Artificial Intelligence and Automated Contract Review
Contract review technologies have been around for years, but they have primarily been used to store and organize contracts. But more innovative tools are now available to companies that eliminate the tedious, manual, and time-consuming aspects of contract review. Artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, is setting new standards by using pattern recognition to help lawyers extract key variables such as clauses, dates, names, etc., more easily and effectively.
Artificial intelligence is now relevant to most, if not all, industries and has significantly transformed business in recent years. The ability to efficiently adapt to this increasingly data-driven world ultimately determines an organization’s performance; the information-heavy world of law is, of course, no exception to this trend.
Artificial intelligence: foundation for accuracy
Reviewing contracts not only makes up a large part of lawyers’ work - it’s also one of the most frustrating, error-prone, and time-consuming activities. When done manually, it often leads to human error and keeps lawyers from engaging in other important activities that help grow and scale a company’s business.
- Finding relevant legal language, regardless of its location in a contract or related contract
- Comparing legal language with standard texts or previously defined terms
- Checking for consistency and variation of legal language in a contract
Artificial intelligence: a helping hand
Artificial intelligence learns as it works. This means that AI becomes more accurate the more contracts it analyzes, unlike humans who make more and more mistakes due to fatigue as they wade through a growing number of contracts.
Modern software is able to accurately read contracts in any format and extract and analyze the data much faster than a team of contract reviewers. The increasingly impossible task of efficiently sifting through large volumes of contract data can be reduced to an activity that takes only a few seconds using machine learning and natural language processing.
Fast-learning AI is also able to detect anomalies in a contract that often go unnoticed by human lawyers.
Artificial Intelligence: enabling scalability
The ability of AI to automatically analyze a large volume of contracts in less time than a human facilitates scalability regardless of the size of the workforce. The money, time and manpower saved by automating manual contract work can now be used more efficiently elsewhere to scale a company’s operations.
Manual contract analysis often comes down to a trade-off between time and accuracy. Not investing enough time in reviewing a contract increases the risk of inaccuracies and errors. To avoid this, lawyers need to invest a lot of hours to ensure accurate review.
Artificial intelligence: pushing the human boundaries
The constant focus on reviewing contracts for long periods of time often tires lawyers. The exhaustion naturally leads to a lack of accuracy in contract review to the degree to which they are accustomed! These are the very real, natural limits of human contract review.
Unlike machines, humans get tired. When the workload is heavy, it is impossible to work long hours at a stretch without a drop in efficiency.
Clearly, hours of manual review often does more harm than good. Artificial intelligence eliminates this problem entirely, allowing lawyers to focus on activities that require human judgment and creativity.
In summary, understanding what artificial intelligence can and cannot do is important to the success of its implementation and use in the contract review process. As this technology continues to evolve, it is not only a time-saving tool for lawyers and reduces the risk of human error in contract creation and review, but is becoming an indispensable foundation of successful contract reviews.
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