Still worried about “Tesco-law”? We’ve moved on. Automated lawyer services are live, up and running and gaining in credibility through highly satisfied users and scientific studies which have analysed what lawyers do, and found that much of our hard work could be replicated with A.I.
Could a Robolawyer take a client all the way to the Supreme Court? Obviously not (yet?), but we’re likely to see significant advances in automated legal processes over the next 20 years.
A.I. legal services including automated legal document production such as HotDocs have already caught on in North America, but LawGeex have upped the game and set themselves aside from the competition through developing a completely new process which may just change the face of legal document production as we know it. I caught up with Shmuli Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing at LawGeex while he was in London to find out more.
Other services start by generating a template document, then walk you through the process of filling in the specifics that need your attention – which can get you up and running on the right document and help avoid mistakes like entering in the wrong data, or missing fields altogether that need your attention.
But what if you’re looking for something more specific or you want to use your own legal document? Is it possible to develop a A.I. process that will review your specific draft contract, then show you the where how and why of what needs to be changed, exactly like a lawyer would?
Incredibly, LawGeex have developed a contract review platform which does exactly that – it mimics what you would expect a lawyer to do, but lawyer-free, at least of the human kind.
Why would people use automated services instead of humans? Well, they could be more reliable, quicker, have more immediate access to data than our under-powered brains, they don’t catch flu or complain about being overworked and most crucially, they will be cheaper and won’t exceed their fee estimate. Cheaper? Actually FREE in some cases.
LawGeex has squared up to and scared the US contract law market with an automated contract review service which covers a huge range of contracts including commercial leases, contracts for the sale of services and goods, employment contracts (which it does free for personal use) and a range of other business and financial agreements.
I asked Shmuli how this incredible process is achieved:
“After you upload your contract, LawGeex uses cutting-edge text analytics and machine learning algorithms to read your contract, analyse its content, translate it to plain English, and compare it to thousands of similar contracts. The final report is then passed to our legal team of experienced US lawyers who do a final quality check before you see the results, just to make sure the feedback is super clear and accurate.”
I checked out their website to see how easy this is from a user’s perspective. I was up and running in seconds. First off, you select your payment option, choose from a range of affordable and clear pricing options, put your contract by uploading it to their website, wait from 2 to 24 hours max, and hey presto!
Your contract is returned to you with a detailed report showing which key clauses are missing (including suggested wording), which clauses are unusual, and what clauses may need further attention and why. How user friendly is this? Very! It blows a lawyer’s long list of emailed issues/tracked changes out of the water with its user friendly graphics, segmentation of issues and clarity.
Shmuli explained to me how the world’s first automated legal review service was born:
“Noori Bechor, CEO of LawGeex came up with the idea after he found that 90% of his work as a contract lawyer involved using standard contracts and terms, and the remainder of the work involved in identifying specific variables, missing clauses and amendments could be ascertained quicker through an automated process. Noori partnered with Ilan Admon, a leading A.I expert, who together developed the world’s first automated contract review platform using A.I.”
And how have clients taken to an automated legal review process?
“ we only launched a few months ago, but we already have thousands of clients, ranging from individuals to smaller companies to huge corporations including Deloitte. The appeal to companies who process large numbers of contracts of the same type, for example for mortgage contracts, is that they can be checked very quickly and without the need for time consuming in house and external lawyer labour”
How have you built your clients so quickly?
“Mainly through word of mouth from very happy customers who are delighted with both the ease of use and cost savings offered by LawGeex’s service. They are using LawGeex to check contracts which they would normally process in-house without using a lawyer, therefore achieving better contracts at a low price – from around 20$ US per contract.”
So, I asked Shmuli, how are you coping with the massive demand?
“All the hard work has been done before we launched, so its very easy to cope with the increase in demand. We are a small but rapidly growing team of 15 to 20 staff including our in-house lawyers. 95% of the work is done through the automated process – but the lawyers do check what goes in and out”
And how many contracts are covered by this service?
“At the moment we cover over 30 contract types, which we intend to increase. We can do any contract type, but it takes time to develop the process for each one”
And what guarantee or indemnity is provided to your clients?
“We are very open about the fact that we are not a law firm – what we do with in the process is about explaining what the contract says and does in plain terms and giving information on what is normal using statistical information. We won’t say “it’s good to sign” – our focus is giving the information that helps our clients make the decision on what is needed to develop and produce a contract that they need. And we offer a Legal Assurance service – which means for the next 12 months after we generate our contract report our paying clients can speak directly to our lawyers if they have any queries. ”
So why would clients choose LawGeex’s service?
“Our accuracy rate is higher, it’s quicker and it’s a fraction of the cost of a traditional lawyer”
And what do you plan to do with the $2.5 US million business development investment?
“The main priority is to continue to develop the technology and expand from the current 30 contract types we review. We’ve also developed a customer support team, so we now have telephone and email support for our customers”
And, finally, the question I wanted to ask right at the start, so are you planning to launch in the UK?
“Definitely! US contract law is more complex so the process of developing an automated process for reviewing contracts in the UK and within Europe should be easier, but we’re not there yet….”
How seriously is LawGeex being taken in the US? Some people are getting very very excited about LawGeex and have predicted it will make a huge impact in the US legal market, which presumably they could achieve with the right combination of user recommendations and perhaps a dash of publicity. Or maybe that’s not needed?
How worried should UK contract lawyers be? Well, work out how much you would charge for putting together and reviewing 30 commercial contracts a month, calculate the difference between your fees and LawGeex’s estimated fees of, let’s say £300 to £500 a month, then think about how the answer may be weighed up by your clients. The good news is, presumably they might create some jobs in the UK for the human element of the checking process?
So, using a much overused cliche, I’ll leave you with that bombshell. Many thanks to Shmuli for his time.