Guest Post By Ehren J. Brav, Founder and CEO of GreenLine Legal
Technology is streamlining many of the most time-consuming aspects of corporate law. This is good news both for attorneys and clients alike, freeing them to focus more time on the highest value tasks and increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of legal services.
This idea was the genesis of GreenLine Legal, the company I founded after several years as an associate in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb. I set out to build a suite of tools that I most wanted in my own practice. The heart of these tools would be a technology to allow computers to identify the various provisions of legal agreements – from this core capability, numerous applications would follow.
The first application, and for me the most obvious, was to streamline due diligence. The inefficiency of the legal diligence process is the initial hunt-and-seek stage, where attorneys read through the contracts of a company and paste the relevant provisions into a spreadsheet. The critical component of diligence, and the place where an astute attorney is essential, comes later when the lawyer carefully reviews the relevant provisions that he or she spent hours extracting. So why not automate this first step?
That’s precisely what our technology can do – you select a body of agreements to analyze and GreenLine can extract selected provisions from each agreement into a spreadsheet. It’s simply a much more efficient and cost effective way of conducting legal due diligence.
The second major application is to compare multiple agreements. Imagine a client sends his counsel a new agreement to review. The attorney likely has several precedents from that client or in-house models to compare it against, but blacklining is useless unless these documents are already very similar. Thus most attorneys simply resort to eyeballing the differences. What GreenLine does instead is line up the matching provisions from each agreement before it compares the text, creating a much more meaningful comparison. This solves one of the big daily headaches of corporate practice.
GreenLine’s technology has applications in knowledge management as well. Specifically, GreenLine provides a better understanding of market information, a critical advantage in commercial negotiations. You simply select all the agreements you want to create a precedent table from – the software produces the spreadsheet in seconds displaying whichever provisions you’d like side-by-side for rapid analysis.
A fourth use is for creating and analyzing example forms. GreenLine makes it easy to track the evolution of form language in actual deals, allowing firms to get much better visibility of how their language is being changed in actual negotiations. This information can also be used to update the models themselves and better craft them to the needs of the clients.
GreenLine Legal is looking for partners that are as excited about this new technology as we are. The software can be easily customized to suit particular types of agreements or to search for and identify specific provisions. We think GreenLine will soon become as ubiquitous and useful a technology as blacklining – something that you’d now find very hard to live without. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a demonstration or free trial.