Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for analyzing, drafting, and proofreading contracts (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud practice management software five years in the making, a legal ebook reader app, case analysis software, an add-on for document management systems, a project management app for law firms, a virtual desktop service, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.
Contracts consist of structured data — sections, subsections, defined terms, etc. This means that software can save you time when drafting and also reduce errors through improved proofreading. Microsoft Word doesn't offer any specialized tools for contracts so you'll need an add-in.
Contract Tools … in One Sentence
Launched this month, Paper Software's Contract Tools is a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for drafting, analyzing, and proofreading agreements.
The Killer Feature
Traditional contract software has fallen into one of two camps — drafting or proofreading. This can result in having to purchase two or more products. By contrast, Contract Tools offers both drafting and proofreading tools, thus providing one-stop shopping.
"It's also fast and flexible," Paper Software co-founder Benjamin Whetsell told me when he visited our office recently. "To analyze contracts, Contract Tools uses a number of patent-pending technologies to analyze, say, 200 pages of dense legalese in a few seconds." Whetsell demonstrated Contract Tools' speed using a number of such agreements. It looked instantaneous.
Other Notable Features
Contract Tools resides in a panel adjacent to your document. A menu at the top enables you to navigate through the various tools. For example, the Provisions tool lists all the sections and subsections in the agreement. Click on any provision to jump there in the document. Similarly, the Defined Terms tool lists all defined terms, and the number of times each appears in the agreement. You can jump to a defined term's initial definition or to anywhere else in the document it resides.
Contract Tools doesn't just analyze your agreements. It also makes them interactive. Double-click a defined term for its definition, double-click a cross reference to view it, etc. The Back button brings you back to where you started. When you scroll through a document, Contract Tools displays the names of sections in large type as you reach them.
Virtually every contract contains sections that refer to other sections. The Related Items tool gives you omniscience beyond the human brain. For example, let's say you're reviewing Section 7. Contract Tools displays all the other sections that Section 7 references, all the sections that reference Section 7, and all the defined terms in Section 7. And of course you can jump to any of these with a click.
It's common practice to add placeholders, bracketed text, highlighted text, and comments to agreements while drafting to avoid losing your train of thought. The To-Dos tool in Contract Tools automatically finds these unfinished items so you won't forget to circle back. Also, Contract Tools' Autocomplete suggests defined terms as you type, reducing the number of placeholders you'll need in the first place.
For proofreading, the Drafting Errors tool lists problems such as undefined and duplicate defined terms, inconsistent formatting, unmatched punctuation, and list order errors. This list updates when you save your work. You can also ignore and hide problems that Contract Tools flags.
Microsoft Word's simplistic search tools don't cut it with lengthy agreements. Contract Tools enables you to search by number, date, time of day, unit of time, and money in addition to word searches. Thus, you can quickly find the termination date, the purchase price, interest rate, etc.
What Else Should You Know?
Contract Tools works with Word 2007 or later on Windows 7 or later. It costs $10 per month per user or $100 per year per user ($8.33 per month). Learn more about Contract Tools.
How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.