Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Law Departments: Navigating the Promises and Pitfalls



Director, Sales Engineering

Recently artificial intelligence (AI) has become a standard topic when discussing enterprise software. Yet there is not a consensus on what exactly it is, and how it can and should be used. Will the contracts tool I select today replace the lawyers of the future? Can a machine really learn to apply the same level of experience-based decision-making that lawyers and paralegals on our team apply today?

Every company Apttus has worked with has stories of technology projects that have failed – end users can’t or won’t use a new system, processes aren’t followed, budget runs out before you even finish the first phase – we’ve all been there. So how can we add advanced technology like AI to our already complex landscapes while overcoming the hurdles that have blocked past transformations?

Start by Building a Foundation

If you have an established contract lifecycle management solution, be sure to assess your organization’s repeatable processes. Standardizing routine operations is a hallmark of efficiency and reflects the legal team’s understanding of the underlying business units’ needs.

Ensure that your contracts are centralized, so you have a single source of truth to ensure accurate reporting and auditing of agreement terms. Implement standard language using clause libraries, templates, and pre-determined approvals. These provide the foundation for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Foundational benefits can be immediate. Key metrics to track include:

o Average time from request to signature

o Percentage of contracts with non-standard language

o Numbers of high and low-risk contracts

o Frequency of template use

Look for Where AI Can Solve Problems Today

There are two primary areas where artificial intelligence can be used to enhance existing processes:

1. Ingesting External Documents: Generally, each party in an agreement would prefer to use their own language, so inevitably the need to work from the negotiating party’s document comes up.

Acceptance and use of third-party paper involves:

· Identifying and comparing language

· Verifying and approving variations from preferred language

· And identifying the risk associated with accepting any variation

This is often tedious but critical work for a legal team. While the current maturity of AI cannot negate the need for lawyers for these tasks, solutions like Apttus Intelligent Import™ can be readily applied to the ingestion of documents to simplify and standardize the identification of key contract elements.

2. Guiding Legal Team Interactions: As is often the case, simply introducing new technology and automation does not always lead to success – enabling your users to access the data they need and guiding them through processes is critical.

To help in this effort Apttus introduced Max, an intelligent virtual assistant that enables users to interact with the Apttus Contract Lifecycle Management application via a conversational user interface. Using natural language processing and speech to text, Max can understand a user’s intent based on everyday language through a simple interface to:

· Proactively offer assistance to a user

· Provide access to training materials

· Guide a user through contract requests or approvals

· Search for contracts using business language

· Apply changes to contract records in bulk

Improvement in these areas can be shown via the following metrics:

o Average time from request to the first redline by contract type

o Risk profile of contracts by internal or external paper

o Percentage of contracts requested that are executed

o Percentage of low-touch contracts

o Number of help tickets

Make Legal Teams More Strategic: Use AI to Give People More Time to Focus on High-Value Tasks

In working with companies to transform their legal operations, we’ve already seen operationally-efficient law departments continue to drive improvement and deliver value to the business through:

· Setting goals for standardization of process and language

· Enabling self-service contracting where possible

· Continual adoption of advanced technologies like AI

As we advance, so does the technology that supports us, and by ensuring we have the foundation and building blocks in place, we enable the adoption of new technology. The metrics we measure are not a one-time measure of success, but an ongoing indicator of areas where continued improvement is possible.

It is not a question if AI will be used by legal operations but when and how. Over the past several years we have seen the desire to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to anticipate the need to gather information, offer predictions, and draw conclusions. The goal is not to replace people, but to enhance organizations’ abilities to succeed in managing risk and supporting its goals.

Fundamental to success with solutions utilizing machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence is the quality of the data available to the technology. Preparing for success involves a focus on standardization and understanding which deviations from standard require human intervention versus human awareness.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, check out the Leveraging Contract Lifecycle Management with Machine Learning: Managing Potentials and Perils webinar.


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