What is Automated Contract Review?

Contract analysis software

We live in a world where time is money. For corporate legal teams, this truism resonates particularly deeply: there are only so many hours in a day to structure transactions, draft documents, negotiate deals, attend meetings and make calls toward those ends.

The most rewarding parts of the law profession stem from the problem-solving and analysis work that happens when we get to really dig deep into a task or case, giving it all our focus and time as we work toward the desired result. Of course, not every part of the job can be that thrilling—often, time feels wasted or poorly spent when we spend hours scanning and reviewing data-laden documents like contracts, looking for simple mistakes or notable items.

That’s where BlackBoiler’s Automated Contract Review Software can help. Imagine the contract review process taking less than half the time and allowing you to focus on higher-level work. Sounds good, right? Let’s look into it.

What is Automated Contract Review?

Automated contract review is exactly what it sounds like: contracts are reviewed by artificial intelligence (AI) technology instead of a person. AI can review contracts and identify patterns in a contract and edit contracts according to your company’s legal playbook. As you’re no doubt aware, some types of contracts are relatively formulaic or standardized; NDAs, for example, have a generic tone and follow a straightforward pattern. BlackBoiler’s contract AI will know this, and will do the following things:

  • The AI/ML will amalgamate all the previous NDAs it has accessed, collating data to be able to cross-reference for similarities or differences.
  • Based on that data, AI/ML will highlight what it perceives as either standard or important parts of that particular contract style. In short, BlackBoiler’s AI will learn directly from your firm’s playbook.
  • The AI/ML would then check the current contract in question against the database, looking for discrepancies.
  • The AI/ML can offer review and markup via “track changes” features.

This process, which would take a human reviewer an hour or more, takes the contract AI only about one minute (Kohn, 2017). At a minimum, BlackBoiler’s AI can save you 70% or more time on a single review. So the contract AI not only saves your firm a solid hour, but it’s also less likely to commit errors than a human reviewer due to the thorough application of its algorithms. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s not: it’s the state of contract software today, and legal teams can benefit from it. BlackBoiler is proud to be leading the way.

How common is this practice?

If you’re concerned that clients or peers in the field will look at you sideways for considering contract AI to review contracts, fear not: AI contract review and contract lifecycle management (CLM) have grown increasingly popular in the last several years, with more and more professionals adopting these tools.

The pandemic added momentum to the contract AI movement. In an economy with limited labor (and finances) and fragile human health, contract software offers reliable service and support without health risks, hiring, onboarding, or paying wages. A one-time investment in contract AI can cost less over time than paying multiple paralegals, or less than using your own billable hours for a task a computer can do.

If you look at the business world, recent studies show that 68% of senior executives in large corporations have started investing more capital in contract AI. More than 46% of these investors are using AI in their own companies. This significant trend shows that in the not-so-distant future, AI will likely be seen as standard practice in business. The legal industry will have to keep up, utilizing automated contract review to participate in dealings at the speed that corporations will have come to expect with their own use of contract AI and ML.

How can I ensure accuracy with Contract AI?

If you’re worried about implementing AI contract review software because you’re concerned about errors, you shouldn’t be. Not only is contract AI more accurate than human workers, but you can also create a hybrid model in which trained lawyers can keep an eye on the reviews done by AI/ML. This oversight can help train and educate the system, as well as give legal teams the confidence that the process is going well and won’t change.

The benefit of hybrid systems involves the ways AI and ML learn. For a system like this to continue to change and learn new things, a human needs to both give it new information and encourage it to draw the right conclusions from that information. These hybrid systems not only allay fears of error but also actively create better and stronger and smarter AI/ML algorithms, ultimately resulting in better work. BlackBoiler’s contract AI will be learning right along with you, improving its value over time.

Implementing Contract Software

One big problem with using AI/ML for automated contract review on a large scale is that most lawyers and law firms are not also tech experts, and the software and tech skills needed to keep AI running can be scary. Surely, the work can be outsourced—but that’s another resource you pay for. Then again, time is money: what’s your time worth to you? Outsourcing the management of this type of technology resource may be worthwhile if it increases billable hours, reduces errors, and eliminates the risk of workforce availability and health issues when meeting deadlines.

Conclusion

The future is already here: AI contract software is already supporting major corporations as they push to keep up with the speed of business. Legal teams can make good use of this technology through BlackBoiler’s automated contract review software. If a machine can quickly and efficiently review contracts in one minute what would take a person an hour, isn’t it worth considering?

Your clients will be glad to have swift and error-free reviews; your wallet will thank you as contract AI is an investment over time; and your calendar will be most grateful of all, as you’re able to turn your attention and talents to the part of your job that you find the most invigorating: the actual practice of the law, not just the minutiae-management of reviewing standard and repetitive contracts.

While some fear that AI/ML can be too powerful a tool to engage, we think that fear is unrealistic; AI already supports so many parts of our personal and professional lives (Hi, Alexa! Hi, Siri!) that it isn’t a far cry to wonder how they might also improve a practice like a contract review. With automated contract review software, legal teams can use technology to make their jobs easier, faster, and less likely to have mistakes. If time is money, isn’t that worth a minute of your time?

Want to see it in action?

Head over to request a demo to see for yourself why hundreds of companies trust BlackBoiler’s AI Contract Review software.