An interview with Houman Shadab and Peter Hunn of startup company Clause.
What is your background?
Clause was co-founded by Houman Shadab and Peter Hunn. Houman is a former BigLaw attorney turned professor of financial law. He has always had an interest in technology, and in recent years increasingly focused on how recent rapid advances in technology can impact business law. Peter read for multiple law degrees in the UK, worked in private equity, and was involved in startups that were funded by leading accelerator programs.
Why did you create this product?
We created this product to bring contracts into the 21st Century by connecting them to the physical world that surrounds them. This means that legal contracts are able to respond to dynamic and data-driven changes. Doing so will help to automate commercial processes, significantly reduce inefficiencies, and create new business models. Contracts unfortunately still remain largely unchanged from how they’ve been for millennia: static documents that capture parties’ agreements at a point in time.
What was missing from the market and how do you think your product will address/solve this need?
What is currently missing from the market is: (a) a way for parties’ contractual and broader commercial relationships to reflect, respond to, and monitor, in real-time, the changing world around them and (b) a system that can extensibly work with the other services that enterprises and attorneys use.
Clause offers a revolutionary new contracting paradigm that uses proprietary technology developed over the last year to enable commercial contracts to ‘come alive’ and autonomously manage themselves in response to the state of the physical world through real-time data from the Internet of Things, data streams or APIs. For example, when a manufacturer orders parts and there are a lot more defects than expected, an autonomous contract will reduce the invoice price, extend the warranty coverage, and refund payments automatically. An autonomous legal contract can also search for and replace an existing supplier in response to persistent part defects. But these contracts can also help suppliers: severe weather conditions or an earthquake that delays delivery or drives up supply costs could immediately be reflected in a price increase or revised delivery schedule. Ultimately, autonomous contracts create value for both parties by enabling pricing and other terms to instantaneously adjust in response data analytics, including about profit margins, delivery times, and the correlation between sales and location. This helps to solve the pervasive business and contract management problem of contracts being inflexible and not reflecting the changing world around them.
What are the future plans for your product as it relates to helping with attorney’s transactional documents?
Attorneys’ transactional documents will become a more integrated part of their clients’ business by being plugged into and reflecting the company’s current operations. Our product will help lawyers know the status of contract performance and history in real-time and thereby help them to advise their clients with respect to contract compliance, re-negotiations, and their standing in case a dispute arises.
How can law librarians/legal information professionals partner with you and what would be the benefits of the partnership?
We can partner by integrating our platform with developments that impact contracting, from transactional trends to legal developments that may require new terms and structures or undermine enforceability.
Have you or do you plan to attend events or exhibit your product at any upcoming law library, legal, or legal technology association meetings?
Yes, we are planning on attending several events in 2017. We would be happy to demonstrate to the AALL.
For more information about Clause read The World’s First ‘IoT-Enabled’ Legal Contract and feel free to contact them via their blog: www.medium.com/@clause or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Twitter: @clauseHQ