January 8 by Omer Rafatullah
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a disruptive technology that can be leveraged by lawyers to simultaneously streamline the contracting process and enhance the value of lawyers to a business enterprise. Too much of lawyers’ time is currently spent conducting relatively rote tasks—e.g., drafting and negotiating risk allocation provisions and reviewing contracts for basic business terms—many of which can be largely automated via AI. Once relieved of such burden, lawyers can focus their time and energy on aligning contracting strategy, particularly in cases of deviation from preset norms, with the value drivers of the enterprise, all while continuing to be cognizant of potential areas of risk.
With the assistance of AI, the legal team can position itself as a value-add function rather than a cost center, critical to the successful growth of an enterprise, in the same vein as the sales team or other traditional revenue-oriented functions. Oftentimes, the legal team is viewed as a bottleneck or potential hindrance to other business functions due to the inherent delay between consensus among the business leads on commercial terms and finalization of the contracts. AI can be leveraged to minimize such delays, allowing for an optimized path to revenue generation and provision of products or services to customers.
Across a variety of industries, business leaders have recognized the value of leveraging an enterprise’s data. Lawyers will be able to use AI to collect and process data from current and past contracts and couple such data with supplemental data regarding experiences outside the bounds of the contract, which they can then analyze to make informed, data-driven recommendations in the face of both foreseen and unforeseen circumstances and on a proactive, rather than solely reactive, basis.
Real world examples of the value of AI in the legal industry are already apparent with the continuing adoption of e-discovery resources and the emergent electronic diligence resources in the transactional practice. Lawyers leveraging AI will have the tools to optimize the analytical and strategic components of their function while minimizing the cost and time inefficiencies of rote, essentially administrative tasks. Those unwilling or unable to leverage AI will face the risk of remaining a perceived cost center and bottleneck to the strategic growth of an enterprise in the eyes of business leaders.