An article written by Chris DeConti, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions – Axiom
Technology is rapidly advancing and has been worming its impact into the legal industry throughout 2017.
Gone are the days of writing letters and awaiting days for a response, as here is the time where AI can help with the lengthy process of due diligence; with this everchanging an exciting era, Lawyer Monthly is launching a three part series into how technology is impacting the legal sector.
To kick off the first part to our series, we hear from Chris DeConti on LegalTech.
In his book, ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab describes the world as entering a new era of rapid technological change and innovation, impacting the digital, physical, and biological world. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and mobile computing are becoming disruptive forces in what Schwab calls the ‘Fourth Revolution’.
These once futuristic concepts are now a growing reality and commercial opportunity – forecasts indicate that global AI revenue will expand from around £6 billion to more than £35.4 billion by 2020. Adoption of LegalTech is gathering pace across a broad spectrum of industries, including legal, and specifically by in-house general counsels (GC) looking to respond to demand for quicker, more efficient services.
This is especially true of contract analysis — for example in support of a merger or acquisition process, the administration of large leasing portfolios, or contract remediation to comply with regulatory changes like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Currently, AI can substantially reduce time and cost associated with legal work. In the future, ever more targeted contracts-related use cases and increasingly sophisticated AI will go far beyond cost-savings, unlocking value with higher-order insights that lead to better negotiated outcomes, better revenue capture and better bottom line results.
With the goal of accelerating this rate of adoption, last month Axiom and Legal Geek brought together GCs and LegalTech start-ups under one roof to discuss opportunities presented by the emergence of innovative technologies. Over even just the last few months, many strides have been made by Axiom and others to integrate AI into third-party and proprietary tools to more seamlessly deliver legal work.
At the event, Emily Foges, Chief Executive Officer for AI contract analysis platform start-up, Luminance, spoke of how GCs are looking to AI to find solutions that help them manage regulatory changes, standardise terms with clients, and stay on top of contract negotiations. She discussed how AI can be used today to address these needs, helping to absorb and analyse huge volumes of data so GCs can view information holistically rather than using sample-based models. She then went on to highlight how AI can yield unexpected findings that might have been missed in a traditional review – in one example, AI oftware found ten contracts governed by Azerbaijani law among a huge corpus of M&A documents that had not made the sample in a traditional review.
As we also know from Axiom’s own AI work, this technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated. While the current value of AI is that it can perform a certain range of tasks faster and cheaper than a human, the future promise of AI will unleash new business value and help move legal departments from cost-centres to value-drivers. As technology develops, we believe that AI can go from finding clauses to interpreting clauses and eventually to writing and negotiating clauses. Our vision is to create a level of legal technology that is capable of generating a contract without writing it, and understand a contract without reading it.
C-suites are becoming savvier and are buying into the strategic deployment of AI for enhancing business operations. The potential of LegalTech is huge and rapidly giving rise to the next “revolution.”
Chris DeConti, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions
Chris leads Axiom’s global Solutions practice, directing a team responsible for managing and developing relationships with the firm’s largest clients. His team helps companies manage major corporate transactions, respond to regulatory change and adopt better models for managing risk associated with derivatives contracts. Prior to Axiom, he was part of the founding management team of the Corporate Executive Board, a best practices consultancy, and oversaw the launch of the General Counsel Roundtable, a membership of GCs from Fortune 500 and FTSE100 companies. He began his career in international corporate finance at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York after receiving Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in International Trade and Finance from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.