Nivaura, a London based fintech, announced today the launch of the General-purpose Legal Markup Language (GLML) plug-in for Microsoft Word. This follows the launch last summer of a not-for-profit foundation (the GLML Foundation) to promote and develop GLML for use by lawyers and other non-programmers to make legal documentation machine readable and executable in debt capital markets.
Easily installable and accessible, the plug-in is featured as a Microsoft Word add-on appearing under a ‘GLML’ tab of the main Microsoft Word ribbon. The plug-in enables users more easily to annotate legal documents with GLML so that they become machine readable without needing to learn how to “code”. For example, a lawyer can take a static pro-forma template and apply GLML to that document using the plug-in to generate a GLML template. The advantage of this is that all the data points needed for a transaction will then be structured in a digitised format with GLML.
GLML enables straight through processing (STP) of transactions allowing the structured data to be mapped to downstream processes and systems without manual key entry for both traditional and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) clearing, for example facilitating the automatic setup of smart contracts.
The plug-in can also generate accompanying JSON files which are becoming popular in tech solutions. The GLML template and JSON can then be uploaded to any technology solution that can utilise structured data from documentation. In the context of debt capital markets, for example this enables dealers to digitise their own custom term sheets and make these available for transactions.
GLML was developed by Nivaura along with input from several leading international law firms including Allen & Overy and Linklaters, starting in 2017, before being moved into the GLML Foundation to promote adoption across the industry. Nivaura’s innovative debt capital markets product, Aurora, automatically generates debt issuance transaction workflows from pro-forma documents that have been annotated with GLML.
Aurora facilitates primary market negotiation and execution, enabling the data to flow automatically from upstream processes (i.e. term sheet negotiation) to enable faster completion of the final terms document compared with the current processes relying on the manual replication of data from emails and word documents. Data entered by lawyers using Aurora to generate the final terms document can be mapped to downstream processes (i.e. operational and compliance) to enable straight through processing of transactions by other market participants.
The goal for GLML is for capital markets participants and tech firms focused on drafting, negotiation and transaction execution to leverage GLML by using the plug-in to create structured data documentation that can then drive technological processes and efficiencies.
GLML is compatible with any underlying taxonomy, and is particularly aligned with industry efforts such as Common Domain Model, and can work with other private data taxonomies that may exist within firms and banks. In this way, GLML is well placed to enable easy digitisation of documentation by capital markets experts who are non-programmers, as well as easy interoperability between different systems and taxonomies.
Scott Eaton, CEO of Nivaura, commented: “Since establishing the GLML Foundation last year our ambition has been to roll-out this product as soon as possible. The launch of the GLML Word plug-in will enable our product engineering teams to hear first-hand exactly what the dedicated user-base requires and what needs to be addressed before its full launch. We welcome the opportunity to continue our long-standing partnership with Allen & Overy and Linklaters and look forward to the next phase of GLML development. While this product has been designed to alleviate strain for DCM work, it has application across the broader legal landscape.”
Daniel Fletcher, Partner at Allen & Overy, commented: "The potential for efficiency gains may be enhanced if the market chooses to adopt a single data standard. That standard will need to be readily deployable by market participants. The GLML plug-in tool is designed to make it easier for lawyers to apply GLML to documents, which can then be used by clients in tech solutions such as Aurora. Importantly, the tool exists within Microsoft Word, and so fits within lawyers’ existing workflow practices. Enabling lawyers to retain oversight over the legal documentation while reducing the digitisation costs can help the legal community to better serve its clients.”
Richard Levy, Partner at Linklaters, commented: “We take a keen interest in opportunities to increase efficiencies in our documentation processes and in new technologies which enable improvements in the execution of capital markets transactions for our clients. We welcome the release of the new GLML plug-in for testing, and we look forward to working with market participants to explore the benefits offered by the new plug-in.”
Phil Smith, Chair of the GLML Foundation commented “The release of the GLML plugin for testing is an important step in the adoption of GLML and the drive toward common data standards in the market. While the industry discusses and converges on a common taxonomy, GLML provides an optimal way for taxonomies to be implemented into documentation and data flows. The GLML Foundation will be hosting a series of training sessions for lawyers and non-programmers to utilise the MS Word plug-in to annotate documentation.”