The use of artificial intelligence is a key trend driving change across many sectors. Retail, Big Tech, entertainment, and gaming are some of the many industries that have been quick to adopt AI and use it to their benefit. However, one sector that is yet to fully embrace artificial intelligence is the legal industry.
Most legal teams still perform most tasks manually. These tasks are often cumbersome and burn a lot of time and money. In today’s cut-throat legal industry, it is imperative for legal teams to switch to better, more efficient business processes.
Automation presents a great opportunity for businesses looking to streamline their operations. Contract automation tools make it possible for a legal team to completely automate back-office tasks such as labeling, arranging, filing, and retrieving hundreds of legal documents. Some of these tools can entirely draft standard legal documents based on company data and other custom parameters. This allows lawyers to skip the mundane tasks that usually waste their time and channel it towards building client relationships or ironing out the finer, more important details in legal documents.
How AI is helping law firms become more efficient
AI algorithms usually consist of several tools that perform different tasks like intelligent indexing and Natural Language Processing (NLP). These tasks usually work in tandem to produce one smooth workflow that maximizes efficiency and minimizes (if not eliminate) human error. AI-powered tools help legal firms perform better by:
- Automating the drafting and review process
Standard documents like procurement contracts and NDAs can be prepared much quicker with the help of automation tools. These tools read and process your playbook and previous contracts to identify and learn the different patterns, details, and bylaws in them to then review and markup contracts. The alchemy of NLP tools makes this possible through complex semantic and lexical analysis that can identify specific phrases and the context they are used in. The result is a standardized contract review process that is much better, and error-free.
- Enhancing risk mitigation
Once a legal document is prepared, due diligence needs to be performed before it can be sent to a client. Without AI, this process, no matter how thorough, is subject to a certain amount of human error. This can be risky for important legal documents like sales contracts and NDAs. The smallest of loopholes can end up costing a client tons of money.
AI systems are capable of reviewing and redlining legal documents within seconds. Intelligent NLP tools find and replace ambiguous words/phrases to make sure the legal document is air-tight.
- Improving organizational workflows
Unlike early automation tools, contemporary models take a more comprehensive approach to automating the legal pre-execution process. After documents are created, redlined, and edited, these tools deliver them over email, just like a human attorney would. This helps them seamlessly blend in with both the client’s and law firm’s workflows. Complete automation of back-office tasks further streamlines these workflows by making them quicker, error-free, and more efficient.
- Reducing burnout for attorneys and legal staff
Tedious administrative tasks tend to bog employees down. Doing the same repetitive data filing and retrieval tasks is both inefficient and counter-productive because it leads to a much higher rate of employee fatigue and burnout. This, in turn, affects the quality of work that the attorneys put out. Automating clerical tasks allow them to focus on more important legal matters and supervise the drafting of more complex documents that require a certain degree of human intervention. The senior team members can negotiate with clients and build fruitful professional relationships that benefit the firm.
- In-depth contract analysis
One of the most important yet underused features of AI automation tools is analytics panels and dashboards. These panels help with legal research and provide actionable, data-driven insights related to contract performance and efficiency. They can also be customized to display specific employee/system-related insights that can help firms further streamline their legal processes.
Challenges posed by AI-driven automation
One of the most pressing challenges in AI-driven contract automation is algorithmic transparency. Most users have no clue how these automation algorithms work and are unaware of their pitfalls. For example, their tendency to make unauthorized edits and an over-dependence on a few key processes.
Being aware of these challenges is an important step towards coping with and ultimately working around them to produce top-quality, error-free work that doesn’t have any loopholes. Opting for systems that let legal teams maintain ultimate authority over work processes is generally recommended. AI-powered automation is conceptualized as a supplementary process that still requires some human supervision.
AI tools are changing the global legal landscape. While there are certain challenges that need to be overcome, adopting tools with the right features and user control provisions can help ensure complete data and organizational safety while working with AI. Comprehensive pre-execution tools like Blackboiler offer complete automation of the contract drafting and review process with the promise of enhanced data safety.