Legal departments that process third-party contracts and RFPs, must ensure risk mitigation while delivering at speed. The faster contracts are executed, the sooner the business can begin servicing clients—and accruing revenue. AI technology can speed the contract-to-close process, delivering 25-30 percent cost saving over traditional in-house support models.
With the myriad of legal technologies entering and leaving the market, it can be difficult to know which application is worth the investment. Technical terms such as “machine learning”, “latent semantic indexing”, and “natural language processing” that are used to describe technology-based solutions are inconsistent in their definition and application.
While each company will have specific business and legal requirements, the following list highlights the key performance criteria that a legal team should consider when selecting an AI application:
Background and Roadmap: In addition to sharing basic background about the company (years in business, industries served, and references), vendors should disclose: years focused on AI development, their three-year road map, and functionality in development. Find out how willing the provider is to add functionality specific to your law department, and whether the provider has access to the funding needed to execute future state improvements to their AI.
“Under the Hood”: As the industry continues to define the parameters of “true AI”, many providers may have only superficially embraced “AI- or analytics-enabled” solutions. Ask what specific types of AI the provider is utilizing, does the application leverage natural language processing (NLP), latent semantic indexing, deep learning, or a mixture of multiple functionalities? Ask how the provider’s application is trained, how it learns, and how much front-end development time is needed to achieve a minimum viable product (MVP) for your business.
End-user Interface: A good AI application requires more than robust back-end functionality. To achieve adoption by legal teams, it is important that the AI application also has an intuitive interface. Ask the provider to show how an end-user can download, access, and interface with the application and whether training is provided post-implementation.
Integration: It is essential for any AI application deployment to integrate with existing legal/enterprise software, because it will sit within existing commercial function workflows. A good AI application will integrate seamlessly with existing enterprise software, including MS Word/O365 applications, existing Contract Lifecycle Management Systems (CLMS), Obligation Management Systems (OMS), and any Shared Drives/Shared Folders/Repositories, where core agreements are housed.
Data Protection: Vendors should offer options for hosting and protecting data. Determine whether the provider hosts data in their own environment, whether data is hosted on the cloud, of if data can be hosted on-premise behind your firewall? Ask what physical and network security measures the provider has in place to keep your data secure and separated from their other clients.
Legal-specific: While many AI applications can perform impressive feats across large volumes of data, it is important that the provider also has a clear understanding of the challenges in the current commercial legal landscape. The provider should offer specific use cases, applied to supporting commercial legal functions, examples of proven ROI for clients, and projected timelines to realize savings after tool deployment.
Proof of Concept (PoC): A tier-one AI provider will have solutions to many of the challenges associated with bespoke contract language. Most providers will offer a free or low-cost PoC that will allow you one-to-two weeks to test the tool with your own data.
Global Support Capabilities: AI vendors should not only provide a superior product but allow access to resources to aid your law department, with global help desk support, training, and custom development. Ask a prospective provider about ongoing support options, either directly or through a channel partner.
UnitedLex is a pioneer in the field of legal service optimization, with $20B in total contract value under management, and having partnered with Fortune 500 companies to transform their legal and contracting functions. To read more about how AI technology can optimize the contract review process, read our whitepaper AI-Driven Commercial Contract Review.