Sneak preview: embedded clauses

Dear users,

We have prepared a package of cool new features that we want to preview to you.

Please have a look at the following short video:

1. Essentially, this new feature allows you to embed questions into the actual contract text.

Situations where we think this could be useful:

  • Clauses that use datafields in conditions (example in the video: specific vs. undefined duration).

    Such datafields will not normally “show up” as yellow placeholders in the contract text, so users cannot click on a placeholder to navigate to the associated question. In such scenario, it can be useful to repeat some questions immediately above or below the clause itself, to allow the user to fine-tune the clause.

  • Datafields regarding small details. Often, because it concerns such a small detail regarding a specific clause, you end up with long or cumbersome questions, because the question needs to sketch the context of where this tiny detail is relevant. Conversely, if the datafield gets immediately inserted into the clause text itself, any legal expert would immediately know what this is about.

  • Embedding comments or warnings in the middle of the contract text. Such comments/warnings will not end up in the exported PDF/DOCX file. In the video, you can see an example with the employee’s salary.

Within the ClauseBase team, we have intensely debated this subject, because this also has disadvantages:

  • Up to now, there was always a “single source of truth”. Users could trust that they should only look at the left side to cover everythin.

  • Contracts can easily get very long, and you do not want to force your users to scroll through the entire contract text to “hunt” for datafields that are still missing.

  • In many situations, your (non-legal) end-users will not be interested in — or even not understand — the contract text. You do not want to force users to read the contract text.

For these reasons, we have opted for an opt-in approach, so we continue to recommend to apply the traditional approach, and only apply the new feature where useful. (As illustrated by the video, you can essentially say that a question should always be embedded above/below the target clause; or instead optionally be shown if toggled with the triangle; or instead be embedded “inline” into the actual sentences of the text).

Moreover, (as illustrated by the video) you can dynamically toggle the visibility of all this embedding stuff. Through a simple condition on the change-set, you could, for example, specify that only advanced / legal users should see the embeddings, while all the basic/nonlegal users would get the traditional view. We think this will solve most concerns about the “single source of truth” and forcing users to scroll through the text at the right side.

2. As a nice side effect of the new embedding feature, you can now explicitly associate a specific question with a specific clause in the document text.

This solves the problem that, up to now, only questions targeting a specific datafield that is currently used in the contract text, could be clicked by end-users. (You have probably seen the error message “No impacted clause is currently visible”.)

Another nice addition is that you will now also immediately see in Design Q&A which questions are not associated with any clause (= may or may not be an error), and in the opposite direction which datafields are not associated with any question (= probably an error).

In the video, you can see this with the “working hours” datafield, painted in white on red.

What do you think? Any thoughts or additional use cases that you have in mind?

1 Like

Looks very useful!

The opt-in approach looks great for me. This way, Q&A’s can be adapted to the user. For contracts that need to be drafted very quickly and easily, the traditional approach seems best. For heavily negotiated contracts between lawyers, the new approach will be useful. Like you said, this feature will then especially come in handy for datafields regarding small details.

How I see it, I would use this in the following way:

  • I would put all embedded clauses in the Q&A itself as well, to be sure that the user doesn’t miss any questions.
  • I would mostly use embedded questions for very specific datafields.
  • I would put a help-sign at the relevant question and suggest the user to click on it to see its place in the contract. When the user does this, he will be directed to the relevant part in the contract and will immediately know what the question refers to (like you suggested).

Hope this helps!

Looking forward to the implementation of this feature :smiley:

1 Like