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Process Automation: In-House Legal Department Gains Control of Contracts with HotDocs


A national provider of employer services faced a difficult challenge in its contract generation. The problem resulted from independent sales reps inadvertently using an out-of-date contract form or, in some cases, just choosing the wrong form. Furthermore, the company found that its nationally distributed reps were making ad hoc edits to contracts in order to close deals. As one company representative pointed out, the practice was “great for customer relations” but “devastating for contract control.”

To solve the problem, the company chose HotDocs document generation software. The company first transformed its highly complex contracts (dozens of pages and hundreds of data points) into a process application. UsingHotDocs Developer, knowledge workers merged simple and computed variables into the documents, and rules were defined that controlled the inclusion/exclusion of individual clauses. Finally, a sophisticated interview (sequence of interactive, data-gathering forms) was created.

This interview, which walked reps through the entire data-gathering process, validating numeric and date answers for range and providing question-specific help resources, forced reps to comply with the company’s own contracting policies. As a company representative put it, the interview left “no margin for error.”

In addition to solving the company’s compliance problem, HotDocs provided a number of other benefits. Training sales staff on the contracting process is easy and effective. Generating contracts is much more efficient, and risk resulting from ad-hoc contract drafting has virtually been eliminated.

“As a direct result of our implementation of HotDocs, we have fewer contract issues and a decreased legal budget when measured as a proportion of revenue,” stated the company’s spokesperson. “We have also freed up the time of our sales executives and increased our legal protection—we have a nil budget for litigation costs.”

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