Posted by Cannelle Magdane ● 6/7/21 5:45 PM
Empower Your Legal Team with Google Collaboration
Everyone can agree that collaboration is important for a business or project to succeed. However, nowadays, globalization is causing corporations to open offices in multiple countries, while remote work continues to increase following the Covid-19 pandemic. These shifts mean everyone is more likely to collaborate with people located in a different location. Thus, efficient remote collaboration is becoming essential to businesses of all sizes.
Efficient remote collaboration is a must-have for legal teams
In many industries, remote collaboration is not a new concept. Multinational developers teams are used to working remotely, yet collaboratively, to develop the best products. However, in the legal industry, remote collaboration can be a struggle as not many tools made for lawyers offer true collaboration.
Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions allow businesses to automate their contract processes at every key stage: creation/generation, negotiation, approval, execution, ongoing management as well as renewals. In doing so, contract management softwares try to bring collaboration to legal teams but, unfortunately, most of them are not very successful at it … for one simple reason: real-time collaboration is hard, it’s an engineering challenge!
Collaboration is hard but key to an efficient contract management process. When you are negotiating a contract, many different stakeholders are usually involved and, without the right collaboration tools, they work on their own separate copies of the contract, sending new revisions back and forth via email, wasting a lot of time and creating a proliferation of "almost final" copies of the document.
Any legal department looking for efficiency and quality must implement true collaboration between its legal team member, legal team and other business stakeholders. With efficient remote collaboration tools, lawyers will work more efficiently, gain time, and better share knowledge to avoid reinventing the wheel each and every time.
AODocs CLM, the sole contract management software leveraging Google’s collaboration to help legal professionals achieve effective remote collaboration
AODocs CLM is the sole CLM software made for Google Workspace and built on top of Google Drive. Thanks to this specificity, AODocs CLM allows legal teams to leverage Google’s best-in-class collaboration tools while still bringing all the control needed to properly protect contracts (corporate ownership, granular permission management, version control, audit log, etc.).
As an in-house legal counsel at AODocs, I believe all of Google’s collaboration tools are great (Google Chat, Google Meet, Google Sheet, Google Slides, etc.) but the AODocs’ legal team’s favorite is the Google Docs editor. Any lawyer who joined our legal team after working on a Microsoft environment can testify to it: Google Docs editor functionalities are a game-changer in the way legal teams work together and interact with other business teams.
We know lawyers sometimes struggle to move from Microsoft Word to Google Docs, so you might think “I want to keep using MS Word so this does not concern me”. Well, stay tuned, because it does concern you even if you want to stick with Microsoft Word!
- First, AODocs CLM is managing both Google format documents and Microsoft format documents, building a bridge between Google Drive and Microsoft documents. Notably thanks to our Universal File Opener Chrome extension that allows your users to open non-Google files locally on their computer using the corresponding software. The document will appear as checked out and any change will automatically be saved back to your Google Drive and AODocs CLM.
- Second, since December 2020, Google Docs editor can natively support MS Word documents so you can collaborate in real-time on MS Word in your Google Docs editor (without needing to convert your MS Word to Google Docs like it was required in the past). All the great features we mention below work with both Google Docs and MS Word documents (if you open them in the Google Docs editor)!
Let us highlight a few Google features that our legal team loves and uses to work more efficiently remotely:
Collaborate in real-time
Google is the sole solution to offer true real-time collaboration. You can collaborate on Google Docs in real-time to write or redline a contract collaboratively with one (or more) coworker.
Google Docs editor - real-time collaboration in action (This also works with MS Word documents)
Moreover, if you want to collaborate while still keeping tight control over the changes made in a document you can grant only limited access (called “Commenter” access) to your coworker rather than full edit rights. Your coworker will only be able to make changes to the documents in track changes or suggesting mode (and such changes won’t change the original text until approved by someone with full edit rights). AODocs CLM allows you to easily manage permissions on all your contracts at a granular level and can help you leverage this “Commenter” access Google feature. It’s a great solution if some of your coworkers tend to forget to activate the track changes features before changing a sensitive contract!
See and hear team members while collaborating
One of the new features released by Google in May 2021 that our legal team particularly likes at AODocs is the possibility to take your Google Meet directly in your Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides (see animation below, © Google). This takes collaboration to another level as teams are now able to co-edit a contract in real-time while seeing and hearing each other.
Google Docs editor - take your meetings directly from the document you are working on (This also works with MS Word documents)
Work in one contract, no more copies
Along with real-time collaboration, Google collaboration will bring another key advantage to your legal team: no more multiple copies of your contract circulating back and forth. This eliminates the risk of working on the wrong copy. This also eliminates the risk of missing some change made by your co-worker Alice when you consolidate the change she made in one copy with the change Bob made on another copy.
With AODocs CLM, built on top of Google Drive, everyone in your team is working on the same document, the single version of the truth of the contract, safely stored into your Google Drive and controlled by AODocs CLM contract repository. No more multiple copies of your contract that you need to carefully consolidate at the end of the review process!
Tag and assign tasks to people
Real-time collaboration is great, but efficient asynchronous collaboration is equally important! With Google Docs and AODocs CLM, you can tag and assign tasks to people directly in the contract you are working in, gaining time, reducing email overload, and avoiding having multiple copies of the contract in circulation.
You are reviewing a contract and you see a data privacy clause. Rather than sending an email to Bob, your data privacy lawyer, just select the clause, leave a comment and assign it to Bob. Bob will receive an email notification from Google and in one click he will be able to directly access the clause he needs to review in your contract (the single version of truth of this contract safely controlled by AODocs CLM).
Google Docs editor - tag and assign tasks to coworkers (This also works with MS Word documents)
Access your contract full edit history ...
Google Docs editor offers a full history of changes allowing you to keep track of all changes made to your contract or other legal documents, and easily restore a previous version.
Google Docs editor (embedded into AODocs CLM) - access the version history of your contract (This works with MS Word documents as well)
We know that Google edit history is often not sufficient for lawyers who need stronger version control. AODocs CLM offers a powerful version control feature so your team will be able to leverage both Google's full edit history and more traditional version control.
… or just the edit history of a specific clause or sentence
Recently, Google added a new feature: the ability to see the edit history of a specific paragraph or sentence. With a simple right-click on wording you can see every person who edited it and when:
Google Docs editor - see the edit history of any selected text
This also works with MS Word documents)
Easily review and redline contracts on the go
Another major benefit of Google is their “mobile-first” approach: everything they do, from Gmail to Google Drive and Google Docs, work as well on mobile devices as on desktop computers. Moreover, AODocs CLM also offers a mobile application working tightly with all the Google mobile apps.
Mobile collaboration is key. If your employees cannot collaborate seamlessly on all devices, there is a high chance they will switch back to their old way by just sending documents as email attachments.
Working from your phone or tablet, the AODocs mobile app allows you to locate and access all your contacts and key information related to them. If you want to modify a contract, it will automatically be opened on Google Docs mobile app where you can collaborate in real-time with other coworkers, just like you would on a computer.
AODocs CLM mobile app - locate your contract, see all key information and open your contract for review and redline (through the Google Docs mobile app, see below)
Google Docs mobile app - track changes and collaborate in real-time (This also works with MS Word documents)
Are you wondering why you are not using Google collaboration capabilities yet? Maybe because collaboration is great but contracts and the data they contain are so sensitive that control is paramount? You are right, control is key when contracts are concerned. But control should not come at the expense of collaboration! And this is where AODocs CLM can change the way your legal team works, bringing the level of control required for contracts while still allowing your team to leverage Google's unmatched collaboration to work more efficiently.