Service.
See our article, COVID-19: signatories working remotely – how can you maintain business continuity? for further information on technological solutions and other challenges.
A lot of industries are seeing an unprecedented level of demand on their legal teams. Financial services firms for example are dealing with an inordinately high volume of enquiries and requests from their customers, who want to confirm their legal position with regards to their finances at these difficult times or are interested in accessing the new government-backed loans.
Online collaboration platforms are enabling in-house lawyers to work effectively with outsourced, virtual teams. They enable the effective sharing of work, visibility of progress, transparency on the service being delivered and SLAs, and seamless integration with bespoke reporting requirements.
For information on how TLT can support you please see our Coronavirus response solution.
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at April 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.