Turning Contracts into Software Libraries with OpenLaw’s Dynamic Contract Clauses

Jul 11 · 3 min read

With OpenLaw’s newest addition to its markup language, you can easily embed any legal clause or section into an agreement. With this new feature, we’ve finalized the transformation of contracts into software. Now any section or clause of a contract (think: arbitration, termination, reps and warranties, and boilerplate) can be assembled like Lego blocks.

Much to many’s chagrin, commercial contracts are the bedrock of commerce and trade. Memorializing obligations into a readable format gives parties the ability to manage risk and help define performance obligations.

However, after centuries of entering into agreements to protect risk and obligations, repeatable patterns have emerged. All legal agreements have certain provisions, i.e. termination, arbitration, escrow, vesting, and payment provisions that do not vary in nature a whole lot, resembling “legal primitives.” With OpenLaw, these legal primitives can be reduced down into software-interpretable formats to better help lawyers and other commercial actors manage commercial relationships in a simple, secure, and low-cost way.

To conceptualize, think of typical dispute resolution or termination clauses you tend to see in almost every legal contract or other standard provisions (what lawyers tend to colloquially refer to as “boilerplate provisions.”) Many of these clauses share fundamental commonalities across agreements in terms of language, structure, terms, and jurisdiction. The standardization is essential and helps courts and contracting parties manage disputes, risk, and streamline performance obligations.

Introducing OpenLaw Clauses

OpenLaw’s newest addition to its markup language, clauses, is another step towards the broader vision of contractual provisions that are plug-and-play, brings the vision of “legal primitives” further to life and making it easier to assemble legal agreements.

With our clauses feature, you can take one or more standard provisions and plug them into any agreement. For example, consider the below:

Any relevant variables are passed through and can be mapped.

OpenLaw’s ability to support library of clauses is flexible and modular and can apply to any contractual provision — not just choice of law, termination, or dispute resolution clauses. Our new feature allows any part of a contract to be managed like a software library, including recitals and signature blocks, making it easier to assemble and manage a range of contracts.

Like other types of software, our clause feature also allows for easy updates. For example, if you have a clause in multiple different agreements, you can update the clause file once and have it automatically propagated across an entire library of legal agreements. This gives lawyers and other business professionals a bit of ease if you decide to update a provision, reducing risk and enhancing control over these agreements.

Here at OpenLaw we want to make it as simple as possible to put together a legal agreement. Now, we’re one step closer. Using OpenLaw’s blockchain based protocol you can sign legal agreements, forge tokens, and send these tokenized assets on the blockchain in one fell swoop.

Join the Movement

We’re arranging the world’s commercial transactions. Using OpenLaw, anyone can more efficiently engage in commercial transactions, all while leveraging next-generation blockchain-based smart contracts.

To learn more about OpenLaw, check out our site and documentation for an overview and detailed reference guides. You can also find us at hello@openlaw.io or tune in in our community Slack channel. Follow our Medium and Twitter for further announcements, tutorials, and helpful tips over the upcoming weeks and months.


Written by


A legal operating system for blockchains. By @awrigh01 and @bmalaus; a @ConsenSys spoke. https://openlaw.io/