24 Feb 2021

Linklaters’ tech arm unveils contract automation platform

Developed in collaboration with the UK firm’s lawyers, CreateiQ promises to speed up drafting

By Madeline Anderson

Nakhoda CEO Shilpa Bhandarkar

The platform – dubbed CreateiQ – was designed by the firm’s flagship tech group Nakhoda and aims to give contracting a much-needed push into the digital age. It’s intended to facilitate the contracting process by consolidating the drafting, negotiating and execution of contracts into a single workflow.  

Its creators say it is distinct from similar market offerings because it allows users to more easily extract and use contract data thanks to the generation of structured data at the point of contract creation.  

The tech lends itself to accurately identifying legal risk, increasing data-driven decision making during the negotiation stage and using contractual data in the wider context of business ops, according to the firm, which deployed a cross-practice group of lawyers to advise on the product. 

Nakhoda CEO Shilpa Bhandarkar said clients would save “significant time” with the platform, allowing them to focus on higher-value work.  

New York-based Linklaters finance partner and Nakhoda board member Doug Donahue added: “It has been painfully obvious that the way in which we create and negotiate legal agreements and then capture and track the data within them is archaic compared to the technological advances we see in other industries and in our everyday lives. 

“CreateiQ is a great leap forward to solving these problems and delivering the best-in-class service that our clients expect in a scalable way.”  

The product’s underlying tech has already been used in Linklaters’ online derivatives documentation platform ISDA Create. The firm is now setting its sights beyond the derivatives space, aiming to scale CreateiQ across different industry sectors and increasing its offering of automated document types.  

The platform’s first expansion target is the financial services sector with the automation of documents including credit facility agreements, loan agreements and subscription letters.  

Stuart Bedford, corporate partner and Nakhoda board member in London, said the platform was built to be “both sector and document agnostic” and that clients across a range of industries were showing interest in what the document automation tech had to offer.  

“We believe that CreateiQ has a significant role to play in the digitisation and automation of the negotiation of legal documentation at scale,” he said.  

Linklaters is among a number of leading law firms that have moved into legaltech by collaborating with and investing in start-ups (Latham & Watkins, Orrick), launching their own innovation hubs (Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy) and running incubator programmes (Hogan Lovells, Slaughter and May). Last month, Lupl, a legaltech startup backed by CMS, Cooley and Rajah & Tann secured a $14m funding round ahead of a full launch later this year. According to the startup, it has more than 500 firms and corporate legal departments on its waiting list.






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