Using AI for Contract Reviews

Artificial Intelligence can work for the entire business across the contract lifecycle, offering centralised contract requests, automated triage, document authoring and summarisation, and data extraction.

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Published: 

May 7, 2024

Updated: 

June 20, 2024

Technology was once considered a threat to the legal department's traditional methods. However, as most in-house counsels will now agree, technology has a lot to offer their industry, especially when using it to automate contract reviews and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM).

Contracts are a vital part of everyday life for businesses, defining their relationships with employees, suppliers, and stakeholders. To protect business interests, all contracts should be examined thoroughly to ensure their clauses and terms are robust, legal and financial risk is minimised, and the contracts are accurate and error-free.

Due to this, reviewing a contract requires legal expertise and the ability to interpret the legal language. However, it can also be longwinded and tedious, swallowing up a huge chunk of time.

Contract automation software – especially versions incorporating innovative artificial intelligence (AI) – can automate low-value clerical tasks and significantly speed up the contract review process while allowing the legal team to combine their expertise.

Contract reviews and AI

Artificial Intelligence can work for the entire business, offering centralised contract requests, automated triage, document authoring and summarisation, and data extraction. It can also help with simple questions, offering quick and straightforward answers.

Machine learning is a branch of AI that uses algorithms to ‘teach’ software to learn from a dataset. When used in a contract review, thousands of contracts are analysed, and the software learns and becomes more experienced over time. It can then provide accurate, trusted answers and perform specific tasks, such as drafting guidance based on the organisation’s contact playbook or comparing clauses side by side.

The Pros

• Automation: Contract review tools with embedded AI automate mundane tasks and analyse vast amounts of data to extract valuable insights from contracts, enabling legal teams to move forward and inform decision-making.

• Efficiency: AI contract review is much quicker, taking minutes rather than hours to complete, freeing legal professionals to focus on strategic, high-value tasks.

• Consistency: Artificial intelligence can offer a consistent approach to contract review. It has been ‘taught’ specific phrases and terms, so it can red-flag areas of concern, summarise deviations from standard contract terms, and spot clauses needing negotiation.

• Productivity: AI is solely focused on completing the task and is free from distraction, expediting the contract review process and increasing productivity. It can also lower the margin of error by identifying more risks or mistakes than a human lawyer (Ding, I, 2020).

The Cons

• Data-driven: Artificial Intelligence requires vast amounts of highly diverse data during the learning period to ensure accurate and scalable models.

• Investment: AI also requires time and resources to train and can be costly to purchase.

• Limitations: AI can’t replace everything! Tasks require a lawyer’s experience, knowledge, and expertise. Rather than replace, AI tools complement the work of an in-house lawyer, allowing them to focus on the strategic, high-value work.

Bringing AI in-house with CLM

Digital contract reviews haven’t just become the norm; they’ve become a necessity. Using AI can help redefine how contracts are managed across end-to-end lifecycles, enhance efficiency, and support legal teams to do more with less.

Contract lifecycle management tools like Summize have become the cornerstone of modern business operations; they are a must-have that can be the difference between success and failure. They automate processes across each stage of the contract lifecycle.

Many CLM tools already have some artificial intelligence built in, which can make the digital contracting process more straightforward and smarter and offer the in-house legal team a strategic advantage; it automates contract review and authoring, allowing teams to remain agile and ahead of the competition with a streamlined and innovative process.

Alongside offering a simplified drafting process and AI capabilities for your contract reviews, Summize offers instant, accurate summaries with actionable tasks and red-flag areas of concern. They also extract key dates and add them straight to your calendar.

Summize can integrate seamlessly into your existing workflows, allowing multiple team members across various departments to review and contribute to each contract in real-time. Familiar tools like Teams, Slack, Outlook, and Salesforce can offer faster contract cycles, increase productivity, and reduce legal risk.