Offering an Upper Hand? AI and Contract Review

Offering an Upper Hand? AI and Contract Review

Artificial intelligence has already stepped up to the bench. Now one company says it’s getting down to the fine print and eliminating the time-consuming work of reviewing contracts.

According to a Futurism report, commercial lawyer Noory Bechor was weary of spending an estimated 80 percent of his time reviewing contracts and believed that a computer, specifically algorithms, could do it “cheaper, faster, and more accurately.” In 2014, Bechor founded LawGeex — a platform for automatized contract review.

Here’s how it works: A user uploads a contract and, within an hour on average, he or she receives a report that lists the clauses that aren’t up to common legal standards, the potentially missing clauses and those clauses that might require revision.

According to the ambitious AI company, which claims a clientele of predominantly corporate legal departments, it intends to “automate the entire legal world” in the next couple years.

On another contract technology note, one global law firm is studying the potential benefits of “smart contracts” as well as the legal and organizational issues around them.

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Hogan Lovells and dug into the firm’s work with smart contracts, which are software that uses blockchain technology to “automatically execute a contract with no human intervention once coded conditions are met.”

Hogan Lovells partner Ted Mlynar stated in the report that these types of contracts require a tighter relationship between lawyers, clients and the computer programmers responsible for writing the electronic agreements. Per Mlynar, there’s a gap to be bridged between traditional and smart contracts — one that requires a lawyer or group of lawyers to be knowledgeable in both the legal and technological details.

Lewis Cohen, another Hogan Lovells partner, raised additional questions around smart contracts, like the type of legal relationship that has been created, whether it’s enforceable and would a court be able to understand it.

While there’s “legal gray area” to clarify, The Wall Street Journal predicts smart contracts could change how law firms work with clients in the future. As firms “translate traditional contracts into executable code,” it could result in a closer working relationship between the CIO and the GC’s office.

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