Technology has made the life of a lawyer easier, with the advent of the paperless office and e-filing, and cloud based storage. But what about the technology behind drafting contracts?

THE PROBLEM

Drafting contracts requires never-ending revisions, multiple attempts at execution, and tracking changes. Is it possible for Artificial Intelligence to create a contract from nothingness and replace a lawyer’s skill set?

Simply put, contract management software is becoming the new AI for transactional attorneys. For example, reports can be generated to track contracts still in negotiation, contracts set for execution or expiration in 30, 60, or 90 days, contracts related to a particular show or venue can be tracked or whether various contracts meet the very detailed union specifications. So will we still need contract lawyers? And what options are available?

THE TECH OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Agiloft helps the attorney keep track of numerous contracts and offers the ability to create a contract from scratch. Agiloft is not a one-size -fits-all program, as it provides nearly unlimited customization through easy-to-use wizards. However, many have found the unlimited customization to become daunting. It offers a free version too. The paid version, which provides extensive data storage, unlimited support, email integration and other services, starts at $2,700 per year. Contract Insight helps with tracking existing contracts through the approval process and beyond. It offers a highly customizable and feature-rich solution. It’s available in both an on premises or cloud based version. The Packages feature is extremely useful for those who frequently use template-based contracts. However, customization can be burdensome to set up and manage and may require in house IT assistance. The express edition starts at $59 per month per user. The enterprise edition starts at $5,000 per year for five users.

Contractually is perfect for users who are focused on the lifecycle management of contract, from  creation and approval to managing and processing existing contracts. It’s user-friendly, cloud based, and good for smaller companies because of its low price. The pro edition is $100 per month and the business edition is $500 per month. The downside is that the program is not customizable.

UpDraft takes a user friendly, interview-based approach to contract creation, and at the end of the interview, there’s a contract ready for signatures.  But, it does require a considerable time to install and implement. Price is based upon the number of users per month, starting at $125. As the number of users increases, the price-per-user decreases to as low as $22 per person. However, in addition to the monthly fee, there are implementation fees, which can become costly. Implementation fee is $380 for every client or vendor.

AI WILL STILL NEED A LAWYER’S GUIDANCE

AI can “learn” things long-term and separately “remember” large amounts of details from new documents or older versions and is very good at keeping data sets separate. AI is essentially better than a human mind at recall large amounts of data. But the skill set of a lawyer is still very essential to crafting the nuisances in each contract and drafting the network of template contracts that AI requires. When it comes down to it, computers are not better than lawyers at navigating the unique contractual needs of a particular client, but AI will assuredly sharpen our capabilities.

 

Sources: https://devblogs.nvidia.com/parallelforall/understanding-natural-language-deep-neural-networks-using-torch/, http://www.wired.com/2015/06/ais-next-frontier-machines-understand-language/,

Sources: http://abovethelaw.com/2016/02/how-technology-can-make-you-a-better-lawyer/; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2488175,00.asp

Written by: Kimberlina N. McKinney

Research and Contributions by: Mary Zaghikian