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Creating a suite of document automation tools

LCN Legal

A story from Makerpad

Creating a suite of document automation tools

Hi, I'm a co-founder of a corporate law firm called LCN Legal. One of our specialisms is 'intercompany agreements' - the legal agreements which multinational groups need, in order to define the terms on which services, products, IP and financial support are provided between the companies within a group. It's a very niche area, because it crosses the disciplines of 'tax' and 'legal'.

We find that many groups lack the agreements they need - or else get the agreements completely wrong. This exposes them to unnecessary risks of fines, penalties and additional tax.

So we decided to create a series of document automation tools, so that tax and finance professionals can create best-in-class draft intercompany agreements, even if they don't have a legal background. We make these tools available to others on a pay-per-use basis, and we also use them internally.

We used the Documate platform to create a suite of online questionnaires. We developed template documents in Microsoft Word, and uploaded them to Documate, so that the questionnaire responses result in appropriate draft agreements with the necessary functionality.

We started with the simplest agreement type. It took a couple of days to get the first document automation tool started - it does need a bit of thought and focus, but it was much easier than I expected, and the customer support at Documate is fantastic.

We then extended the automation tools to cover more complicated projects, and also bilingual documents (English / Chinese).

The tools dramatically reduce the time taken to create agreements - users can complete a questionnaire in just 5 to 10 minutes, and they don't need to spend additional time briefing lawyers who may not be familiar with the subject matter.

"I'm convinced that the move to create accessible technology tools will  transform the legal world. Obviously every tool has its own 'language' that you need to get familiar with, so there is a learning curve, but the exciting thing is that pretty much everyone can achieve incredible results without any formal 'coding' training"

I'm convinced that the move to create accessible technology tools will  transform the legal world. Obviously every tool has its own 'language' that you need to get familiar with, so there is a learning curve, but the exciting thing is that pretty much everyone can achieve incredible results without any formal 'coding' training. You don't need a huge R&D team or an IT background.

There are times where you can get stuck, so it's good to have access to a human who can help unstick you. Fortunately, the support at Documate is great.

One thing I love about the whole process is that the quality and functionality of document automation tools can be improved over time - as opposed to treating each project as a one-off exercise. This is truly transformational.

The only thing I would have done differently is to have started 10 years ago. Now, we're passionate about using these available tools not just for one specialist area, but for all the legal support we provide to clients. The aim is provide benefits to everyone in terms of quality, speed and value for money.

"The only thing I would have done differently is to have started 10 years ago."

Here's a link to our current suite of automation tools relating to intercompany agreements: https://lcnlegal.com/fast-track-ica-drafting-service/

We have an email newsletter on corporate structures for multinational groups, and please do reach out to us at info@lcnlegal.com if you would like to be added to our mailing list. You can find recent newsletter articles here: https://lcnlegal.com/blog/

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