There are a lot of people pushing for contract process automation. Ken Adams, famously known for his contract style manual, has been on this bandwagon for some time now. Others are close behind – all trying to find ways to automate the parts of the contracting process that can be automated.
While I’m a big fan of gadgets and tools, and yes, even templates, I worry a bit about what is being offered by way of these various forms companies. Recently, I wrote about WhichDraft – a good service with templates that (while I didn’t review all of them) seem to at least have been written by someone with knowledge of what is supposed to go in them. On the other hand, I see hundreds of software developers looking online to find a sample agreement that they can crib for their own use.
I’ve tried time and again to express to these developers (and my fellow contracts professionals) that templates are all well and good – if you wrote them yourself or if you know and/or trust the author. If, however, you’re simply grabbing whatever you can find – or using a pay service who doesn’t put the author’s name on the template, you might want to think twice. [In fact, I recently inquired of one such company and they wouldn’t even respond.]