To compare Koncision’s launch of its first product to humanity’s first steps on the moon would be a bit of hyperbole to be sure, but Koncision does represent a major step toward rationalizing the provision of legal services.
What Is Koncision?
Koncision is a web-based application that combines the power of document assembly with high-quality contract templates. It’s the brainchild and creation of Ken Adams, a contract drafting expert and the author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, as well as the influential AdamsDrafting blog and its successor, The Koncise Drafter. Powered by ContractExpress, a high-quality document assembly application with an intuitive user interface, Koncision’s offering utilizes contract templates developed by Adams and his team to enable its end users to quickly and efficiently create customized contracts.
Koncision announced the launch of its first product, a Non-Disclosure Agreement template, this morning at the ABA TechShow. I’ve been waiting for the launch since Adams announced in this post on his AdamsDrafting blog and in this post in his Koncise Drafter blog that he had formed Koncision to provide document assembly templates.
If you’re familiar with document assembly applications, you know that document assembly has the potential to significantly increase contract quality, reduce cycle times, and decrease the amount of time required to produce a first draft of a contract.
For those who aren’t familiar with document assembly, here’s how it works: The end user answers a series of questions from an electronic questionnaire, and the application uses the information gathered from the end user to piece together the various clauses of a contract into a unified document in an editable word-processing format.
The Koncision Experience
Until Adams allowed me to take Koncision’s NDA product for a test drive recently, it was exciting in concept. Once I took it for a spin, it was exciting in reality.
Its user interface is intuitive and the application guides the user through a series of questions about the contract to be produced. The questionnaire is customized on the fly, so the end user doesn’t have to slog through questions that are irrelevant. Each question is annotated with useful information to help the user make the most appropriate decisions when answering the questions. The guidance for some of the questions is quite detailed and points to authority to serve as additional guidance. In this respect the questionnaire itself serves as a store of know-how and as a tutorial. The user experience was at the high end of my expectations; the quality of the resulting contracts was—no surprise—excellent.
Why Is Koncision Significant?
I’ll be interested to hear what others have to say in the coming days, but I think this application has a lot of potential in part because it addresses two challenges attorneys face in adopting document assembly technology and also because it has real potential to achieve economies of scale that are not available to law firms.
Investment in Templates. The biggest problem with document assembly is that it requires good templates to work well, and producing templates is a cumbersome project that requires a lot of attorney time. Thus, in order to reap the benefits of document assembly, law firms and corporate legal departments are required to invest significant resources in developing templates. Koncision provides a solution to this problem by doing the heavy lifting and producing good templates.
Reliable Precedent. Another challenge for document assembly is that lawyers tend not to put much faith in contract precedents that they didn’t produce. I for one have rarely seen a contract in a form book or on the internet that I would be comfortable using as a precedent without extensive changes. But with Koncision the contract language is developed by a known expert. I think this will go a long way in giving practicing attorneys the comfort they need to rely on its documents.
Economies of Scale. Koncision has the potential to achieve economies of scale that aren’t attainable by law firms. For various reasons, some of which I detail in this Quora answer, law firms find it difficult to achieve economies of scale and the size of their markets is limited. A non-law firm vendor that doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship or practice law has a potentially unlimited market. The possibility of achieving economies of scale and the implications of such economies should be as obvious as they are exciting.
So, here’s to Ken Adams and his new venture, which represents one giant leap for the provision of legal services!