Roy Strom today published an article on DocuSign's acquisition of Seal. The goal, as stated by Olrich and Wagner (two super-smart guys!) is to automate contracting to the point where lawyers are not required.
I commented on this to say that the goal should not be to automate contracting to remove lawyers but rather to automate it so that lawyers can focus on more substantive matters in contracting while the non-bespoke and non-legal elements are automated.
I do believe this partnership will benefit the industry and if done right, should enable lawyers to practice more law, which will lower risk for their companies as well as make better use of lawyer's talents and improve overall morale of the in-house legal team. Sounds utopian? Not really. We can get there... over time.
“The legal obligations of a company are not trivial, and I don’t think it makes sense to automate it to the point where you aspire to remove lawyers from it. That’s not democratizing it. That’s increasing risk to the organization... Rather, one should aspire to automate non-bespoke, mechanical elements of contracting so lawyers can focus on more substantive issues of law.”