June 13 by Robert C Couch
There is a lot of news about Artificial Intelligence (AI), but it doesn’t always seem relevant to corporate law. You can buy a robot toy with AI, you can speak to an AI assistant on your phone, and someday soon, let AI drive your car. In the corporate world, AI can deliver impact to the top and bottom line in numerous ways. But how can it help the law department, specifically?
So it was no surprise to see hundreds of senior attorneys and legal operations leaders gathered for an opening session of the Association of Corporate Counsel Legal Operations conference on the topic of AI.
8 Ways Law Departments Can Use Artificial Intelligence
For the law department, the promise of AI is much the same as elsewhere in the business world: AI technology can reduce costs by automating routine tasks and assisting workers to perform complex tasks faster and more accurately. Given the imperative to control legal costs, every Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel needs to consider appropriate AI-based technologies to achieve their departmental goals.
Here are 8 ways that law departments can use existing AI tools effectively.
1. Manage outside spending:
AI-enabled spend management tools can review invoices, manage accruals and deliver analytics to show opportunities for cost reduction that might not be apparent even to a trained expert.
With AI, software can flag documents that are likely to be relevant to a litigation with at least the level of accuracy of a human reviewer and can conduct the analysis far faster.
3. Contract risk reduction:
During drafting and negotiation, AI identifies specific language that is associated with a particular risk, such as extended cycle time due to the counterparty rejecting the language. The AI can offer an alternative with less risk.
4. Due diligence:
The AI can analyze all documents involved in an event, such as an M&A transaction, and flag the business risks seen across the body of contracts.
5. Litigation outcomes:
Using AI, legal strategists can use past outcomes of cases to predict the outcome of an upcoming case. This capability lets the AI software offer an accurate assessment of the appropriate way forward, or the best settlement offer, for a current litigation.
6. Contract ingestion:
AI can “read” incoming contracts and correctly identify legal clauses and business terms, offering greater speed and accuracy than expert processing. AI is highly capable for reading both single contracts and many thousands of contracts, helping with the costly problem of scaling contract review teams quickly.
7. Legal research:
Specialized AI, which cover large databases of legal information, can point researchers to the correct data much faster than other search methods.
Last, but not least, interactive AI can empower professionals to work using natural language, leading to better adherence to company processes and the potential for productivity outside of the traditional laptop computer.
Even though AI can do a lot, it can still only do so much. Artificial Intelligence cannot replace legal judgment, and no company will be able to replace its law department with a machine any time soon. The future of corporate law still belongs to the lawyers—but only the lawyers who know how to use AI to extend, enhance and optimize their own capabilities.