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Contracting is undergoing a digital transformation driven by a need to deliver customer-centric legal and business solutions faster, and at lower cost. This imperative is fueling the adoption of a broad range of new technologies to improve the efficiency of drafting, managing, and executing legal contracting operations, including:

  • Cloud-hosted Software-as-a-Service solutions for contract management and negotiation
  • Widespread adoption of digital signatures and associated document workflow
  • Natural language processing to search documents based on concepts rather than just keyword search terms
  • Access to high-quality contract templates online, with associated legal services and advice
  • Advanced document assembly
  • Approval workflows
  • Sharing of contract data and automation of contract provisions using distributed ledger technology (blockchains)
  • Advances in the realm of digital and decentralized identity

The Accord Project Technology Working Group develops Open Source code libraries and specifications driven by requirements from the other Accord Project working groups. The goal is to be able to capture the domain-specific legal and transactional knowledge developed within the other working groups in a form that is amenable to automated computation and to bootstrap an ecosystem of companies and organizations that share legal and contract data using well-defined formats that are developed using open tools and libraries.

The Technology Working group is currently working on the following projects:

  • Cicero: a specification and set of libraries for parameterized natural language, data models and computable logic. Cicero templates can be used to create reusable smart clauses, allowing legal clauses to interact with data from the outside world, and to perform automated computation
  • Concerto: a lightweight and web-friendly data model specification used to formally capture domain specific data models
  • Concerto Tools: a set of tools to convert Concerto models to/from other formats
  • Ergo: a functional non-Turing complete domain-specific-language to capture the computable logic of a legal clause, along with backend compilers for Node.js, JavaScript and Java, with others planned.

In addition, the Technology Working group develops and maintains the following resources:

  • Project documentation
  • Template Studio: a web-based environment to view and edit Cicero templates
  • Template Library: a web-hosted library of Apache-2 licensed Cicero templates
  • Model Repository: a web-hosted library of Apache-2 licensed Concerto models

The Technology Working group meets weekly (Wednesday at 4pm EST) and discusses a wide-range of implementation and design issues related to all of its active projects. We encourage technologists and legal professionals with a technical background to get involved.