December 13 by Nicole Black

Software now facilitates negotiation and collaboration. Future contracts will advance that movement further and could represent the demise of email to streamline all aspects of the contracting process. In addition, secure electronic communication will produce more thoughtful conversations.

These communication portals are already built into many practice management tools for users to share, edit, sign and comment on documents because using unencrypted email alone is like sending postcards through the mail. There will likely be more tools to produce audit trails in anticipation of future litigation.

Artificial Intelligence to help lawyers find missing clauses or outlier provisions in contracts will transform the way they work, though we will always need lawyers to confirm the implementation of this data. Changing culture is the biggest roadblock in a typically slow conversion process.

That said, while solo practitioners and small firm lawyers generally adapt to new technology more quickly than their peers in bigger practices, large and mid-sized firms are leveraging contract analytics more aggressively given their client base. Market forces will fuel more rapid change in the coming years. As breaches and privacy concerns increase, there could even be regulatory shifts that drive mass adoption.

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