The term „legal blackline“ comes from the legal profession, where lawyers have to compare two documents. Normally, this applies to contracts, but this main Microsoft Word capability applies to any type of document. To exercise your rights regarding your personal data, or if you have any questions about this statement, please email BlackLine`s security administrator at l` or email us at: Any type of agreement starts in Microsoft Word format. Word dominates the business arena. So when it comes to businessmen or lawyers, everyone designs and makes changes with Word. The agreement is described as a „clean“ copy without any changes highlighted. However, once you have completed internal changes to an agreement, you must send these changes to the other parties involved in the negotiations. How do you do that? There are really two basic methods to reflect changes to an agreement: (i) the use of Microsoft Word`s track change feature or (ii) the use of third-party software, such as Workshare`s „Compare“ product. Other methods, or even software, exist, but honestly, these are the two I see in the vast majority of situations. If you are working on a „deal“ or „transaction“ (e.g.B. venture or private equity financing, debt financing, acquisition, sale of your business, etc.), you expect your lawyers to use third-party software to generate the „Blackline.“ If you are working on a „commercial“ agreement (e.g.B. customer contract, confidentiality agreement, license agreement or any other form of commercial contract), you expect businessmen and lawyers to use Microsoft Word`s track change feature. Programs, like Workshare, are functional and have an incredible use for comparing two versions of a Word document.

Workshare is not only able to compare contract text, but also to compare data inside tables, columns and other formats. Workshare can highlight whether the language has simply been moved from another part of the agreement. Tracking changes misses much of this functionality. In the case of a „deal“ versus working on a „commercial“ agreement, the third-party comparison software is the preferred comparison method. One final remark on the exchange of agreements during a negotiation. Please don`t protect your Word document with a password – it`s disgusting. Do you really think your leverage is so big, or your project so spectacular that no one will have a reasonable comment? Not all comments are due to disagreements. Some are simply designed to adapt, modify or articulate the right context, facts, etc. This is not offensive. All you do in protecting your password-protected Word document is create a 1 to 2 day delay in the process, when someone has to come back and ask you for the password so that their lawyer can make some suggested changes.

I don`t see it as often as I used to – and frankly, it`s more often committed by people who work in large organizations. Sometimes the document is not password protected, but in PDF format. It sends the same intentional message – you are not allowed to comment on our document. I find this tactic a huge waste of time. On the business side, you really don`t have to worry about creating workshare (or anything your lawyer uses). Lawyers have usually already set up their software to generate black lines in a usual format. In a „deal“ environment, business people most likely pass on their changes orally or perhaps in another format to lawyers, but these changes are always reflected on the other side with third-party comparison software.

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