Three Steps to Creating a System to Update Templates Regularly

Aug 30, 2022

We need to update contract forms regularly. We do this to fix mistakes, adapt to changing standards, and reflect evolving company priorities.

Most companies do not have a systematic approach to updating their templates. Lawyers and professionals are too busy dealing with the day-to-day to think about the big picture.

Here are several approaches to creating a system to manage template updates:

1. Identify an owner

It's recommended to designate one person as the template owner and include it in the job description. Otherwise, the update process is easily forgotten. 

2.  Decide on a frequency and set a deadline

We need to balance the need to update our forms with the time it takes and the disruption it can cause. You can update it every six months, while staying open to updating it more frequently if needed.

Schedule a meeting every six months to discuss the updated templates. It's also suggested to include the topic in the quarterly performance review meetings. These steps help make sure the updates don't get lost in the day-to-day busyness.

3. Create a system for collecting input

You can use different techniques for this:
- run a sample set of redlines between the company’s form documents and the execution versions
- email yourself quick notes about needed changes with a standard subject line (e.g. “Fix MSA”)
- add a document in the Sharepoint file labeled “Template Changes”