Seal Software, the company that helped spawn the increasingly competitive field of enterprise contract review and analytics, has now expanded into the pre-execution, negotiation side of the contracts lifecycle with the launch of Seal Now, a contract analytics product specifically designed to review draft contracts prepared by a third party on its own templates.
In so doing, Seal is facing a new group of competitors that already offer contract prescreening, including BlackBoiler, ContractLogix, LawGeex, and ThoughtRiver. But Seal has the market advantage of an established customer base and technology that works across the contract lifecycle, from negotiation to review.
Using the AI and analytics capabilities of Seal’s contract analytics platform, Seal Now analyzes contract drafts and delivers a “scorecard” grading the extent to which they conform to conform to or diverge from a company’s legal standards and playbooks. These scorecards — which use red, yellow and green lights similar to a traffic light — are provided directly within Microsoft Word and also delivered via email.
According to the company, Seal Now incorporates a combination of AI insights using Seal’s contract analytics platform, a logic engine to confirm compliance with a company’s playbook, a clause library to allow substitution of preferred or approved language, and scorecards and dashboards to show key information and guide the negotiator to critical areas of the draft contract.
Seal’s general counsel, Laurie Brasner, told me in an interview yesterday that she uses Seal Now in her own work and that it has been a game changer for her.
As GC of a growing company, she explained, she cannot personally review every contract. But what she can do is identify the elements that she most cares about and, by using Seal Now, quickly review contract drafts and make sure they are all there. “The speed and accuracy are crucial, and it gives me the confidence to move forward.”
It also serves a triage function, she said, giving her a quick and early look at the likely issues in the negotiation and helping her decide the right lawyer in her department to handle it. It also helps her work with her internal sales staff in negotiating a contract, enabling her to identify the business issues they should tackle and the legal issues her lawyers should handle. “It shows us how we can work in tandem from early on.”
Seal said that it beta tested the Seal Now product with several clients, including the enterprise legal services provider UnitedLex, and that UnitedLex will now be making it a core part of its own service offering, predicting that its own clients will achieve more than $250 million in accelerated revenue due to more rapid contracting cycle times. (The statement did not give a time frame for that assertion.)
Seal Now is not a substitute for the work done by lawyers in negotiating and drafting contracts, Brasner said, but it drives efficiency by speeding review and enhancing the accuracy of the review, and it gives her assurance that contracts are being handled in the right way, even if she cannot review each and every one.