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Many in house legal teams fall in one of two teams: they either use marketing content management systems (CMS) to manage legal terms or depend on developers to update and manage their terms. Both sides go through an entire to-do when it comes to publishing and updating their terms. Neither Legal team has total control over their terms, which ultimately puts the business at greater risk.
Legal teams that use web CMS to manage their terms and other Legal content are fighting the battle of using software that wasn't made with them in mind. Rather, they are using systems that they have to be retro-fitted for their specific needs. What works for your standard web content like resource pages, product sheets, and content landing pages won't work for your terms and other online agreements.
Legal content needs to managed and updated to reflect the changes in the industry, to the business, and regarding data privacy regulations. Not having control over managing terms is essentially putting Legal's core function of protecting the business into the hands of non-legal, technical personnel. This does not scale well.
Legal teams need a Legal-specific CMS that meets the unique requirements of Legal compliance while allowing for automation and innovation across the business.
A Legal CMS (Content Management System) is a digital home for a company's Legal content, like terms of service and other standardized agreements. It is a central location from which online terms can be accessed by users, and where back-end records of acceptance can be easily maintained by Legal.
While similar in presentation to a web CMS, Legal-specific CMS have important back-end capabilities that set it apart and equip it to fulfill the specific needs of legal teams.
Download: Clickwrap Litigation Trends: 2020 Report
Legal content management requires sophisticated capabilities, including the ability centralize agreements and records of acceptance, and track and manage version control updates.
In order to collect acceptance from users, online agreements must be centrally located and accessible to users. If the Legal content is hard to find and harder to use, the users have not been put on notice. Marketplace trying to enforce hard-to-find terms will have a difficult time in court. Too often, a standard CMS - especially one controlled by marketing rather than Legal - presents legal content in a way that doesn’t amply mitigate potential risk of litigation.
On the other hand, a CMS specific to Legal needs presents agreements to the viewer plainly and comprehensively. It allows for easy, centralized access to a legal library of agreements that apply to specific users. Legal CMS centralizes your agreements, making it easier to put users on notice and therefore help with the enforceability of the agreement.
Legal content carries with it more risk and requirements for compliance than your standard web content. The way it’s stored and presented should reflect that fact.
As terms change, Legal needs to be able to manage the updates themselves and push updates to users. They also need to be able to collect acceptance of their updated terms and track which user accepted which agreement. Using a standard web content management system, it is extremely difficult to track updates and store acceptance data.
For online marketplace businesses that do millions of transactions per day, using a web CMS can spell disaster when it's time to defend your terms in court. With a Legal-specific content management system, marketplaces can easily track which user accepted what version of their agreements. These individualized records of acceptance are crucial to the enforceability of online terms.
Marketplaces need a Legal-specific CMS that allows your team to follow best practices for enforceability. Even more, consider the internal to your Legal team that centralized agreements provides.
For more on online terms management, check out our eBook: How Online Terms Make or Break Marketplace Apps.