The problem with legacy contracts (and how to solve it)

Contract process
January 16, 2024
Are legacy contracts holding your business back? This guide discusses the problem with legacy contracts in 2024, and what you can do to solve it.

What is a legacy contract?

A legacy contract is a legal document that’s stored or managed using outdated systems or software. Usually, these contracts are scattered across various platforms, and in different formats. Depending on the contract management maturity of the organization, these can vary between: 

  • Physical filing cabinets: businesses that are yet to move their contracts online will store their legacy contracts as paperwork in physical filing cabinets.
  • Local drives or personal devices: some contract owners will upload a contract to their local drives once it’s been signed, making it difficult for other stakeholders to gain access.
  • Spreadsheets: links to or data from legacy contracts can occasionally be captured in an Excel spreadsheet and updated manually over time.
  • Cloud-based storage: at best, legacy contracts will be stored in cloud-based storage solutions, like Google Drive, or Dropbox

Yet, despite what the name suggests, legacy contracts aren't obsolete at all. They can be active or inactive contracts, and they almost always contain important business data. The problem with legacy contracts is how difficult it can be to access these insights and files, and the consequences of failing to do so.

The problem with legacy contracts in 2024

1. Difficult to find the relevant document

It can be difficult to find the right document when legacy contracts are scattered across several different storage solutions. This is made worse by the fact that traditional storage systems often lack the functionality needed to search for and organize contracts quickly.

This means that finding legacy contracts becomes a time-consuming pursuit for already stretched lawyers. It also means that businesses run the risk of losing contracts entirely, which has its own implications.

2. Painful to extract key data points

Legacy contracts tend to exist as static files, which means you'll need to manually extract the data within them. Businesses with legacy contracts have three options:

  1. They can manually capture and maintain contract metadata from their legacy contracts, which requires a lot of time and resource
  2. They can fail to capture these data points at all, resulting in a lack of visibility, missed contract deadlines and potential disputes
  3. They can switch to more modern contract lifecycle management tools like Juro that build contracts as structured data by default and automate data capture.

The good news is, it's never too late to choose the third option. In fact, the sooner you make the switch to a platform like Juro, the less time you'll spend playing catch up when you do eventually decide that the first two options are no longer feasible.

To find out how an all-in-one contract tool like Juro can improve contract visibility and automate manual work for your team, hit the button below. Otherwise, read on.

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3. Fewer opportunities for collaboration

Outdated contract management systems often lack collaborative features available in more modern CLM systems. Instead, contracts need to be moved between PDFs, email chains and Word files to facilitate collaboration.

Not only is this context-switching inefficient, but it also makes it difficult to capture the various changes made to a contract along the way. In a modern CLM like Juro, these changes would be captured automatically in a detailed audit trail and used to inform future negotiations, among other things.

4. Concerns about contract management security

Contracts are among the most sensitive documents a business handles. Yet, security continues to be an afterthought for companies managing legacy contracts. Without modern security and encryption standards in place, businesses can find themselves susceptible to security breaches that threaten to leak personal and commercial data.  

Migrating legacy contracts to a robust contract solution with lawyer-grade security can solve this problem for good, protecting your contracts and giving you peace of mind.

How to transform legacy contracts into actionable insights

If you're experiencing any of the problems we've just described, you're certainly not alone. In fact, nearly half of businesses lack a defined process for storing contracts post-execution.

What matters is what you do next, and how you plan to futureproof your contract process going forward.

Organizations are increasingly turning to modern contract management platforms like Juro to transform their legacy contracts into actionable insights and unlock better contract storage.

These platforms streamline the contract management process, offering advanced search capabilities, robust security features, collaborative tools, and contract analytics.

Migrating from legacy systems to modern CLMs can significantly improve efficiency, reduce risks, and empower organizations to leverage their contract data for more strategic decision-making.

We uploaded our legacy contracts and made them searchable, and I was seeing the value by day two - Legal team, Paddle

To find out more about how Juro can transform your legacy contracts into actionable insights, check out this guide to contract migrations, or fill in the form below to speak to a contract specialist.

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