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“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.”
Even though American author, Anthony J. D’Angelo, wasn’t probably referring to legal templates when he said this — his advice still applies! Why start every new legal project with a blank document when legal templates can give you a head start? Templates provide a baseline (i.e. your wheel), so you can streamline processes, reduce errors, and boost productivity. Once you design and finalize templates to your preferences, you can then adjust them to align with the new project. Here’s how five types of legal templates can lead to a more eﬃcient legal department:
Matter Templates eliminates human errors
Manual data entry isn’t just time-consuming; it’s incredibly error- prone. Every time you create each matter from scratch, you risk inputting data incorrectly or leaving out important information.Matter templates guide your team on how to create matters correctly. You determine how you want specific matters formatted, and the templates keep your team in-line. When matters are created and billed-to correctly, you gain better control over the process and significantly reduce errors.
Contract Templates reduce disagreements between sales and legal
If you have written a contract once, you’ll likely need a similar agreement in the future too. Instead of making sales run to legal for drafting a new contract every single time, you can save time by simply creating pre-approved contract templates. Contract templates create consistency in legal language. Pre- approved templates expedite contract creation as well. When you have standard legal templates for specific matters or working relationships — such as non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) — you just won’t need to start with a blank page every time you need to draw up a new contract.
Report Templates provide better visibility to the management
When you generate periodic reports, it is likely that you report on the same type of information monthly — for instance, timekeeping info, spends by matter, accruals, etc. Creating report templates for these parameters makes the information consistent and accessible to your entire team. With standardized reporting in place, your department can make more informed decisions about everything, from hiring needs to budget allocation. You can look at the same set of data in several different ways. Report templates provide automated guidance on generating custom reports, from which data to include to how it should be presented. So, instead of puzzling over something like Graph A, your team can agree on a reporting format that everyone can interpret.
Invoice Templates can make processing time faster
Small (and often inadvertent) variations in invoice formatting can lead to confusion and eventually, billing disputes — both of which cause unnecessary delays.Having standard Invoice Templates gives you better control over the invoicing timeline — outside counsel won’t need to create an invoice from scratch each time, so submissions and payments happen faster.
Billing Guideline Templates fortifies customer expectations
Your billing guidelines define what you expect from both, your clients as well as external law firms and what they can expect from you. Creating billing guideline templates let you clearly and unequivocally establish your core requirements and preferences for every working relationship. For instance, if you expect weekly budget updates from every external law firm you work with, you can include that requirement in your billing guidelines template. When handled properly, billing guidelines can create long-lasting partnerships between legal departments and vendors that benefit both parties.
From the above it becomes evident that when you use pre-defined templates for your most important, common and repeating activities, you automatically reduce / eliminate the element of human errors from critical documents and files. Additionally, templates are the smarter, better and often the fastest way of using LegalTech in all aspects of your corporate legal department.