Lawyer Monthly - November 2022

About Rafie Faruq Rafie Faruq is the founder of Genie AI and a lifelong programmer with an MSc in Machine Learning. Being a former derivatives trader and having studied philosophy and economics at university, he enjoys thinking laterally to re-create the legal infrastructure of tomorrow. During his career he has advised the Law Policy Commission, published on the Law Society and represented the Ministry of Justice on foreign trade missions. About GenieAI GenieAI is a legaltech startup developing solutions that empower lawyers to draft contracts using the entire knowledge of the firm. The company also provides educational talks and practical training on smart contracts through the use of artificial intelligence. Contact Rafie Faruq CEO Genie AI Tel: +44 07982 719527 E: ‘herself’, ‘himself’, ‘ladies’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘salesman’, ‘saleswoman’. The research did showcase some evidence of a move (albeit slow) towards accepting and incorporating gender neutral standards. The use of ‘salesperson’ was more than twice as common as ‘salesman’ or ‘saleswoman’, and usage of ‘chair’ or ‘chairperson’ has also doubled in the past five years. The last five years have also seen more than a 10% decrease in the usage of gendered pronouns. It seems like a relatively simple, necessary and worthwhile change to make. So, why is progress happening so slowly? Stagnant Change and the Benefits of Modern Tech One major reason why so many contracts still use gendered language is because of the time and effort that it can take to amend contracts to make them more inclusive. The exercise of using legal teams to update a contract’s language to match up with the recipient’s gender is often a costly endeavour, so many just decide to keep gendered language regardless of the recipient’s gender. In truth, a lazy approach can reflect poorly on a company, its culture and its values. So, what do you do if you are a company that is desperate to initiate these changes to contract drafting but you are stretched for time, money and resources? Modern tech platforms are making legal support more inclusive so that contracts and workplaces can be. There are community-led, AI-driven alternatives that remove the most tedious aspects of contract drafting. These alternatives can provide a database of gender-neutral contract templates that empower businesses to adopt more inclusive approaches to legal issues and ensure DE&I standards are met. And the best part? They can be accessed for free. Making Gender-Neutral Language the ‘Go-To’ Should organisations be making a concerted effort to use language that does not solely refer to the male and female genders in order to reflect our diverse society? It is a simple answer – yes, of course. It should not just be something that is aimed for, but organisations and individuals should have a real need and want to do it. Not only is it critical for breaking out of entrenched stereotypes and exclusionary messaging, but it has a practical need in creating clear, precise and unambiguous wording. In a wider sense, it creates a shift in traditional power structures, providing a voice to and including those who have been traditionally excluded – and discriminated against – by such documents and environments. Recognising the power of words in legal contracts and company policies is a powerful starting point on your journey to greater employee inclusion. Tech opens the floodgates for easily accessible legal support for genderneutral legal drafting – and that means building more inclusive workplaces is getting easier. As we head into 2023, gender-neutral language should not just be a nice-tohave, but an absolute must-have. SPECIAL FEATURE 39

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