Making the most of templates and playbooks

August 17, 2023

In-house legal teams can maximise the benefits of templates and playbooks by creating standardised documents and processes for common legal tasks. These can include contracts, NDAs, and compliance procedures. By using templates and playbooks, the team can save time, ensure consistency, and reduce the risk of errors. Regularly updating and refining these resources based on real-world experiences will help keep them relevant and effective. It's also important to provide training to team members on how to properly use and customise templates to meet specific needs.

Let's delve into more detail:

What is a template?

Templates serve as a starting point for creating various types of legal documents. They provide a structured framework that can be customised with specific information for each matter. In the context of in-house legal teams, templates can be used for NDAs, termination letters, license agreements, SaaS agreements, and more. Making the most of templates involves:

  • ensuring that templates reflect the organisation's legal standards, language, and requirements. Standardisation ensures consistency in communication and reduces the risk of misunderstandings.
  • customising to fit specific circumstances. Standardised templates should be easily customisable, and users should be trained in how to modify the template appropriately to capture unique details.
  • implementing a clear system for version control to track changes and updates to templates. This prevents the use of outdated or incorrect information.
  • periodically reviewing and updating templates to align with changing laws, regulations, and industry practices.

How is a playbook different?

Playbooks are comprehensive guides that outline step-by-step procedures for handling specific legal matters or situations. Think of them like a roadmap with route instructions (Google Maps, for example) for in-house legal teams to follow when faced with particular scenarios. Making the most of playbooks involves:

  • providing detailed instructions for each stage of a legal process, from initial assessment to resolution. This ensures that team members across the business functions understand the entire process.
  • including checklists and decision trees to help team members make informed choices and stay on top of complex procedures.
  • incorporating ‘in the wild’ case examples and best practices. This helps team members understand practical applications and potential challenges.
  • collaborating with other departments (e.g., compliance, HR, finance). Ensuring alignment between legal and other functions enhances efficiency.
  • encouraging feedback on the effectiveness of playbooks. Regularly update and refine playbooks based on feedback and changing circumstances.

In essence, templates are structured starting points for creating documents, while playbooks are comprehensive guides for navigating specific legal processes. Utilising both effectively streamlines workflows, enhances consistency, and empowers in-house legal and the business to handle their responsibilities efficiently.

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