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Cutting Through the Hype: AI and Contract Management


As Artificial Intelligence continues to capture the imagination of many industries, its true potential rests on how it is used. For legal departments, the promise of AI lies in its ability to take intricate, labor-intensive tasks and - through automation and machine learning- simplify and expedite workflows. While the possibilities and promises associated with AI are alluring, it’s important to take a more practical approach when it comes to introducing these new tools to your department.

What benefits can legal teams see from AI-enhanced contract management tools now?

At its most basic, AI can help legal departments with the crucial steps of organization and visibility. Documents that, in the past, were manually tagged can now be processed via AI auto-tagging. This type of AI-enhanced functionality makes it easier for staff to search and tag documents based on certain criteria: beginning and end dates, term information, contracting parties, contract type, etc.

Of course, identifying the information you need to monitor for every contract is a cumbersome task. If you don't effectively track the key dates and deadlines, there's a good chance that you'll miss a significant milestone. Automated tagging reduces your burden to monitor these milestones, which in turn reduces compliance-related risks. The potential for AI to improve contract management is exciting. Already, automated tagging features reduce many implementation challenges while also helping with organization, visibility, and compliance.

It is important to keep in mind that human oversight will always be essential to the proper application of AI-enabled software. In fact, the fear that robots will replace lawyers is farfetched and unfounded. After all, an algorithm is only as good as the data it receives. You and your team will still be required to supervise the application of AI, especially as machine learning evolves. So while AI-enabled software can categorize, tag, highlight, and outlines a contract (or even an entire repository), staff will need to monitor and manage the system.

Conclusion: Do You Need AI?

So far, the vast majority of legal departments have yet to embrace artificial intelligence.

Despite slow adoption rates, artificial intelligence—and related technologies such as machine learning— has the potential to radically transform your contract management. Nevertheless, determining the ROI of your AI solution can be tricky, and it depends on what your business is needs. Below are four questions to help you get started:

  • Do you have basic tasks automated?
  • Do you need a specialized solution?
  • Do you trust the data in your contracts?
  • Is your department tech savvy?
Contract Management For The Small Legal Team