Why contract negotiations suck

22 October 2018

Andrew Mellett

Andrew Mellett

Founder & Executive Director

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Why contract negotiation suck

The legal function is the glue the stitches a business together. The connective tissue of strategy and execution.

Yet, legal tasks are a ball of admin, wrapped in paperwork, buried in bureaucracy. The cost of this is immense. Only 16% of junior lawyers are engaged – because they bear the brunt of the worst work. And although when you ask the business ‘do they value Legal’ you get a resounding “yes”, a recent study by Gartner suggests Legal is the biggest barrier to execution and innovation.

We believe it’s time to free the lawyers. It’s time to free inhouse teams to have a greater impact. And do it in a way that generates a competitive advantage.


Time audits have shown that the majority of an inhouse lawyers time is spent: (in meetings or emails) getting decent instructions, drafting, collaborating on documents or negotiating externally.

For the most part, this is not legal work. For the most part, brilliant lawyers doing this stuff is like using a Ferrari to go camping – it has some utility, but it’s a clear misallocation of resources. This work is the guff that prevents lawyers from getting to the real stuff. The stuff that generates competitive advantage, or protects the enterprise. The stuff your clients care about, and frankly, the stuff that is interesting.

But the core of the issue is not the work, not the business, not the law. The problem is that lawyers don’t have the tools they need to do the job. The receptionist is likely to have more tools for his function than the lawyer.

Need evidence of this? How many emails do you get a day? The volume of emails passing through a legal function is the symptom of the problem.

86% of GC’s rate ‘increasing the productivity of their lawyers’ as their highest priority.

What can you do about it?

We believe the answer is in the adoption of what we call ‘enablers’. Enablers slice through that ‘ball of admin’ and get the job done. Historically, most Legal Technology has no impact on productivity. They are Systems of Record (Matter Management, Contract Management etc). Enablers are the opposite, they embed into your workflow to boost your productivity.

Here are some of the tools every modern lawyer should have at their disposal:

  • Digital signatures
  • Legal task management and collaboration
  • Document comparison
  • Workflow
  • Contract approvals
  • Negotiation/collaboration portals

Consider something as simple as a contract negotiation. We are in the digital age, yet most contract negotiations involve meetings, teleconferences, and hundreds of emails. There is no ‘single version of truth’, no audit trail, no way of accelerating the process. The outcome? Lawyers work into the night on change tables, page turns, and edits.

What’s the answer? We believe it is having a ‘single version of the truth’, for you to collaborate on.

That’s why we have just launched a new Negotiation Portal within Legal Gateway. We estimate it will shave over 30% of the time it takes to collaborate on a contract. Multiple parties can now draft, collaborate, negotiate, compare, approve, and execute in one place. Lower risk. Higher productivity. Greater impact. It works like magic.


Accelerate your contract lifecycle

Plexus Gateway’s contract management software gives you everything you need to accelerate business productivity in one modular platform. Get contracts signed faster, streamline document workflows, collaborate in real-time and integrate with the apps you already rely on.

Learn more


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