Artificial Intelligence Bests Business Lawyers in Contract Review Contest

artificial intelligence, Naperville business law attorneyFor many businesses, automation is one of the keys to increased efficiency and productivity. A machine that can accomplish the same task as a human worker is will usually be more cost-effective—at least in the long term. Most of us can easily imagine ways in which automation might be used in industries that involve manufacturing or assembly, but surely there are some jobs that cannot be automated, right? Probably so, but that will not stop creative minds from trying.

As a business law attorney, I was somewhat surprised to hear about an artificial intelligence (AI) technology platform that could potentially conduct contract reviews. I was even more interested to learn that in a recent head-to-head competition against 20 actual attorneys, the AI actually fared better than its human counterparts.

A Noteworthy Accomplishment

The AI platform is the brainchild of international business lawyer Noory Bechor and a leading expert in the field of artificial intelligence named Ilan Admon. The two began working together in 2014 under the name “Contract Review Automation,” which has since evolved into LawGeex. Bechor and Admon developed a cloud-based algorithm to review business contracts for potential problems. They thought their program worked but the pair needed to know how the algorithm would compare to human attorneys.

To test their platform, they pitted the AI against 20 lawyers from leading companies and law firms around the world. The task was to review five separate non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and identify 30 potential legal issues contained in the documents. The issues—including confidentiality, arbitration, and indeminification—were complex enough, according to LawGeex, that simply skimming the contracts was not enough. The contestants were penalized for missing a possible issue and for identifying an issue that did not exist, and each was given four hours to review all five NDAs.

Fascinating Results

The 20 lawyers, on average, correctly identified potential issues with an accuracy rate of 85 percent and completed the task in an average of 92 minutes. The most accurate attorney scored a 94 percent, and the fastest lawyer was done in 51 minutes.

The AI, by comparison, reviewed all five documents in just 26 seconds, more than 100 times faster than the fastest attorney. The machine algorithm’s accuracy rate was also 94 percent, the same number as the most accurate lawyer. LawGeex also observed, tongue firmly in cheek, that the lawyers consumed 12 cups of coffee against the AI’s zero.

Law Office Applications

While one may come away from this story with the thought that artificial intelligence is on its way to taking over the practice of law, the makers of the AI and even the lawyer participants in the contest do not see things that way. Allowing a machine to conduct a first review of a contract like an NDA “would free up valuable time for lawyers to focus on client counseling and other higher-value work,” said Duke University School of Law Professor Erika Buell. Buell was a consultant for LawGeex during the contest. She and many of colleagues believe that AI and similar technology can help make attorneys more efficient and productive.

The LawGeex artificial intelligence tools are not yet available for commercial use. There is not yet a timeline for its release.

Questions About Automation?

If you are a business owner who is concerned about the role of technology and automation in your company, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney for guidance. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.