Computational Contract Collaboration and Construction

In: Erich Schweighofer et al. (Eds.) Co-operation. Proceedings of the 18th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2015. Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft OCG, Wien 2015, pp. 505–512 (ISBN 978-3-85403-309-7)

8 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2015 Last revised: 9 Aug 2015

See all articles by Meng Wong

Meng Wong

JFDI.Asia

Helena Haapio

University of Vaasa, School of Accounting and Finance, Business Law; Lexpert Ltd

Sebastiaan Deckers

Cofounders Pte Ltd

Sidhi Dhir

The Indus Entrepreneurs

Date Written: February 26, 2015

Abstract

In recent years, technology investors have published templates for investment deals, with the aim of reducing the costs and delays of startup financings by standardising common agreements and summarising complex contracts into shorter term sheets. These practices allow experienced investors and entrepreneurs to efficiently negotiate high-level business terms, involving counsel only later to review the expanded agreements.

In previous research, we have explored contract visualisation – the use of charts, images, and interactive interfaces to help non-lawyers quickly grasp contract essentials. This paper proposes a family of complementary approaches informed by computer science, which offers methods and practices relevant to, but presently little adopted in, legal drafting. Tools and techniques familiar to software engineers offer opportunities to simplify negotiation, automate document assembly, visualise scenarios, verify correctness, and transform the way contracts are shared and edited.

We review recent efforts to marry computing with “do-it-yourself” law, including Internet repositories of model contracts, document assembly wizard workflows, and opensource-style sharing of templates. We analyse these efforts using a four-part framework of automation, visualisation, collaboration, and formalisation. We then present our proof-of-concept prototype of an automated contract generation toolkit. It includes a collaborative online interface, a compiler which expands term sheets into long forms, and a document assembler which circulates signature-ready contracts, all without human involvement. We extrapolate a future where computational techniques are ubiquitous in contracting and in law, as they already are in entertainment, telecommunications, and finance.

Keywords: automated contract generation toolkit, contract visualisation, do-it-yourself law, document assembly, computational law, term sheets, venture financing

Suggested Citation

Wong, Meng and Haapio, Helena and Deckers, Sebastiaan and Dhir, Sidhi, Computational Contract Collaboration and Construction (February 26, 2015). In: Erich Schweighofer et al. (Eds.) Co-operation. Proceedings of the 18th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2015. Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft OCG, Wien 2015, pp. 505–512 (ISBN 978-3-85403-309-7), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2613869

Meng Wong

JFDI.Asia ( email )

71 Ayer Rajah Crescent #05-16
139951
Singapore

Helena Haapio (Contact Author)

University of Vaasa, School of Accounting and Finance, Business Law ( email )

P.O. Box 700
Wolffintie 34
Vaasa, FI-65101
Finland

Lexpert Ltd ( email )

Pohjoisranta 20
Helsinki, FI-00170
Finland

HOME PAGE: http://www.lexpert.com

Sebastiaan Deckers

Cofounders Pte Ltd ( email )

Singapore

Sidhi Dhir

The Indus Entrepreneurs ( email )

71 Ayer Rajah Crescent #05-16
Singapore

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