As the sales team at mobile software company Branch grew, so too did its requests of the in-house legal team for help with non-disclosure agreements.
Daniel Michalek, Branch’s legal operations manager, said this trend prompted him to examine ways to ensure that NDAs could be more quickly completed without as much involvement from the legal department.
While exploring Ironclad’s Clickwrap product for a different contracting use case, Michalek said he saw a possible link between the technology allowing for one-click acceptance of electronic agreements and Branch’s NDAs.
This discovery and testing ultimately prompted Branch to implement Ironclad Clickwrap earlier this year for its standard mutual NDAs that customers, potential customers and vendors sign.
As a result, the completion time for these non-disclosure agreements has been reduced from as long as 27 days to as little as two hours, according to Michalek.
“Moving our NDAs to Clickwrap has eliminated redlines, led to faster turnaround times and led to a tremendous increase in business velocity,” Michalek said.
A major driver of the quicker turnaround times, Michalek said, has been eliminating the sometimes extended back and forth between the parties about the various terms of a mutual NDA.
The Branch one-step NDA via Clickwrap gives counterparties the chance to either accept the terms or reject them.
Some fields present multiple terms Branch would accept, such as the applicable state law that will apply.
Michalek said Branch’s internal team used to receive a lot of questions from counterparties about the applicable jurisdiction language in NDAs, as well as queries about the indemnity, term/confidentiality period and data protection terms.
“Our attorneys have an NDA playbook, but our Ironclad Clickwrap mutual NDA helps set expectations with the other party up front, which has reduced the need to negotiate the aforementioned areas,” he said.
High adoption rate
The feedback from outside parties has been very positive, Michalek said, with some saying they have never seen a company take this streamlined approach to NDAs before.
Overall, Branch has seen 90% or better adoption of its standard mutual NDA terms through the clickwrap process, according to Michalek.
“I was relatively confident that the adoption would be very quick and very painless and that actually came to fruition,” he said.
As for the small percentage of parties who want to make additional changes to Branch’s NDA terms outside of Clickwrap, Michalek said, Branch will launch a workflow in Ironclad for the two parties to negotiate.
Michalek said the feedback within Branch to the new mutual NDA approach that they began testing in April and fully implemented in August has been very complementary as well.
The sales team has expressed its appreciation because it helps them more quickly engage with customers and complete deals faster.
Meanwhile, Michalek said, Branch’s in-house attorneys are thrilled they don’t have to spend as much time negotiating NDAs.
“By and large, they can focus on the meatier, more substantial legal questions in the deal paperwork,” he said.
Michalek said the reduced NDA workload also eliminates the need for the legal department to train more legal ops professionals or other personnel to help negotiate these agreements.
Additionally, at a time when budgets are tight, Michalek said utilizing the Clickwrap technology allowed Branch “to really solve the problem that we were facing without the need to go out and hire additional headcount.”
Job candidate NDAs
The standard mutual NDA is not the only non-disclosure agreement Branch is using Ironclad Clickwrap to facilitate.
In April, the company implemented one-step NDAs for job candidates before they interview.
This approach has been even more widely accepted by users than the standard mutual NDAs and also proved beneficial for turnaround times, according to Michalek.
“We were not previously tracking completion times on candidate facing NDAs, but our metrics right now show a few minutes turnaround time for the candidate facing NDAs,” he said.
Praise from Ironclad
Brian Powers, head of digital acceptance at Ironclad, said Branch’s NDA use case is “a beautiful example of the power of Ironclad Clickwrap.”
“Our customers have created billions of binding contracts, and over the past 18 months, we’ve seen businesses like Branch adopt Clickwrap as a means of transforming the way they do business by putting more and more of their traditional contacts online for clickwrap acceptance,” Powers said in a statement. “By turning these contracts into clickwraps, they are reducing or eliminating redlines and drastically speeding up business.”