In Search of the Right Contract Online

Glasses on Paper

Finding a good set of contract templates is difficult. Just try typing “Contract Templates” into Google, and you will be bombarded by a whole host of websites and hundreds of templates that are not easily distinguishable from one another. There are 2 problems with this barrage of information – relevance and reliability. Even if you can find a contract for the right topic amongst your search results, it is hard to discern how reliable the template is without looking at it in detail. Separating the wheat from the chaff is difficult, even for a professional lawyer.

Fortunately, lawyers looking for a good template often have resources at hand. Either internal databases available to them at their respective law firms and in-house legal departments, or from service providers such as Thomson Reuters and Lexis Nexis. Even then, databases get outdated or just simply do not have the right material. Even well-resourced lawyers sometimes scour the internet in search of a decent starting point.

I recently came across a useful little website for those interested in technology contracts – TechContracts.com. The site is run by a multi-hyphenated lawyer-trainer-author – David W. Tollen, who makes available a small but curated set of technology-related contracts and clauses for reference and use. Its focus on technology related contracts helps to alleviate the relevance problem. The material that might interest start-ups and small businesses are common staples such as the ubiquitous mutual non-disclosure agreement and master services agreement. Other contracts include trendy topics such as terms for providing Software-As-A-Service and cloud services. Practising lawyers may also be interested in these templates as they are relatively new developments that not all databases may include.

As for reliability, while the website serves a marketing purpose for its author, that’s hardly a bad thing. By putting himself and his work out there, there is some personal interest in ensuring that the work on display enhances his professional reputation. Users should expect some assurance of quality that many other faceless contract template websites that pop up when searching Google simply do not provide.

While only a limited number of contracts are available for free on the website (unlocking further content requires buying the author’s book “The Tech Contracts Handbook” or attending his workshops), it remains a useful little resource for technology contracts to keep in mind.