Repetition: this is the bane of existence for many small and large companies, specifically when it comes to data management, contract analysis and compliance. The majority of people spend most of their time looking for basic stuff, points out TechCrunch, not just in legal departments but in all aspects of admin. The majority of those tasks can be accelerated by artificial intelligence (AI) and other aspects of automation.

AI is popular with businesses these days. Technology never sleeps, it doesn’t clock out for the night, it doesn’t get sick. It just keeps working and working – which is a big benefit to companies of any kind, as well as their legal departments. While AI can help you activate important data in contracts across any organization, from finance and accounting to sales and operations, let’s stick with the legal arena for the purposes of this article. Perhaps in no other industry is contract management more important than for law firms.

Let’s take a look at 10 ways in which AI helps clients manage contracts.

1. e-Discovery

Basically , electronic discovery includes identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request as part of a law suit or investigation. It used to be that the use of AI in this domain was pretty straightforward: searching for keywords in megabytes of data. It certainly saved a lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent paying paralegals to locate documents that could be relevant to a case.

A bit later on, AI was used to eliminate the clutter of duplicate documents and track strings of e-mails, again saving an immense amount of time and money. Now, AI has the capability to search documents for context, concepts and tone as part of something called predictive coding. This goes well beyond simple keyword searches. It’s used as a critical tool within compliance investigations, helping people sift through mountains of data in just minutes.

2. Due Diligence Reviews

Leading a due diligence review for a corporate transaction is fraught with a lot of busy work by a lot of lawyers who have to sift through an amazingly large amount of documents to detect litigation issues, key contract clauses, corporate governance and intellectual property, to name a few. This can take hours and days to complete. But with AI, it’s possible to find specific legal concepts and even generate written reports about the findings.

3. Contract Preparation

Any lawyer who drafts contracts knows that the ability to create and use form agreements with standard terms and conditions and limited customization is a godsend. Form contracts save a company time, allowing for a consistent set of agreements made possible by AI tools that not only can create contracts but create them using any parameters the legal department deems important.

In fact, this tool can be set up as a client portal, if you will, where clients can log onto the system, select the type of contract they need and enter in some variables, after which time the system produces a standard form agreement that’s ready to go.

4. Contract Management

The bane of existence for any lawyer is finding and using a good contract storage and management system. There are understandably many questions one may have at any given point in the client lifecycle regarding contracts: what’s the termination date and when does notice of renewal need to be submitted? Is there a price escalation provision? When can the price increase? What type of notice must go out?

This used to be done manually, and still is at many companies. You can see how time consuming and maddening this process is. Someone has to either create a spreadsheet and track everything by hand, or enter the data into a system whose job it is to pinpoint key terms and dates automatically. With AI, the entry of key information can be done solely via technology and without the need for any human intervention aside from initial setup and troubleshooting.

5. Signatures

The signature process is also made easier, as it can be managed as part of the same tools that initially create the contracts. The result? An automated process from start to signature to storage.

6. Review and Risk

There’s a lot of work that goes into reviewing all of the existing contracts and adding that data into a new database. AI can review the entire contract database, and then provide analysis and organization of those agreements. In fact, it can also manage risk while at the same time ensuring consistency among all contracts.

7. Legal Spend

Many legal departments still use paper invoices, but many are converting to e-billing systems. Those systems are beneficial in many ways; however, many lawyers are just not that good at extracting the information they need in a timely or useful manner. AI solves the problem by analyzing what work was done, how it aligns with other work within the firm, how the work and associated efficiency compares with work done by outside firms, and how it all compares to the market in general. This information could come in very handy, especially in regards to creating reports and dashboards that display what type of work is coming into your legal department, who is working on it, how long the project is taking, and what the risk profiles are. You can also use these tools to assign the work to the right lawyers for the case.

8. Litigation Analysis

The U.S. court system’s public records are overflowing with information, including opinions and orders of courts and jury verdicts. AI allows you to search all of that data, with the added ability to predict the outcome of litigation. It can also compare the facts of your case to other cases that have already been decided by a court, thus allowing you to find out your odds of winning a case.

9. “Wrong Doing” Detection

AI can be used to detect bribery, fraud, compliance issues, even potential litigation based on the content of the company’s documents and data. It can also summarize conversations and the ideas discussed, detect the use of code words, determine the frequency of the communication, and actually identify the mood of the speakers.

10. Legal Research

Research can be made much easier with the ability to ask legal questions in plain language and receive an answer back that includes information on regulations, case law and secondary sources. You can even use it in an FAQ fashion to address basic legal, HR and compliance questions from clients, with the innate ability to send the answer to a live attorney who can take over from there.

AI is here. In legal departments, law firms, and many other industries. It helps people do things faster, better and cheaper. The existing technology is only going to expand for contract management, but the possibilities are intriguing as AI has its hand in all aspects of the workflow lifecycle.

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