Contract review is often a team activity. Multiple people can share first level review duties across a pool of contracts. Others supervise first level reviewers' work. And others support this process and others analyze outputs. For example, in a large due diligence contract review project, a paralegal or secretary might assemble documents for review, a team of junior associates take the first crack at reviewing agreements, mid-level associates spot check findings. Senior associates might further spot check work, and everyone from junior associates up to partners could be involved in analyzing the findings. Given this shared workflow, I'm happy to report that DiligenceEngine now supports shared access to projects (and has for the last month or so).
DiligenceEngine users can share access to matters with others in their organization (e.g., law firm) via a few clicks. The shot below shows what a user sees while sharing:
This shot shows the easily-accessible sharing control panel, where users can change who they share access with:
Basic sharing itself is not that hard to enable. And we think sharing is very useful for users. So why did we take so long to add this feature? While basic sharing is easy, we thought our users needed a more complex implementation. And this took time. Here, complexity was driven by our need for:
- Flexibility. Many users might be content with giving view and edit rights to all they share with. But others have stricter requirements. Perhaps some users should only have the right to upload documents, a larger number the right to view results, some the right to edit, and only a few the right to download any material from the system. Thanks to the way we built our sharing framework, we can enable all sorts of access controls including these.
- Control. Much contract review work is confidential. It's critical that access controls actually work. For example, if a user does not have download rights they must not be able to download.
We think our sharing feature is built right.
Sometimes managers need to know where things went wrong when contract reviewers make mistakes; some large organizations demand auditability. Audit records didn't make sense without sharing, but now that the system allows multiple people to work on the same projects, we have added support for auditing.
While sharing is innately useful for our users, we're really excited for collaboration features we're now able to build into our system. The DiligenceEngine system already makes for much better contract review over the status quo. If you're not already using DiligenceEngine to review contracts, you're doing your contract review slower and less accurately than you could. Period. That said, we know there is lots more room for improvement in how contract review gets done. And look forward to showing you what's coming next.