If you’re going toe-to-toe with a battle-tested product, you need to be better than the original. Otherwise, you’ll be in a New Coke or Windows Vista situation.
When it comes to redlining contracts, the vast majority of legal professionals—91% of you, to be exact—default to Microsoft Word for redlining contracts. Despite this, some CLM platforms have opted for creating their own in-app editors for redlining.
If there’s one thing in-house legal teams don’t have, it’s free time–time to learn a new tool and to deal with all of the challenges and limitations that come with these CLM in-app editors.
Spoiler alert: with Lexion, you don’t have to.
So why do in-house legal professionals prefer Microsoft Word to CLM in-app editors? In a word (get it?), it’s better.
Why in-app can mean missing out:
1 . Formatting issues
“I love spending time cleaning up my document’s formatting,” said no legal professional ever.
In-app editors try to address this challenge by letting users edit documents in .docx format, but the mismatch of features between Microsoft Word (which has way more) and in-app editors can lead to layout or custom styling edits not carrying over properly—or even at all. Oops.
When you redline in Microsoft Word (like most legal professionals), you can skip straight past worrying that critical terms may be lost in translation, or that formatting might be thrown out the window.
2 . Automatic new versions
You get an email saying that your counterparty has sent back version 2 of a contract with their edits.
Contracting is a team sport, which means you—along with other internal stakeholders—will be in your CLM’s in-app editor reviewing those new changes. But with every comment that you or another stakeholder leaves, a new version of the contract is saved.
Next thing you know, your CLM shows that you’ve uploaded version 12. That’s weird.
With Microsoft Word, you won’t have to deal with the confusion of new contract versions automatically being created left and right.
3 . Missing important features
Besides your standard redlining tools, in-app editors often won’t give you many of the features you’re accustomed to using. You’re left with a basic document editing experience that’s akin to a notes app—and when’s the last time you tried redlining in TextEdit?
Need to make extensive edits? An in-app editor is the wrong place.
Instead of simply applying custom styles in Microsoft Word (which lets you edit way faster), you may have to change font sizing, font styles, or line height manually to keep contracts consistent with your team’s standards.
What’s more, you can wave goodbye to all those familiar Microsoft Word keyboard shortcuts you’ve come to rely on for more efficient edits. If you’ve personalized your editing workflow with any custom shortcuts, that personalization is gone, too.
4 . Risk of counterparty seeing internal-only comments
With in-app editors, you risk letting the counterparty accidentally see your internal comments before the contract is ready to be sent.
Of course, your colleagues (and you) keep comments professional or communicate in ambiguous emojis… But sometimes, there’s information that should really stay internal.
5 . Difficult to adopt
Going with a new CLM in-app editor requires you, the rest of your legal team, and non-legal stakeholders to learn a new platform, which can feel like starting over.
Overnight, it can feel like you’ve been demoted from expert to amateur as you struggle to find your favorite features and tools, which discourages internal adoption (especially for those that only use the in-app editor every so often).
With Microsoft Word, you get the same friendly toolbar that’s greeted you since grade school, which means making fewer errors and confidently navigating through time-sensitive, high-pressure situations to finish negotiations sooner. Why change that?
6 . Overspending for episodic users
Some CLMs will charge you per seat for every user to use their in-app editors—even if it’s just to drop a very occasional comment or edit.
In order to stay within your legal tech budget (and not surprise your manager or CFO), you’ll have to carefully manage or limit who has a paid seat.
On the other hand, if your company already uses Microsoft Word, you can save money while increasing the ROI of your Microsoft Word licensing.
All of the good, and then some
With Lexion for Word, you get the full-featured, universally compatible (and universally beloved) Microsoft Word and the benefits of Lexion—all in one place.
- Easy version control: Upload the latest draft to Lexion after editing with a click, where you can easily share it with other stakeholders, route for approval, send for signature, and more…
- Convenient clause library: Access your Lexion clause library inside Word to compare proposed language against your standards to maintain consistency and minimize risk.
- Intuitive template builder: Create contract templates with ease (without coding) using field placeholders that pull details from the corresponding intake form, so your legal team and other business users can quickly generate standard contracts.
- AI-powered review and redline assistance: Accelerate contract review and redlining with AI Contract Assist to run contract playbooks, suggest redlines, and even generate new language based on simple prompts.
Continue redlining where you’re most comfortable without missing out on the powerful features that will help you get contracts and deals done faster.