Archive: January, 2007

The Sweet Spot of Document Assembly

Things have been rather busy at Exari during the last 12 months. Our customer list, user base, and revenues have doubled (or more) and there’s no sign of a slow-down any time soon. Which begs the question: what’s going on? Why are so many people embracing document assembly now when they didn’t in the past?

The answer, we think, is that web-based document assembly tools have matured to the point where it’s now practical to automate more than just consumer-oriented, high-volume, fill-in-the-blanks, standard forms. People are discovering that a large chunk of their business-to-business deals fall into a new category of “semi-standard” contracts. They’re not standard form. But they do follow predictable patterns of negotiation and drafting. They do follow rules. And this is the new sweet spot for automation.

Before now, automation didn’t extend much beyond consumer scenarios (think bank statements and consumer finance contracts). Back-office, standard form systems were built, and – because there was never any negotiation – they worked just fine.

Bye-Bye Billable Hour

Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler doesn’t mince his words when it comes to law firms and their addiction to the billable hour:

As Cisco gets bigger, the share of revenue devoted to legal expense needs to gets smaller. Letters from law firms telling me how much billing rates are going up next year are therefore totally irrelevant to me… I don’t care what billing rates are. I care about productivity and outputs.

FSA Goes Soft on Contract Certainty

I always thought “certain” meant 100% certain. How can something be “certain” if it’s only 90% certain? It just doesn’t sound right. But who cares what I think. In the London insurance market, it’s what the FSA thinks that matters. And it turns out that 90% certain is certain enough for them.

The two-year deadline for contract certainty in the London insurance market has now passed, and the FSA has decided that the industry has done enough to dodge the bullet of regulatory intervention.

Never mind that, strictly speaking, the goal of contract certainty has still not been met.