Legislate Empowers Non-Lawyers to Manage Their Legal Contracts
Founded in 2019, Legislate offers contract management solutions for non-lawyers. Utilising their patented knowledge graph technology, Legislate’s platform allows businesses and individuals to create, manage and search for contracts. By using Legislate, clients don’t have to seek external legal counsel since all contract templates are approved by their legal department before being made available to the public. Not only does Legislate make it easier to create custom, low-value, high-volume contracts, but it also allows users to access their complete contract data since they can bring together all their contracts in one place.
The legal technology platform is generally targeted toward small businesses and big landlords who need contract assistance but cannot justify the cost of legal services for frequent use. Using Legislate’s platform, clients can create the contracts themselves by filling in the required information for the template of their choice with no legal budget. Thus, the process of creating, reviewing, and signing contracts becomes much more streamlined for both ends. Landlords can manage their tenancy contracts whereas small-to-medium-sized businesses can oversee their employment or NDA agreements from a single source.
An Engineer Innovating the Legal Playground
Legislate is a startup that is born out of the founder’s pain point. In his previous role, where he worked as a business developer in a startup, Charles Brecque realised that the process, starting from creating to reviewing to signing contracts, followed the same route. It cost companies valuable time and energy waiting for both parties to approve changes since the contracts were not machine readable and required lawyers to manually do the work. To prevent businesses from missing or delaying deals due to slow processing, he founded Legislate in 2019, headquartered in Oxford.
Brecque’s vision was to create a safe, robust, and high-quality framework in which business users could create and alter contracts without necessarily getting their legal teams involved. However, “[c]ontracts are not always intuitive,” says Brecque, especially when most people don’t go around creating contracts on a regular basis. In this regard, their biggest challenge was “simplifing the process and providing a transparent experience.” To overcome this obstacle, Brecque and his team conducted interviews with users and utilised product analytics to identify potential blockers that could create confusion. Brecque’s background in engineering and machine learning, of course, aided them in the process.
Legislate’s investment journey started out with a £150,000 pre-seed round at the beginning of 2020, which Brecque comments, is a good way to get things going. Smaller amounts of capital meant when they made a mistake, it would be less costly, allowing a first-time founder room to grow. In their seed round in 2021, however, they raised £1 million. Whereas their pre-seed was powered by angel investors, the seed round’s major investors were Parkwalk Advisors, which focuses on UK-based technology companies, and Perivoli Innovations.
If you would like to learn more about Legislate and how they managed their investment process, you can listen to our podcast episode with Founder & CEO Charles Brecque.
As of now, Legislate has partnered with three other companies to enhance their user experience, including CompaniesMadeSimple, Uncapped, and Pikl.
MadeSimple Group has teamed up with Legislate to provide recruitment companies with lawyer-approved contracts without incurring legal costs. With MadeSimple’s offer, businesses can handle essential contracts like recruitment terms of business, non-disclosure agreements, and employment agreements at a discounted rate.
Legislate got together with Uncapped, on the other hand, to fund online businesses. Due to their partnership, Legislate customers will benefit from a 5% discount on flat fees of 6-12% Uncapped charges on the capital they provide.
And finally, as a fast-growing InsurTech company, Pikl is enabling the Sharing Economy to flourish. They provide short-term letting insurance and traditional home/landlord insurance for both landlords and tenants.
One of the Top 10 Startups to Disrupt the LawTech Industry
In 2021, The NewLaw Academy published Disrupting the Legal Industry: Insights from 40 Funded Legal Tech Startups and in the report they named Legislate amongst the top 10 startups disrupting the legal tech industry. By digitalising the contract process, Legislate is on the route to diverging a new category in the industry that is much needed in the 21st century. “The unlawyered have been largely unserved by the legal tech market, so we are excited at Legislate to bring modern, cloud-based contract management to small businesses who can’t afford or justify a full-time legal counsel,” comments Brecque in the report.
End-to-End Experience for Non-Lawyers
Legislate is the only contract management platform that is designed exclusively for non-lawyers that allows users to create and digitally sign all agreements from a single place. From their template library, users can choose the type of agreement they want to create, set terms, add parties from their team if required (i.e. witnesses, legal counsel or supporting signatories) as well as from the other side, and simply negotiate and agree on terms and sign on Legislate.
Nevertheless, Legislate’s services don’t stop in contract creation. Powered by their technology, they offer a great deal of flexibility regarding how users can configure their contracts and personalise them for their specific needs. Legislate offers a whole suite of templates from which the users can select the one that is most appropriate for them and by simply changing answers in a form they can update the contract without even having to insert a clause or make edits on their own. Users don’t need to be concerned about enforceability or consistency issues since all of their templates are regularly reviewed and kept up to date.
Their suite of templates includes:
- Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
- Lodger Licence Agreement
- Lettings Agent Terms of Business
- Employment Agreement
- Consultancy Contract
- Internship Agreement
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
A major focus of Legislate is to allow users to gather and track their contract data in an easy-to-use, scalable, and searchable manner. Brecque says that the reason why their services are so affordable is because they don’t consider “the value of what [they] provide as being the template, [but] the data, the analytics, tracking” and they are currently building public API.
In the future, they are planning to make the data exportable in spreadsheets to enable users to access the answers they need directly. Another goal for them is third-party integration with their software so that the data is exchangeable and users can create contracts from their platforms.
Legislate has features where users can put their complete contract data to use.
Search and Filter
It can be a pain to keep track of contracts post-signature. Users can easily search for contracts that meet their criteria and filter based on contractual terms with Legislate’s advanced search.
Quickly and Accurately Calculate Contract Statistics
Users can easily access key statistics about their contracts. For example, landlords can calculate their total rental income by extracting rent values of your agreement or employers can calculate their payroll costs.
Track Key Dates
Often, contracts contain key dates such as expiration dates and notice windows, which can be difficult to identify and track manually. By automatically keeping track of these dates, users can be prepared for renewals or terminations.
Track Contract Changes
When parties modify contracts, it can be difficult to track the changes. As a result, it is necessary to review contracts whenever changes occur. Legislate can track and record contract changes in a centralised ledger where both parties access and conduct cross references without reviewing the whole agreement.
Track Contract Rights and Obligations
Without legal counsel, it can be difficult to be aware of the rights and obligations for non-lawyer users. This in turn can give way to contract breaches. In order to prevent breaches Legislate automatically highlights both sides’ rights and obligations.
Automate Signature Reminders
By automating signature reminders, agreements can be signed more quickly without dangering the execution of contracts.
Highlight FAQs About Your Contract
Legales and boiler plate clauses can make contracts harder to read. By utilising Legislate’s FAQs toggle, users can see highlighted explanations to understand the meaning of particular sections and why they need to be in the contract.
Instead of long email threads with sensitive information regarding contracts, Legislate’s instant messaging allows for contract parties to conduct their communications much more efficiently.
Re-use Historical Contract Terms When Creating New Contracts
Although each contract is unique to itself, contracts such as tenancy or employment agreements usually contain common terms. With Legislate, users can create contracts extremely quickly and without the risk of errors by simply auto-filling repetitive contract terms with answers from previous contracts.
Legislate really makes it easy to create and sign contracts. However, this can cause parties to sign documents far too quickly sometimes. If users sign contracts before the documents are ready they can revert their signature and other parties are notified. This is only applicable to contracts that are still pending.
Add a Witness to a Contract
From Legislate’s people tab, users can add witnesses to their contracts to verify the signatories.
The key objective of Legislate is to make contracts machine readable. With their team of 12, Legislate is growing its client base by %30 a month. Right now, they are only focusing on low value, high volume contracts that they can easily keep track of, update if necessary, and offer with high quality. Moreover, they put emphasis on the management of the contract data more than the creation process itself.
Nevertheless, to offer users a way to gather their contracts in a single place, Brecque explains that they may have to step outside of their comfort zone. “[I]f someone came to us asking for a very bespoke contract, that’s not necessarily a good fit for Legislate today. But maybe in the future, we’ll definitely want to address those because at the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is make it so that anyone can have all their contracts in one place because there’s a lot of value in having all your contracts in one place for the data. But even just you know, you don’t want to have 234 different systems to keep track of your contracts. So, in the long term, that’s definitely where we want to go,” says Brecque.
From what they are doing today and what they are planning to do, Legislate is a LawTech startup that is en route to becoming an industry giant. For more information, you can visit Legislate’s website.