ClauseBase uniquely allows you to choose between clause-based and template-based drafting.
Both approaches ultimately lead to the same result: an automated version of a legal document.
However, they could not be more different, and each have their own use cases.
The template-based approach is the traditional approach towards document automation. It is used by ClauseBuddy' Smart Templates and almost every other legal automation tool on the market, because it is an easy-to-learn approach that quickly yields good results.
Essentially, it is a top-down approach where you start from an existing template and apply some changes in order to arrive at the final document.
Clause-based drafting is a novel approach towards document automation. As a bottom-up approach, it requires you to split existing templates into individual clauses, store those clauses in a library, and then stack those clauses together into a full document.
While several drafting products allow to store clauses alongside templates, very few offer a truly clause-based approach. Clause9 was built from the ground up to offer a unique, 100% clause-based approach.
Template-based drafting is like buying a predefined Lego set, such as a medieval castle or a cool race car. They are quick to build and require limited planning, but are also limited in variation — you can perhaps swap the color of a few bricks, but forget about significantly tuning your race car.
Clause-based drafting is like building a legal construction using a nice collection of basic blocks. You can build anything you want, with any variation you can imagine, but you need to carefully think about your creation and plan ahead. Obviously, you don't become a true Lego master in a day.
Quick to learn
Simple to get started: reuse an existing Word file
Usually edited right within the comfort of Microsoft Word
Use all of Word's tools to create complex layouts
Enormous drafting power and text control
Allows to create truly bespoke legal documents
Fosters true knowledge deployment (enriched clauses)
Centralised content updates
Dynamic legal terminology & definition lists
Dynamic style switching
Clean formatting: Word files built from the ground up
Limited drafting power
Generated documents tend to feel "one-size-fits-all"
Intensifies the use of templates with poor styling
Users must keep fighting with Word's layout & numbering
Intensifies most legal experts' bad copy/pasting habits
Hampers legal knowledge management
Significant learning curve
More planning and setup time required
Not suitable for complex or graphic-heavy layouts
Due to its easy approach, template-based drafting is usually advised to legal teams that just start with document automation. Conversely, clause-based drafting is usually preferred by legal teams that have significant experience with legal technology.
However, thanks to ClauseBase's versatile approach, you can actually choose between template-based and clause-based approaches on a per document basis.
Documents with mostly static text
"Form filling" situations
Graphically rich documents, e.g. with lots of images
Documents that must "feel" bespoke
Documents that require flexible terminology
Documents with highly variable definition lists
Documents with variable cross-references