The Summize Guide to Contract Abstraction Software, Services & Processes

Contract Abstraction involves extracting key contractual information, such as terms and clauses, and presenting it in an easy-to-read and digestible summary.
See how Summize can help with contract abstraction
February 14, 2024

This is the Ultimate Guide to Contract Abstraction, where you’ll find out everything about:

• What contract abstraction is and why it's important  

• When contract abstraction is used and what process to follow

• The difference between contract abstraction and contract summarisation

• How legal tech can improve contract abstraction

What is Contract Abstraction?

Contracts are a crucial asset for every business. They help to define and govern the rights and duties of any new relationship or agreement. As a company grows, so does the complexity of its processes and the number of contracts that need to be managed.

Contract abstraction is the process in which a brief statement or a specific piece of information (such as dates or clauses) is abstracted. It is a legal process that highlights all the important terms, providing a window to the key information from the agreement. This summary is known as a contract abstract.

Why is Contract Abstraction Important?

Contracts can be lengthy (sometimes hundreds of pages), making effective contract management a daunting task. By abstracting dates, clauses, payment terms and other key information, legal teams can save time and resources while ensuring compliance and increasing the team’s overall productivity.

By implementing contract abstraction processes into your contract management framework, contracts become easier to read for non-legal professionals, as the essential clauses and key information is summarised and brought to the forefront. The contract management process becomes more convenient and simpler, while also making each contract accessible to the wider business.  

When Is Contract Abstraction Used?

Today, every business and organisation across the globe will sign and enter a vast number of contracts. They have become the norm in all business relationships. This, however, presents a problem – contract management doesn’t end when the contract has been signed and the information that is needed to make informed business decisions resides in these signed contracts.

Contracts can seem confusing when they contain large amounts of legal jargon and unnecessarily long sentences. It makes the process of contract interpretation significantly harder, more confusing, and slow; especially when it is carried out by someone outside of the business’ legal team. At this point, contract abstraction becomes a necessary stage of the contract management process.

Contract abstraction plays an important role in law firms and businesses alike. It helps to digest long and complex documents, revamping them into a readable summary of key points. The process simplifies and facilitates the work of the legal team, while also allowing everyone in the business to understand and adhere to the contract.

What are the Key Benefits of Using a Contract Summarisation Tool like Summize?

Jonny Jessop, Enterprise Pre-Sales Consultant at Summize, explains the main benefits of using a software like Summize and its use for Contract Abstraction.

What Industries are Contract Abstraction Services Popular With?

Today, every business will sign and enter contracts, with 80% of B2B transactions being governed by an agreement. They have become part of everyday business interactions. However, contracts can be challenging as they are complex and contain a lot of legal jargon, which can prove a problematic task when it comes to contract interpretation. Therefore, businesses often turn to contract abstraction or contract abstraction services that will help them to understand their contracts more effectively.

As well as significant time savings, contract abstraction allows businesses from any industry to make improved decision making using their signed contracts. The contract abstraction process simplifies each contract, making contract easier to understand and more accessible.

Legal Contract Abstraction Services

If a business does not have an internal legal team, they can use legal contract abstraction services to extract key content and relevant data from within legal documents. This service can be completed by an external legal team or through using a software that provides automated contract abstraction, like Summize.

Contract abstraction services make the contract abstraction process simplified and understandable, providing all the necessary contractual information such as key dates, terminations, and parties; all presented in an easy-to-read summary. It saves time and resources, while making contracts accessible to the winder business.

What is the Contract Abstraction Process?

Almost every business relationship is governed by a contract, whether its partners, suppliers, customers, or employees. For any organisation to achieve long-term financial returns from these documents, it is crucial that they invest and effectively execute a contract management process that involves contract abstraction.

The number of stages in the process will vary depending on each business, its size, and its existing processes. To make this easier, we’ve broken down the most common steps you may come across in a standard contract.

1. Format Creation

The first step of the contact abstraction process is to establish a format. In most cases of contract abstraction, the process will be performed in a question-and-answer style.

2. Contract review

The second stage (and arguably the most crucial) is the contract review process. This step of contract abstraction involves reviewing each document to identify the areas of importance.

3. Contract analysis

The contract analysis stage includes the evaluation and interpretation of the clauses, which is important to understand the nuances of the contract. This stage is crucial to the final contract abstract, so the legal team should ensure they fully understand each clause to avoid any legal risk in the future.

4. Information abstraction

The abstraction stage of the process is the final step, where the identified information is abstracted and put into a readable format and template. This result is known as the contract abstract. The correct information must be abstracted, as it is the information that anyone viewing the abstraction will deem as important. Be sure to mention the page numbers on the abstracted information so that it can serve as a point of reference.

What’s the Difference Between Contract Abstraction and Contract Summarisation?

Although similar, contract abstraction and contract summarisation are designed to reflect the key metrics of a contract in two separate ways.

Contract summarisation is the process in which the important points of the contract are put together in a summary. The entire contract and the key information are summarised so that it can act as a quick reference and is easily understandable. Contract summarisation is best suited to shorter contracts, as it is intended to be a restating of the key points in as few words as possible.

Contract abstraction is best suited to multiple, lengthier contracts. The process involves abstracting the contractual rights, obligations, and liabilities to provide a brief contract of the key points, rather than the whole contract.

Contract Abstraction vs. Vetting Documents

Contract Abstraction is the process of extracting key contractual information and presenting it in an easy-to-read and digestible summary. Contract abstraction highlights crucial terms, providing a window into the contract and the key information that it holds.  

On the other hand, vetting documents, or contract vetting, is the process in which a crucial examination is carried out amongst the documents that are to be signed and executed upon in the terms of law. Contract vetting results in a due diligence of the document's clauses to establish that all safeguards are taken and roles are defined, and there are legal remedy and monetary security assurances.

Automated Contract Abstraction Software Benefits

Instant contract abstractions for easy understanding

Summize's Contract Analysis Engine combines AI-powered technology and the best of humans to digitalise legal processes, instantly producing contextual contract summaries with actionable insights across the business' entire document portfolio.  

• Key information at the business' fingertips

The intelligent Summize Q&A chatbot experience within Microsoft Teams and Slack acts as the business’s front door to legal. This allows for quick and easy answers to typical contract questions, and helps business users self serve, without legal needing to produce large amounts of formal contract abstractions.

• Actionable intelligence to improve contractual processes

The interactive Summize dashboard provides an instant summary of tasks, risks and key calendar dates, reducing legal risk.

What Contract Abstraction Software Should You Use?

Contracts contain a vast amount of crucial information and this information can be used to help a business make better-informed business decisions. But contracts are lengthy, confusing, and finding this key information from hundreds of pages requires time and manual searching, which is prone to mistakes and therefore legal risk.

Summize uses natural language processing to highlight the key provisions of your contract, no matter how unique it is. By analysing each contract, the software will highlight the most important clauses, red-flag areas of concern and create summaries for users, which can then be used to answer contractual questions.

Summize is a flexible tool that allows quicker insights into contracts. Some of the key benefits include cost-effectiveness, ease-of-use, and speed. Legal teams can reduce the time spent on reviewing contracts by up to 85%, allowing your team to focus their resource on the future of the company.

And that’s Summize’s Ultimate Guide to Contract Abstraction!

Did you find it useful? Or perhaps there’s something we missed? Get in touch with us at [email protected] to let us know.


About the author

The Summize Team

Summize is a Contract Lifecycle Management solution that incorporates contract workflows into the tools you and your business already use every day.
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