The 21st century has seen the rise of artificial intelligence to unparalleled heights. AI is now relevant to most, if not all industries, and has transformed business significantly in the past decade. The ability to efficiently adjust to this increasingly data-driven world is what ultimately determines the performance of an organization; the information-heavy legal world is, of course, no exception to this trend.
Artificial Intelligence: now a necessity for accuracy
Contract and document review doesn’t just make up a significant part of lawyers work -it is also one of the most frustrating, error-prone, and time-consuming lawyerly activities. When done manually, it often leads to disastrous human error and prevents lawyers from devoting time to other important activities that can grow and scale an organization’s operations.
Research shows that inefficient contracting causes firms to lose between 5% to 40% of the value on a given deal. In response to this reality, firms dealing with high volumes of detail-heavy contracts have been able to significantly increase their efficiency and speed with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
There is an increasing dependence of most industries on Machine Learning and Deep Learning tools that help simplify human work. Now, the time has arrived for the overworked legal industry to incorporate technology in roles that no longer need precious human work hours.
Contract review is undoubtedly one of these roles.
A helping hand against human limitation
Artificial intelligence learns as it works. This means that AI becomes more accurate as it analyzes more documents, unlike humans, who increasingly make errors due to fatigue while they drudge through an increasing number of documents. Modern software has the capacity to read contracts accurately in any format and extract and analyze the data at much faster speeds than a team of contract reviewers. The herculean and increasingly unachievable task of efficiently going through large volumes of contract data can be reduced to an activity taking merely a few seconds with the help of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.
The fast learning AI also has the capacity to accurately catch an anomaly in a document, something that several times, goes unnoticed by a human legal professional.
Scalability, an added benefit
The capacity of a machine learning tool to automatically analyze a large volume of contracts in less time than a human facilitates scalability irrespective of the size of the workforce. The money, time and man-power saved by incorporating automation into contract related functions can now be used elsewhere to scale the operations of an organization and increase the workload that an organization can take on.
Manual Contract analysis tends to involve a trade-off between time and accuracy.
Not putting in enough time into reviewing a document can increase the risk of inaccuracy and error. To avoid this, lawyers need to put in very long hours to ensure an accurate review.
Ironically, concentrating on reviewing documents for long periods of time can tire a lawyer out. Exhaustion naturally ends up diminishing the accuracy that all those extra hours of work were supposed to achieve in the first place!
Situations like these are not only common but they are also ‘lose-lose’ situations. Lawyers who experience this, lose both time and accuracy. These are the very real, natural limitations to human document review.
Unlike machines, humans get tired.
With intense workload, it is humanly impossible to work for long hours at a stretch without seeing a dip in efficiency.
Clearly, longer hours of manual review often end up doing more harm than good. Artificial Intelligence eliminates this issue altogether and allows legal operators to focus on activities that require human judgment and creativity.
In conclusion, technology has become a lucrative investment for the legal industry since it promises a perfect trifecta: large scale, accurate contract analysis at lower costs.
- Beverly Rich, How AI is Changing Contracts, February 12th, 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/02/how-ai-is-changing-contracts
- Avneesh Marwaha, Seven Benefits Of Artificial Intelligence For Law Firms, July 13th, 2017, https://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2017/07/seven-benefits-artificial-intelligence-law-firms
- Maura R. Grossman & Gordon V. Cormack, TECHNOLOGY-ASSISTED REVIEW IN E-DISCOVERY CAN BE MORE EFFECTIVE AND MORE EFFICIENT THAN EXHAUSTIVE MANUAL REVIEW, Vol. XVII, Issue 3,2,48 (2011)
- Keith Kirkpatrick, AI Can Optimize The Review And Analysis Of Legal Contracts, October 18th, 2019, https://tractica.omdia.com/artificial-intelligence/ai-can-optimize-the-review-and-analysis-of-legal-contracts