Automating Legal Documents for Due Diligence

Legal due diligence goes beyond kicking the tires of an automobile. It is a thorough investigation that includes lawyers and CPAs who review documents as well as facts. It requires the analysis of a range of subject areas, such as an analysis of legality of contracts as well as litigation liabilities intellectual property, regulatory compliance and corporate records and financial reviews of accounting policies and financial statements, and tax returns. Also, it involves a study of the management, organizational structure and the products, services marketing, sales facilities and equipment.

Depending on the size of the deal and complexity of the company, the legal due diligence process can be extremely long-winded, especially with large public companies with a huge amount of information for lawyers to sort through. In the wake of this, many legal departments have begun to make use of technology to streamline and expedite the process, for instance an online platform for document review which integrates with AI tools.

Before you begin the legal due diligence process, establish an outline and a goal for the investigation. It is helpful to prepare an outline of the areas to be covered and have the legal team agree on the strategy of attack with the business owners. It is also important to decide which areas need specialist input from the firm. For example legal due diligence review of an IP holding company could include queries by an intellectual property specialist to determine whether the company is in possession of any significant patents or other intellectual property rights, and whether there are any infringement cases currently pending or threatened.

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