Clifford Chance is allying itself with LawCommerce.com and a host of top US firms to try to develop a uniform standard for online deal rooms.
Other firms involved include the likes of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, and the aim is to produce a model deal site that can be used for almost any kind of deal. LawCommerce.com chief executive officer Richard Harroch said: "A number of clients throughout the world have been asking and really wanting to have some greater efficiencies when lawyers do deals. "The idea is to have one website where all the documents, the tasks and the contact lists associated with the particular deals are to make things much more efficient. The desire was expressed by a number of law firms that we just come up with something that everyone could use." A planned development for a series of template deal rooms to deal with mergers and acquisitions, public finance, public offerings, bank financings, real estate, venture capital and deBT offerings is in the offing. Once the technology is finalised it will be made available to both clients and law firms, and firms will be able to license the deal room on a long-term basis or pay to use it for an individual deal. Harroch said: "If you think how hard it is to get two law firms to work together, the fact that we've got a huge number of them to cooperate is a large indication of just how important this is to their clients."