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BUSINESS SOFTWARE

Software That Cuts Legal Fees

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When Munchkin, a $15 million designer and marketer of baby bottles and other products for infants, needed a secondinternational-distribution agreement, Chief Financial Officer Betty Kayton didn't like either of her two choices. She'd either haveto pay dearly to have a lawyer draw up a contract that would be almost identical to the first, or go it alone using the first contractas a template.

Munchkin's law firm, Boston-based Hale and Dorr, offered an appealing compromise: interactive software for thecompany to draw up its own customized document. The software prompted Kayton through a series of questionsabout her potential distribution agreement, flagging discrepancies such as how long she wanted the contract in place (longer thanthat particular country allowed) and clauses that would put the company at a disadvantage.

The lawyers then output the document, reviewed it and drew up a legal memo on the foreign laws that could affect it. Aninternational-distribution agreement typically costs between $3,000 and $5,000, but with the software, which the Van Nuys,Calif., company got for free from its law firm, the cost was only $1,500 the second time around.




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