General overview

Document assembly mode vs. Q&A mode

ClauseBase essentially offers two different modes to create legal documents. In the document assembly mode(Assemble Document menu), users can either start from scratch or from an existing template, interactively stacking and swapping building blocks, changing data and changing legal terminology to arrive at a new document. This mode offers significant power and flexibility, and should therefore only be used by legal experts who are sufficiently aware of the decisions they are taking.

Business users are typically not interested in tweaking all the details of a legal document. Instead, they are focused on creating documents with a minimum of effort, and a minimum of legal mistakes. ClauseBase therefore offers a second mode, the Q&A mode, that presents a list of interactive questions to users. Using the answers given by the users, a document is then interactively built. Compared to the freedom and options offered by the document assembly mode, the Q&A mode deliberately constrains its users to a set of predefined questions, so as to minimise the likelihood of errors.

While the Q&A Mode is primarily intended for business users, legal experts can also benefit from this mode. Due to the deliberate constraints imposed by the questions & answers, interactive templates built using the Q&A mode can for example also allow junior lawyers (or senior lawyers unfamiliar with a certain legal domain) to quickly create a document in an environment that offers more legal guidance — as well as a minimised likelihood for errors — than the document assembly mode. And even for legal experts in a certain domain, the Q&A mode can be beneficial, for example to quickly create a rough version of a certain document. 

Workflow overview

In ClauseBase, questionnaires are seen as an optional, additional layer on top of an existing template that should be made available to business users. Typically, questionnaires are only created for templates for which a sufficient volume can be expected — typically a handful of documents per department.

While the Q&A mode and the document assembly mode are separate modes, they are strongly connected with each other, not only because they both make use of the same library of pre-built clauses, but also because templates can be bidirectionally exchanged between both modes. In fact, in order to create a questionnaire in the Q&A mode, you first need to have a template available in the document assembly mode, which then needs to be transferred to the Q&A mode. Once a business user has provided answers, legal experts can also transfer the filled-in template back to the document assembly mode, e.g. to apply further customisations that were not allowed in the constrained Q&A mode.

Also note that an unlimited number of questionnaires can be created for each document. For example, using the company’s standard sales agreement, different questionnaires could be created for very different product sets that all require different changes to be made to the standard document.

Transfer from Assemble Document

In order to create a questionnaire, you therefore first need to open a saved Document or Binder, click on the ​menu at the right side of the screen, and choose the “send to Q&A” command. The Document or Binder will then be transferred to a new questionnaire, and this questionnaire will be opened in the “Design Q&A” mode. You will notice that the main menu at the top of the screen will change accordingly.

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