Hierarchies – use cases and benefits

I have read the help section about hierarchies. I sort of get it, though it’s a bit complicated. I am wondering what the best uses are of saving and using hierarchies.

For example: I decided to create two separate but related dispute resolution clauses, one for mediation and the other for arbitration. These may be used together or separately, and if they are used together, it might result in some slight changes to one or the other. I could also consider jurisdiction and venue clauses as part of this dispute resolution category. Is there any value to making this group a hierarchy, as opposed to simply being leaving them as independent clauses that are, nevertheless, sensitive to each other in context (per @robbert.jacobs’s response to me, here – second to last ¶).>

Thanks for thoughts.

  1. Probably the most interesting reason why you would want to create a hierarchy here, is that you can insert the entire hierarchy with a single click (instead of having to insert each of the clauses in the hieararchy separately). Depending on the number of clauses within the hierarchy, this is either a trivial advantage (if the number of clauses is low) or huge advantage (e.g., if the hierarchy is an entire sub-chapter of a long contract).

  2. Also, do take into account that the amount of work required to insert a few clauses in Assemble Documents may be quite limited, but inserting optional clauses in the Q&A (through change sets) is more involved.

In fact, if you would be inserting optional clauses at the Q&A level through these change sets, I would strongly recommend using hierarchies. Not only because of the amount of clicks involved, but also because the dynamic nature of the Q&A — you are inserting clauses into a document whose contents may change due to other change sets interfering with it — will make it more difficult to precisely position the individual clauses in the way you want them. Having a hierarchy that assigns a fixed position to the clauses is then very beneficial.

I understand.

I guess what’s not clear to me from the help pages is whether the clauses that are in a hierarchy can also be managed and used as individual clauses. E.g., can Clause A1 be an individual clause as well as part of a hierarchy of A, A1, A2, B, B1, and C? And would any changes to Clause A1 flow through to the hierarchy?

Yep, that’s exactly the point!

You build A1, and can then for example use it:

  • separately
  • as part of some hierarchy H1
  • as part of some hierarchy H2
  • as part of some hierarchy H3, that itself combines H1 with some other clauses
  • etc.

And any change to A1 will immediately ripple through to all of those parts.