Time to revisit startup document standardizationBy http://profile.typepad.com/1237764140s22740 // September 18, 2012 in Legal Docs
The cause of startup document standardization has gained pace recently.
We need to make time here on this blog to look into what Docracy, AngelList, VentureDocs and others are doing.
We can almost count on Ken Adams dropping in to remind us that the goal should be quality, rather than promulgation of nasty, ugly, ill-drafted forms.
Big law firms are thinking about all this too. Some are taking their document generation wizards - used internally for the sake of efficiency, quality control, and attorney training - and adapting them for use by non-lawyers.
Yesterday I had lunch with a big firm lawyer who has a comprehensive vision of how the documentation of transactions might be automated. Not just the filling out and distribution of templates, but the generation of those templates in the first place, the distribution of closing books, and everything in between.
A post on VC Experts this morning by Joe Bartlett reminds me that even standard documents must be curated so that they can be updated. His post is about changes in Delaware law and lessons taught by the Facebook IPO that argue for changes to one's Delaware corporate forms.
It's amazing how grudgingly information technology has been applied to documents! (Though I sense that is about to change.)
On the problem of keeping standard templates current with changes in the law and industry practice: imagine a given template as a heat map, revealing what provisions are being forked and the relative popularity of the variants. An isolated, rogue set of changes wouldn't even register on the heat map. But changes that became patterns would.