08-25-2020

Heuking is shedding light on the jungle of checkboxes in public sector IT contracts




Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek is now offering intelligent software to the public sector for the legally compliant drafting of IT contracts. Jointly with Berlin-based legal tech company Lawlift, the law firm has developed a web-based system to radically simplify the notoriously intricate EVB-IT contract models.

The idea behind the project: The “Supplementary Terms of Contract for the Procurement of IT Services” (EVB-IT) are stipulated to be used by the public sector under budgetary law. In part, they still date back to the 1980’s. Over time, the scope of the contracts has steadily grown so that at present, they comprise several thousand pages of contract text, general terms and conditions, and notes.

Applying the contracts in practice has been ever more arduous with the texts consisting of a “jungle of checkboxes” of regulation options that are hard to decipher even by experts. The selection of the correct template alone is the subject of pages and pages of explanatory notes.

Supporting public authorities in the application of EVB-IT contracts is a lucrative business area for IT consultants. Smaller municipalities, in particular, that do not employ specialized in-house counsel are hardly able to administer the contracts independently. An entire training industry has developed around the topic of EVB-IT where high-priced seminars are regularly offered on how to “avoid the stumbling blocks” when applying EVB-IT contracts.

Thanks to the new Heuking EVB-IT suite, there is an alternative available now: “With our system, every qualified user will be able to draft even complex EVB-IT contracts in the future and independently take the right steps supported by the system,” said Marc-Philip Greitens, Project Manager and Lawyer.

“Assisted by a double-digit number of Heuking peers from several offices, we worked on this solution for months,” added Cologne-based Partner and IT legal specialist Dr. Lutz Keppeler.

“Heuking presents the software to its clients in training sessions,” explained Dr. Martin Schellenberg, Co-head of the Public Sector Practice Group. “We are also using the system ourselves to better focus on our core expertise, strategic legal advice and successful representation of our clients in court and in transactions. Lawyers are relieved of less demanding activities while clients benefit from an improved price-performance ratio when retaining our firm for legal services.”

“Clients rightly expect forward-looking solutions to their legal problems. This requirement equally applies to optimum client management. Heuking consciously integrates specific Legal Tech applications in managing clients’ cases and efficiently maps processes digitally to focus legal expertise entirely on the business success of our clients,” emphasized Dr. Peter Ladwig, Managing Partner for IT and Legal Tech.

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