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Top 10 Legal Docs - The Work Horses

Strong foundations aren't visible

15 minutes • 13 Jun 19

workhorses

Ten foundational legal documents underpin the majority of the vital processes present in most businesses. At GLS, we call them the “Work Horses” and in far too many businesses they are not being cared for correctly. 

In a world defined by technology and innovation the attention of the in-house lawyer (the “IHL”) can easily stray towards the “next big thing” and away from their dutiful servants, the Work Horses.

Yet, the Work Horses account for, or underpin, much of the economic value of a business. When performing properly they facilitate stability, transparency and optimised business performance.

In this Blog we provide the IHL community with a timely recap of the strategic importance of the Work Horses – a message that should be passed on by IHLs to their businesses.

Indeed, one of our most disruptive IHL recommendations is to recognise that the Work Horses are the diet, exercise and sleep that drives the overall well-being of your business, and they are easy to optimise.

“Business-enabling” Work Horse templates are an essential inclusion for any legal template library and are the cornerstone of a highly-effective legal resource leverage strategy that allows IHLs to:

  • maximise their impact on business fundamentals;
  • create a platform for even greater strategic contributions to their business; and
  • drive greater IHL value recognition.

The GLS Legal Operations Centre ™, holds our world-class online library of automated legal templates, can help you deploy a definitive Work Horse strategy that allows you to do the simple things exceptionally well.

Try our GLS Legal Docs for free -  create an NDA

Work horses & their strategic importance

Not everything IHLs do is new, exciting and glamorous – but the criticality of the role and the potential for greater strategic contributions frequently resides in its “business as usual” nature.

In the below infographic we have identified 5 irrefutably vital processes present in most business and identified the Work Horse agreements that enable or underpin those processes.

Whilst the Work Horses identified above might, at first blush, seem “garden variety”, this does not, for a second, diminish their potential strategic importance to a business.

As such, it is critical that IHLs remind themselves (and their businesses) of the importance of the support they provide via the Work Horse - if IHLs cannot appreciate it, no one else will.

In the remainder of this Blog we help IHLs identify some of the many ways that the Work Horses can make substantive and qualitative contributions to vital business processes.

Supply Chain DocumentsInformation Documents

Sales Agreement

Services Agreement

Purchase Orders

Website T&Cs

Privacy Policies / Data Processor

Non-Disclosure Agreement

When drafted well these:

Recognise supply chain criticality

Optimise supply chain performance

Support vendor performance management

Facilitate faster deal closure and renewal

Place focus on vendor performance

Reduce the need for procurement/legal support

Reduce the need for external consultants

Preserves management time

Makes contracts that are easier to manage

Improve vendor relations

Enable “deal memory”

Reduce incidence of disputes

Encourage efficient dispute resolution

Facilitate supply automation/workflows

When drafted well these:

Enable critical information flows

Make it easier for parties to deal with you

Facilitate third-party commercial dealings

Promote safer data collection practices

Reduce GDPR type risk exposure

Enhance a business’s reputation

Enhance responsible data user status

Protect your own valuable data

Mitigate data usage risks

Protect the monetary value of information

Accommodate flexible business growth

Facilitate data leverage growth

Facilitate online trading

Protect your online assets

IP/IT Documents

Human Resource Documents

IP Licenses

IP Assignment

Employment Agreement

When drafted well these:

  • Recognise the vital role of IP assets
  • Protect key business IP assets
  • Allow for IP asset register growth
  • Drive up the valuation of your business
  • Allow for IP asset monetisation
  • Enable IP assets to be used as loan collateral
  • Reduce the risk of third party IPR claims
  • Allow for R&D to occur more efficiently
  • Can reduce capital requirements

When drafted well this:

  • Recognises criticality of human assets
  • Makes it easier to attract top talent
  • Creates positive first impressions
  • Explains roles and responsibilities
  • Locks in employee generated IPR
  • Enables employee performance management
  • Delivers performance incentives
  • Recognises that employee disputes do arise
  • Mitigates the risk of employee claims
  • Smooths out bad hire departures
  • Protects a business from reputational risk
  • Protects against client/employee solicitation

Finance Documents

Loan Agreement

When drafted well this:

  • Reflects that cash is a business’s runway
  • Evidences availability of funding
  • Reduces financing costs
  • Ensures security packages are proportionate
  • Ensures that operations are not inhibited by external parties
  • Reduces compliance costs
  • Provides lenders with sensible “default terms”
  • Facilitates cash flow stability
  • Facilitates low-risk business growth

Business-enabling legal contracting

Given the centrality of these Work Horses to your most vital business processes, it is critical to have them in a condition that maximises their strategic contribution to those processes  and drives IHL value recognition.

The potency of your Work Horses can and does materially impact the ability of your business to initiate, sustain and optimise the vital business processes that drive its overall performance.

“These contracts need to be well thought out and well drafted 

and can be crucial to the success of a business.” -  Forbes

However, for many businesses the condition of their Work Horse templates does not reflect their significance to the business. Indeed, many businesses have precedent libraries that:

  • are a mess of ad hoc templates pulled together from various sources of varying quality;
  • are legally sound but are impenetrable to "non-lawyers" and take far too long to agree with a counter-party;
  • are stored in multiple and decentralised locations resulting in inconsistent use;
  • are updated irregularly and fail to inspire user confidence; or
  • do not reflect a consistent legal risk profile, usually reflecting the absence of an authoritative legal risk policy.

In contrast, using top quality Work Horses means facilitating a contracting experience that involves:

  • documents that are easy to work with – i.e. quick to read, quick to be understood by “non-lawyers”, quick to agree, easy to amend, easy to review and easy to administer;
  • documents that set the deal up for success by being absolutely clear on each party’s respective rights and obligations;
  • documents that do not waste key-stakeholder time on “white noise” issues/negotiations;
  • documents that mean that external consultants are used only for matters that genuinely require their expertise;
  • documents that enable the building of the kind of cross-party deal rapport that sets the groundwork for successful long-term commercial relationship; and
  • a clear and continued focus on desired outcomes – the “what are we trying to achieve”, and creates the conditions needed for those outcomes to emerge.

For as little as a few hundred dollars, GLS gives IHL teams, of all sizes, access to the kind of “business enabling” Work Horse templates that will drive greater IHL value recognition.

The GLS Legal Template Solutions provide an online, fully curated and automated library of self-editing world-class legal templates that deliver contracting solutions for most common business scenarios.

Indeed, for the cost of what you may have last spent on a lunch you may access, on an unlimited basis, all of the 70+ legal documents available via The GLS Legal Template Solutions.

FREE DOWNLOAD: GLS’s Ultimate Guide to Legal Operations.

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