Legal winter is coming. Will you leave the wall?

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There is a wall that lawyers have hidden behind for decades, in the face of radical change to other industries. We have seen these walls crumbling in neighboring ancient kingdoms, such as finance or insurance . But in the legal profession, the wall, representing doing what has always been done, remains solid.

The Watchers On The Legal Wall

The reason for lawyers’ resistance comes from the watchers on the legal wall. This guard has relied  on things staying the way they are now (as they have for centuries). Behind the wall, their technological lives have not changed: lawyers are still using pens, paper, printers and faxes to do their legal work. Microsoft has even claimed that lawyers spend 90% of their day in Outlook and Word.

Legal innovators are speaking up against the wall-watchers.  In the words of Netapp General Counsel Matt Fawcett: “We were the last industry to provide employees with cell phones. In 1999, I remember getting frustrated with a firm and saying, ‘Our copier repair man carries a cell phone – why not my high- priced lawyers?’ Even today, many “old school” partners still take pride in not being reachable and having their secretaries (yes, their ‘secretaries’) print their emails.”

David Burgess (editor of the Legal500 ) comments that: “A senior partner told me, to be honest, I don’t really understand all this, so I’ll focus on what I know“. Or “My law firm won an innovative award. The next day I rang it up to ask what new tech it was using. I was told – we don’t have anything, just a really good bid manager for the awards“.

The fortress mentality leads to regular slides at legal conferences and events (such as below, at Codex’s Future of Law) pointing to law as a paradigm of resistance (“The traditional law practice business model constrains innovation”, and “the legal profession’s resistance to chance hinders additional innovation”).

But legal winter is coming

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But winter is coming and there will be a distinction between those shaping the future and those managing the fortress. Consulting firm McKinsey shows 69% of time is potentially automatable for paralegals and 23% of time is automatable for lawyers.

In the shift to this new world, the  division between the innovators and wall-watchers will only become more stark.

The Iron Throne of Legal Innovation

Heralding a new dawn, however, we are seeing a new battle for innovation.This is being led by a new breed of lawyers, ripping up old ways of doing things simply based on the past.

One front of the battle to innovation is greater collaboration and sharing of legal and technological know how (as Jaime Lannister says: “we need allies. Stronger better allies. We cannot win this war alone”).

A second plank of the battle is a legal technological arms race. Companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Google and others are  overhauling their legal departments through innovation. JP Morgan has automated contracts it apparently took lawyers 360,000 hours to achieve. LawGeex provides One Hour Contract Approval through Artificial Intelligence, compared to the weeks it takes within most organizations. Other technology is being taken advantage of by legal teams, including legal research, to IP, to prediction technology (more than 100 legaltech providers are analyzed in our free In-House Counsels LegalTech Buyers Guide).

Thirdly, both the ACC and Corporate Legal Operations Institute (CLOC) have focused on  Legal Operations. 26% of general counsel delegated legal operations to an ops team or department, up from 16% last year. More than 1000 professionals in Las Vegas attended the Corporate Legal Operations Institute (CLOC) institute, vowing to smash down the wall of resistance.

In her closing address Mary Shen O’Carroll, Head of Legal Operations at Google, and head of CLOC : “It turned out that mindset, which felt so entrenched, could be changed. There’s a wall there and once you push on it, you can break through. And once broken, there’s no turning back. You realize those walls are paper thin and no one is trying to put them back up.”

Surviving the winter: moving from watchers to doers

Surviving the winter will mean leaving the wall and keeping fear at bay. In the words of Sterling Miller, former General Counsel of Travelocity and Sabre Corporation: “To  be a successful in-house lawyer or general counsel you need to embrace technology and make sure your team does as well.  So, if you are afraid of technology, you need to get past that.”

It is taking a new legal game plan to shift fear to strength. In the words of Arya Stark: “Fear Cuts Deeper than Swords“.

Or according to legal innovators, the path to the throne  of innovation will be building bridges with technology rather than protecting walls.

For more information or a LawGeex demo Get In Touch.

Jonathan Marciano, Communications Director at LawGeex, is  originally from London. He is  currently in Tel Aviv, helping to bring about the legal revolution. Follow him on Twitter. @J_Marciano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Best Players in Contract Drafting

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Contract drafting tools can cut hours of time in a legal department.  If you have not started using contract drafting automation you may be missing out. For the writing of an initial contract, drafting tools are already well understood, and used by more than half of lawyers, who report a 92% satisfaction level with this relatively basic software which has been around for nearly two decades.

The programs tend to offer questionnaire-style document generation with lawyers able to review and finalize the draft. The software helps legal departments cut hours through creating routine and high-volume contracts.

Here are 5 of the best contract drafting tools relied upon by Legal Departments.

  1. Contract Express

Contract Express allows GCs to accurately automate and update their legal templates. The contracts are generated by filling out web-based forms—also called ”questionnaires.” The software allows lawyers to automate templates inside Microsoft Word by using markups. Seth Weissman VP and GC of SolarCity: “Sales can create a contract at one in the morning, one in the afternoon or on a weekend, whenever they want. You don’t have to go through my department, and we will never slow you down.”

  1. Concord

Concord standardizes templates which can be easily created, stored on the cloud, and distributed among team members. This not only saves time but keeps contracts uniform.“Concord is great for solos and teams,” says Mary Redzic who has worked both as a Solo Practitioner and as an in-House Counsel. “You can save templates, and auto populate fields. It’s affordable and really easy to use. They have great cues on how to use their features and they’re really helpful and responsive when you need help.”

  1. HotDocs

HotDocs allows companies to transform frequently used documents and forms into intelligent templates that, in their words, enables “super-fast production of custom documentation.” Clients include HSBC Singapore who use it to generate facility letters for its corporate customers.

  1. MerusCase

MerusCase allows in-house teams to prepare templates, auto populate them, and mail them directly for review.

  1. Contract Advisor

The Association of Corporate Counsel’s Contract Advisor provides templates and a contract drafting tool, described by one in-house counsel as “really useful for quick drafting.” It requires an ACC membership, but this nevertheless represents a great resource for 30,000 corporate counsel members from all around the world.

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today including more tools for contract drafting; contract review; digital signature; contract and matter management; contract due diligence; legal research; eDiscovery; Prediction technology; Intellectual Property; Expertise automation; eBilling; Legal analytics; simple task management; and Communications.

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Get the FREE Legal Technology Buyer’s Guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house legaltech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

There is one danger threatening LegalTech’s future. But here is the antidote

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On nearly every measure, legal technology appears to be thriving.

This sector is now a $16 billion industry in the U.S.  There are 715 legalTech startups. These companies secured a record $155 million across 67 deals in 2016. The figures for 2017 could easily beat this (with large investments for Justin Kan’s Atrium LTS, HelloSign, SimpleLegal Casetext, and LawGeex, among others). Major companies have undergone legalTech transformation including Microsoft, JP Morgan, and IBM.

Despite all this positive transformation, there is one major danger threatening LegalTech’s future. This threat is more deadly to a company like LawGeex than all of the 715 legalTech startups combined.

Status Quo or the fear of Change

In the words of Noory Bechor CEO of LawGeex: “Our biggest competitor is the Status Quo”.  In law, the status quo, based on “skepticism” and “precedent” is hardwired.  The problem begins from law schools which encourages fear of failure . Then the the U.S legal system, rests on guidance from previous case law and precedent, discouraging risk-taking.

For commentators it is often a race to the past to explain how little innovation law has seen. Professor Paul Maharg Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School talks about “graduate assessment regimes which wouldn’t look out of place in the 1870s.” Kingsley Martin, talking about contract creation, says: “The scribes that first drafted precedents in 1392 at the Worshipful Society of Scriveners would recognize the contemporary practice of marking up the last, closest draft to the needs of the current transaction, albeit with a keyboard and not a quill”.

The status quo manifests in the struggle over technology. Research shows 75% of law firms, for instance, spend somewhere between 0 and 4% of their total revenue on technology, compared to 5.2% for the average U.S company.

The Solution: Collaboration 

The fastest path to change, legal innovators have worked out, is collaboration. This antidote to the status quo is counter-intuitive to the lawyer mindset, which tends to resist giving away hard won information. But somehow, collaboration is taking hold at the top levels of the profession.

Mary O’ Carroll, Head of Legal Operations at Google, set out the mindset of being protective of knowledge, rather than collaborative, in her closing speech at the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, (CLOC) in Las Vegas:  “When I first joined the informal gatherings of Operations leaders, I’ll admit that I was much more there to learn than I was to share.  I didn’t see any reason why I should give away my secrets.

“One of the earlier things we started talking about was standard engagement letters and billing guidelines.  Well, I have a very good set of law firm billing guidelines.  Why? Because it went through rounds and rounds of edits and opinions and research and buy in… and these crazy people wanted me to just share the final set with others? You’re out of your mind!”

Clock is ticking for Collaboration

CLOC has come to embody the collaboration principle as a means to shake up the status quo. Its leaders, from top companies, including LinkedIn, eBay, Starbucks and NetApp, could justifiably guard their legal know-how. Yet the movement says moving from the status quo will only come after intense collaboration on best practices and processes. Rather than being built on a fluffy sense of community, O’ Carroll describes collaboration as firmly in the camp of “self-interest”.

Please do not reinvent the wheel

Carroll says the slow-moving profession has to learn from each others hard won successes (and failures) and in double quick time to catch up with other industries.”Now, I don’t have time for you to suffer through that… So please… have my guidelines, put them in place asap” says Carroll. “Let me know when you’re ready for the next thing and hopefully someone has something you can leverage.  Please do not recreate the wheel.” She adds: “It’s the only way we’ll make progress as a group and profession. It’s good for all of us.”

Different legal values coming together 

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The collaboration net includes everyone wanting to move away from the status quo, including innovative vendors, law schools, firms, engineers, paralegals, and communicators. Sellers of top legal technology are also uniting to help change attitudes and drive change in the profession, demonstrating through reiteration that everyday pains for lawyers can now be eased, from contract review, to analytics, to sharing institutional knowledge through expertise automation, or having better contract due diligence, eDiscovery and billing processes. LegalTech providers share around each other’s content that reiterates a message of change. LawGeex’s In-House Guide to Legal Tech for instance was shared by dozens of companies in the legal profession.

Come as competitors, leave as collaborators

Alison Kay, Gobal Vice Chair of Industry at EY, argues that the rapid pace of change across industries means collaboration is “the future” of business. Kay says: “These are exciting and unsettling times – times in which industries themselves are being redefined. This means looking for answers in ways and places that we haven’t before. To succeed, we need to look beyond current industries and silos to broaden our thinking and relationships to embrace collaboration – whether through partnerships, alliances, networks or ecosystems.”

Other collaborations will grow out of necessity. Professor Richard Susskind in his book, Tomorrow’s Lawyers, points to a future when legal departments at financial institutions will share legal workloads. This will be driven by the need they collectively face to meet multiple (similar) compliance challenges,

In-House lawyers are turning to legal technology to foster better collaboration with other departments, fueling smarter legal processes in companies.

CLOC has found that collaboration is striking a chord as many lawyers become frustrated at inefficient processes. By way of example, some 1000 legal leaders attended CLOC’s event in 2017. The institute predicts the attendees will more than double to 2500 in 2018.

Carroll told the Institute that everyone needs to be on board for real change to occur.  “I need everyone to be passionate and ready to transform the future of the legal services delivery model”, says.

“If only a handful of legal departments are ready to automate internal workflows and the rest are still tracking things on spreadsheets… or even post-its(!), then we’re not going to get very far.”

For more information or a LawGeex demo Get In Touch.

Jonathan Marciano, Communications Director at LawGeex, is  originally from London. He is  currently in Tel Aviv, helping to bring about the legal revolution, one press release at a time. Follow him on Twitter. @J_Marciano

 

 

 

 

 

Salesforce praises new legal technology in eliminating sales bottlenecks

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Technologies that eliminate legal bottlenecks will play a significant part in closing deals faster and driving business growth at top companies, according to a Salesforce executive.

Robin Fisher, area vice president of Salesforce Europe and the Middle East, discussed the success of legal technology companies which are integrating with the $272billion Salesforce ecosystem.

Presenting at Salesforce Essentials Tel-Aviv conference (Monday 12 June), Fisher introduced the contract review automation platform, LawGeex, and its CEO Noory Bechor, as an example of a new breed of legal technology providers changing the way business is done for Salesforce’s 150,000 customers.

 “Once the deal is agreed the biggest challenge is then getting the paperwork through, especially when a company has finite legal resources”, Robin Fisher, Salesforce

Fisher said: “Once the deal is agreed the biggest challenge is then getting the paperwork through, especially when a company has finite legal resources.

“LawGeex helps lawyers focus on what is important, and provides an amazing opportunity for our customers. It represents a fundamental shift in aligning sales and legal around the same value of closing deals faster.”

(L-R) Robin Fisher, VP Sales EMEA, Salesforce;  Shif Arad, VP Proucts and Innovation Partners at CloudTech; Bar Israeli, Regional ISV Salesforce; Noory Bechor, CEO, LawGeex; Ori Yankelev, VP Sale, OwnBakup

 

LawGeex’s empowers salespeople to upload contracts using Salesforce and have them approved based on an organization’s legal criteria. Users are also able to access LawGeex reports within the platform.

Noory Bechor, Founder and CEO, LawGeex, said: “Sales teams are dependent on legal to review and approve contracts before the deal can move forward. This process sometimes takes days, weeks or even months, and sometimes deals just don’t close. With the LawGeex Salesforce app, companies can now automate the review and approval of contracts, without having to leave Salesforce.”

Salesforce the global leader in CRM and sixth biggest software companies in the world, was built to serve companies who are looking to optimize their sales processes. It’s AppExchange currently has more than 2,800 apps and includes LawGeex among a number of these apps, joining companies such as Apttus, DocuSign and SpringCM.

For a Review of Salesforce’s application for lawyers and more than 100 legaltech solutions check out The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide 2017.

About LawGeex

LawGeex (www.lawgeex.com) is transforming legal operations using artificial intelligence, and helping businesses save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars reviewing and approving everyday contracts. Founded in 2014 by international lawyer Noory Bechor and leading AI expert Ilan Admon, LawGeex enables businesses to automate their contract approval process, improving consistency, operational efficiency and getting business moving faster. LawGeex combines machine learning algorithms, text analytics and the knowledge of expert lawyers to deliver in-depth contract reviews using the legal team’s pre-defined criteria. LawGeex removes the legal bottleneck, helping customers and their legal teams focus on the big picture without getting lost in the paperwork.

For more information, please visit http://www.lawgeex.com or tweet us @lawgeex_.

10 seismic changes forcing in-house counsel to choose LegalTech

Legal technology, commonly known as LegalTech, refers to software enabling lawyers to do their jobs more efficiently and cost-effectively. The In-House Counsel’s Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide shows how in-house counsel are driving change. Based on interviews with lawyers at some of the world’s leading companies, here are 10 seismic changes forcing in-house counsel to choose LegalTech.

1. The More For Less Challenge

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Cost savings are a major factor driving any LegalTech adoption. Pearson’s former Associate General Counsel, Vicky Lockie reduced legal spend by 20% simply by using eBilling solution, Legal Tracker. Jolie Lin, Deputy GC of Bank of Montreal, also interviewed for the guide, says adoption of another eBilling platform, Tymetrix “achieved significant market savings year after year.” Lin adds: “This is providing a much clearer idea on where our legal spend is going and producing better conversations with law firms.”

Recipients of the ACC Value Challenge 2017 also slashed costs, underpinned by technology. Cam Findlay, GC, at Archers Daniel Midland reduced outside legal spend reduced by one-third. Avis GC Michael Tucker slashed costs by 30%, while Cabela’s Brad Lundeen brought down outside counsel litigation costs by 20 percent.

2. The 24-Hour law department 

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The 24-Hour Law Department has been created by a seismic shift towards cloud computing—37 per cent of in-house lawyers are using the cloud, up from 30 percent in 2015. This 24-hour approach and ability to access services anywhere in the world and on any device, applies to everything from drafting to research, to contract review, and other daily high-volume tasks.

Expertise Automation platform, Neota Logic, for instance diffuses existing legal knowledge, and codifies expert advice, making it available cross-departmentally 24 hours a day. This makes it easier to access quick advice—on issues from bribery and corruption policy to employment law.

In contract drafting, Seth Weissman VP and GC of SolarCity says of Contract Express: “Sales can create a contract at one in the morning, one in the afternoon or on a weekend, whenever they want. You don’t have to go through my department, and we will never slow you down”. Jordan Furlong, author of Law Is a Buyer’s Market says “If its 11pm on a Saturday night and you need access to some kind of legal solution engine, you will not find a law firm in the world that’s going to help you out. Technology has stepped in to make this possible.”

3. In-House lawyers need their time back  

Roberto Facundus SVP, Legal & Business Affairs at Tongal says: “Any legal tech that saves an attorney time through increased efficiency is inherently valuable and attorneys—more than almost any profession—know the value of time.” Technology offers an end to many time (and morale) draining pursuits. Dylan Marvin Head of Legal at Brandwatch using contract review automation platform, LawGeex, has achieved “80% time saved, and 90% cost saving when compared to other solutions.” On a different scale, ($2 pay as you go digital signature platform) ESign Genie promises to decrease the number of “clicks” by 30 to 50%. In contract due diligence, Kira System clients report time savings of 20–40% for first-time users, and up to 60% thereafter.  LegalTech allows lawyers to focus on more strategic use of their time.

4.  Tech is the ticket to the C-Suite

Entrance to the C-suite now requires using technology to demonstrate efficiencies, according to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Global Census. Justine Campbell, Deputy General Counsel of Centrica oversaw a 24 month plan covering culture, technology, value management and operations, demonstrating themselves as “an integral part of the business.“ Campbell says: “The more technology can do the basic legal work the more you realize that actually what you have to do is be a leader who can establish and motivate a great team, who can look strategically into the future and exercise judgement over what really matters.”  Recent research shows  that within the next three years, 60 percent of GCs expect to take on a strategic business role.

5. Data (In-House counsel are losing out not having it)

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NetApp GC Matt Fawcett is one innovator who recognized the need for data in law departments earlier than most. “I value data and embrace its use” says Fawcett. “I lead my team, serve my customers, and develop my organization with data.” Molly Perry, chief operating officer for the Office of the General Counsel at HPE says legal tools are “a source of millions of data points.”  She argues that, while attorneys completing more tasks may seem more productive, they may be working on lower value projects, as revealed by better use of data. Many companies point inevitably to a future where legal data will be the most reliable forecast of the next three months of sales in an organization.

6. Tech-driven GCs are leading the way

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Many in-house lawyers occupy senior positions at companies, such as Google, Uber, Facebook, and Amazon (and any number of companies looking to reinvent their industries). Companies increasingly expect their in-house counsel to do the same. Maurice Woolf, GC & EVP Corporate Support at global cloud services platform, Interoute, says: “I think if you work in an environment driven by innovation then naturally as GC you will look to innovate too, irrespective of your age, prior experience or prejudices.”

In a TechCrunch article based on interviews with Silicon Valley GCs (including Foursquare, Meetup, Etsy and Kickstarter),  Daniel Doktori, Chief of Staff and GC at Credly and  co-founder of the Harvard Law Entrepreneurship Project says old attitudes will not fly with seismic shifts underway. Being perceived as the “no guy” ranks among a startup general counsel’s top fears. “You don’t want to be the guy at the end of the hall that just says ‘no,’ because eventually people don’t incorporate you into the conversation.”

7. Tech needed to recruit and retain legal talent (including millennials)

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The millennial lawyer grew up in the digital age, with technology. They think nothing of creating an account on a tech platform to solve a problem.  PwC finds that “with technology dominating every aspect of millennials lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that 41% say they prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over the telephone. Millennials routinely make use of their own technology at work and three-quarters believe that access to technology makes them more effective at work.”  The report concludes unstructured approach to technology is often a “catalyst for inter-generational conflict in the workplace and many millennials feel held back by rigid or outdated working styles.”

8. Company lawyers see “business problems” (not “legal” problems) 

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Lawyers in a company have a responsibility to put the business first and new technology is helping this mission. David Cambria, at Archers Daniel Midland, says: “An in-house legal department must operate like a business and spend shareholders’ money wisely.” His team opted for contract management solution Onit, in his words, “as an accelerator” to this vision.” Sales teams are driving adoption of legal technology such as LawGeex for automated contract review (unsurprisingly when research shows the majority of in-house legal departments at small and midsized companies spend 50% of their time reviewing contracts). Technology is appealing to the business instinct encapsulated by Uber Chief Legal Officer Salle Yoo. She says: “I always tell my team, we are not here to solve legal problems, we are here to solve business problems. The law is our tool and it’s the specialty tool we have.”

9) GCS are embracing KPIs (key performance indicators)

Law Departments acting like other departments must embrace personal and business goals. Kerry Phillip, legal director at Vodafone Group Enterprise team, commented: “Traditionally, the legal team is pretty low down the pecking order when it comes to IT investment but because we presented a business case that showed the investment paid for itself within the first year, we were able to get it approved”. Tech is at the forefront of measuring and analyzing KPIs.

LegalTech is helping analyze the cost of internal versus external support (money saved by doing work internally), legal response times, and promoting faster contract turnaround times.

10) Raising in-house standing and commerciality of legal 

LegalTech has a number of added benefits, not least raising in-house counsel standing. This is being done through enhancing collaboration with colleagues, reducing risk, and enhancing legal commerciality. Here tech is tailored to empathizing with business needs, whether bringing down time and costs on daily responses or sales cycles. Most of the software featured in our guide also integrates with existing processes in a business – such as use of Slack or Salesforce. This makes the law department show it is not sitting back, but can set a standard for collaboration and slickness level with, or higher, than any other department.

Download the full guide now to see the best LegalTech for in-house lawyers today

Download the FREE legal technology buyer’s guide for In-House Counsel and discover:

Legal Tech Buyer's Guide
  • 60+ page practical and jargon-free reference guide
  • 100+ top technology solutions for legal departments
  • Personal recommendations and stories from dozens of in-house lawyers and legal experts
  • Explanations of an in-house legaltech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more

Download here 

Jonathan Marciano, Communications Director at LawGeex, is  originally from London. He is  currently in Tel Aviv,  helping to bring about the legal revolution, one press release at a time. Follow him on Twitter. @J_Marciano

What being named as a Gartner Cool Vendor in AI means for us (and more importantly for the future of law)

Noory Bechor, CEO LawGeex

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We are incredibly proud to announce today that LawGeex has been selected as a Gartner Cool Vendor.

Every year, Gartner selects tech companies with a product or service that is “interesting, new and innovative”. More importantly, the global consultancy also flags to the business world major new disruptive sectors they need to know about.

The distinction of being Gartner Cool Vendor has been achieved in the past by names such as Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Cloudera, and Instagram—then operating in disruptive spaces they created, but which we now take for granted as obvious leaders and benchmarks.

This year for the first time ever Gartner recognized legal Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies making a “profound efficiency impact on the way legal services are delivered.” (Cool Vendors in AI for Legal Affairs, 2017). See the full press release here.

LawGeex is proud to be named in this first ever report, along with three other great legal AI companies: Neota Logic, Onna and Ravel Law. LawGeex was selected for its success in shortening contract approval processes, the innovation of our customized ‘playbooks’ and continuous improvement of our AI engine. Gartner points out the significance of these advances for businesses, including:

  • corporate compliance and legal teams (needing to manage many contracts);
  • procurement managers (requiring fast execution of contracts) and
  • contract review lawyers (needing reviewed based on standards imposed by their company, client or regulator).

Main takeaway: AI in Legal has now arrived

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More fundamentally, the inclusion of Legal AI into the canon by the world’s leading research and advisory company is a marker in the ground. The legal AI genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Gartner analysts adds that by 2020, the current amount of manual billable legal work will be reduced by 15%. Gartner recommends that to remain competitive, businesses need to take a good look at these “innovative solutions supporting contract analysis, legal research, knowledge management and case-predictive analytics.”

The amazing work being done by AI players changing these daily practices of law is echoed in  The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide. Through research we found more than 100 must-know companies in LegalTech, 40 of which are AI solutions (shown in our infographic).

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Legal AI has arrived. So what next?

Having now helped bring legal AI into the bright shining lights of recognition, Gartner’s analysts will return to inspect this new sector in a year. They will assess, as they have done in these reports over the years, what has changed—both in advances, new players, innovation and shifts in mindset. Gartner objectively points out that one of the main challenges for all companies in this new space is a “conservative audience” when it comes to new technology adoption.

In a year, I expect to see double or triple the number of players in legal AI. We will see remarkable advances, both from current players shown in our infographic, and yet unknown entrepreneurs arriving. There will be more shared knowhow, best practice and collaboration as highlighted recently as a major theme in the CLOC conference. The tech, such as AI, will only continue to advance and improve with greater adoption.

Gartner: be sure to start your journey

The Gartner report makes a powerful suggestion to its thousands of clients: start your LegalTech journey in a small way, but make sure to start. Gartner recommends: “Begin with the identification of a set of business problems and use cases. These projects should have clear statements on what they need to achieve in terms of business outcomes and how the goals will be measured. Early projects that were successful tended to focus on a small number of use cases or processes.”

We have seen some incredible results with clients adopting this approach, in our case for instance working with us first to automate the Big Five energy draining contracts (the top five most popular contracts run through LawGeex’s each day are NDA, service agreements, SaaS agreements, software Licenses and Purchase Order Contracts).Overall legal teams are in a much more excited place than they were a year ago .Our clients  are working to change their processes and their mindset, seeing many  immediate enhancements, but recognizing the need to walk before they can run. I believe these ‘early’ adopter lawyers will see some major benefits now (savings in time and money), but will truly see the fruits of their labor exploding in the years to come when they are more competitive as a legal function and as a business.

The stamp of approval provided by the leading research and advisory firm today, may accelerate many more lawyers into seeing the power of these new and innovative solutions (our guide would be a great starting point for those looking at such solutions).

The hope is that Gartner will return to this space next year to find lawyers even more energized by the possibilities at their disposal and this exciting new chapter in legal services.  Now that really would be cool.

Noory Bechor CEO and Founder of LawGeex is a man on a mission: to revolutionize the legal world through innovative technology. Noory combines his entrepreneurial spirit and years of experience as an international commercial lawyer to help other lawyers #lovelegal again, making their work easy, efficient and impactful.

LawGeex Named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner

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TEL AVIV, ISRAEL, May 23, 2017: LawGeex, the leading A.I. contract review platform for businesses, has been selected by Gartner, Inc. as a Cool Vendor in the inaugural Cool Vendors in AI for Legal Affairs, 2017 report.

Every year, Gartner selects tech companies with a product or service that is “interesting, new and innovative”. More importantly, the global consultancy also flags to the business world major new disruptive sectors they need to know about. This year for the first time ever Gartner recognized legal Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies making a “profound efficiency impact on the way legal services are delivered.”

LawGeex was selected for “driving technology advancement and delivering technologies that aim to further automate legal service delivery and provide new insight for better decision making”, according to the report.

The distinction of being Gartner Cool Vendor has been achieved in the past by names such as Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Cloudera, and Instagram—then operating in disruptive spaces they created, but which we now take for granted as obvious leaders and benchmarks.

LawGeex is proud to be named in this first ever report, along with three other legal AI companies: Neota Logic, Onna and Ravel Law. These companies are part of a rapidly expanding industry of legal technologies, recently chronicled by LawGeex in The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide, featuring more than 100 LegalTech innovators and 40 Legal AI players.

Gartner subscribers can access the Cool Vendors in AI for Legal Affairs, 2017 report.

About Gartner Cool Vendors

Gartner is the world’s leading research and advisory company. Every year, Gartner identifies “Cool Vendors” based upon vendors with a technology or service that is innovative, impactful, and/or intriguing. In this year’s report, four vendors have been recognized. Gartner’s Cool Vendor reports identify technology vendors that have strong market vision and offer unique and innovative products and services that have genuine market impact.

Disclaimer from Gartner

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose

About LawGeex

LawGeex (www.lawgeex.com) is transforming legal operations using artificial intelligence, and helping businesses save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars reviewing and approving everyday contracts. Founded in 2014 by international lawyer Noory Bechor and leading AI expert Ilan Admon, LawGeex enables businesses to automate their contract approval process, improving consistency, operational efficiency and getting business moving faster. LawGeex combines machine learning algorithms, text analytics and the knowledge of expert lawyers to deliver in-depth contract reviews using the legal team’s pre-defined criteria. LawGeex removes the legal bottleneck, helping customers and their legal teams focus on the big picture without getting lost in the paperwork.

For more information, please visit http://www.lawgeex.com or tweet us @lawgeex_.

 

LawGeex Launches Legal Technology Buyers Guide for Businesses

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LawGeex, the leading AI contract review platform for businesses, has today launched The In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyers Guide – a free, downloadable guide that showcases more than 100 must-know technology solutions which solve the daily challenges faced by in-house lawyers.

The book includes practical advice based on dozens of interviews, real life experiences and personal recommendations from in-house lawyers and legal experts who have used technology to cut costs and reduce legal inefficiency. Lawyers came from companies including Pearson, AIG, TabTale, Travelocity, Vodafone, NetApp, Del Monte, Axalta Coating Systems, Tongal and Novartis.

The guide also provides jargon-free explanations of an in-house LegalTech buying journey, from barriers to adoption, savings and efficiencies law departments can expect, to establishing and monitoring Key Performance Indicators.

Explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Players in Law

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The guide also shows the traditional legal sector is facing disruption from 40 artificial intelligence companies using automation to solve daily legal tasks which have not changed in decades. These players are transforming nine sectors of daily law in categories of Contract review, Contract due diligence, Legal research, EDiscovery reviews, Intellectual Property, Expertise automation, e Billing, Legal Analytics, and Prediction Technology.

The analysis argues that legal is lagging as one of the last business areas to adopt technology, but lawyers are now embracing change, spurred by the dramatic increase in LegalTech products available.

Noory Bechor, CEO and Founder of LawGeex

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“We are publishing this guide at a time when in-house lawyers face multiple drivers to adopt new technologies. In-house teams are under pressure to produce evidence of higher efficiency and quality and provide better data and strategic input for their organization.”

Sterling Miller, former General Counsel of Travelocity and Sabre Corporation

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“One of the easiest ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs is through the use of technology. But, to be a successful in-house lawyer or general counsel you need to embrace technology and make sure your team does as well.”

Chrissie Lightfoot, entrepreneur, author, lawyer and co-founder and CEO

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“I would highly recommend GCs embrace the plethora of existing and new LegalTech software and tools available. I know from personal and professional experience that AI tools are beginning to benefit GCs, their clients and companies enormously.”

Download the full guide at lawgeex.com/buyersguide

 

Top 10 Tweets from CLOC 2017

It was a week in which Twitter announced the most retweeted post in its history (one man’s plea for a year’s supply of Wendy’s chicken nuggets accrued  3,433,000 retweets, beating that Oscars selfie in 2014). But in the legal world, Las Vegas and the Corporate Legal Operations Institute (#CLOC2017) was trending.

Following our top ten tweets roundup (from Codex and LegalWeek)  we provide the top 10 nuggets of wisdom from the globe’s biggest Legal Operations event.

1. Legal in Las Vegas at The Bellagio

Mary O’ Carroll head of legal ops at Google Legal operations, part of the executive leadership team at CLOC, fittingly got the tweets rolling. O’ Carroll has helped to develop the event, which celebrates legal operations,  a new position inside the majority of Fortune 500 companies, whose role is to ensure that the legal department functions more like a business. CLOC was welcomed by The Bellagio—famous for an iconic final scene in Oceans Eleven and its dancing fountains. CLOC explored  12 core competencies that underpin legal operations: Strategic planning;  Financial management; Vendor management; Data analytics;  Technology support; Alternative support models; Knowledge management;  Growth and development; Communications;   Global data governance/records management; Litigation support; and Cross-functional alignment.
2. More than 1000 people in attendance

Kunoor Chopra, Entrepreneur, legal process outsourcing professional, reflected on the size of the growing event which is only in its second year. In total, the 2017 CLOC featured 50 content sessions. The movement is only likely to grow: in the 2017 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) CLO Survey, found 26% of general counsel delegated legal operations to an ops team or department , up from 16% just one year before.

3. Booking a date with law’s future 

In the words of Susan Hackett CEO of Legal Executive Leadership, LLC, Richard Susskind, “everyone’s favorite legal futurist“, took  750 books and “his crystal ball” to the key note speech. He signed plenty of books and set the tone for the three-day conference: “I often say that the only career decision you need to make as a lawyer and only strategy decision you need to make if you’re in the commercial world is, do you want to compete with machines or build the machines?” He added: “Surely our generation will redefine the way that law is practiced.”. Though surely there’s some AI automation possible for all that book-signing?

4.Hire A Robot, Get Sh*t Done 

Discussion about AI was everywhere, of course including LawGeex’s booth (read about the evolution of our booth here). One of the very first sessions of the conference, “Practical Applications of AI in Today’s Law Department,” attempted to answer questions on the practical use of AI. This included buying advice: define your problems and KPI first, ask providers what they mean by AI and request references. The panelists were three corporate legal operations experts giving their own experiences: Mary O’Carroll, Google; Steve Harmon, vice president and deputy general counsel, Cisco; Sylvie Stulic, Electronic Arts and Paul Lippe, former GC of Synopsys Inc. and currently with Elevate, who moderated the panel.

5.But AI is hard to define…

It was Paul Lippe, former GC of Snynopys, who put the definition of AI under the spotlight. It starts with the fact that AI isn’t particularly well-defined, Lippe noted in his opening remarks (for our explanation of AI in law see our recent post) . For many, there are three main descriptions of AI in legal departments. Panelists  not only explored ways to use AI as a complement to lawyers, but also how to practically implement it in legal departments. “Part of what we need to do as operations professionals is get people to adopt this technology, and that technology may be disruptive to their jobs,” Lippe explained.

6. No more Attorneys v The Rest thinking 

Going to the heart of the CLOC mandate, came this comment from Lucy Bassli, assistant general counsel of legal operations and contracts at Microsoft. This came as part of the Magna Carta session—an airing of grievances for the six key stakeholder groups of legal operations which CLOC unites: corporations, law firms, regulators, law schools, technology providers and outside service providers. Bassli said: “Lawyers need to embrace all the other professionals that are in this ecosystem because without them, we will not move forward. There is a fundamental problem with the fact that we still think of our profession as attorneys and everybody else.”

7. Show Me The Money: Salary negotiations for Legal Ops

It was not only about collaboration at CLOC—but also asking and getting what you deserve in compensation negotiations. Sonya Som and Mark Yacano from Major, Lindsey & Africa drew on their experience with legal search to provide a practical road map for how and when to raise compensation issues, how to use compensation discussions as a tool to set you up for success after you take the job and, how to prevent that offer from slipping away. Monica Zent tweet-warned: “don’t let that sweet smile fool you) @SonyaOldSom of @ doling out negotiation tactics of a tiger.”

8. Case studies of change

The conference drew on its all-star guest list to include case studies of legal ops leaders who are transforming their departments through tech. Susan Hacket here tweets the case of Kerry Phillip, Head of Legal at Vodafone. Fittingly in Vegas, Phillip talked about the data addiction lawyers should watch out for once they have new tech in place. Her advice: secure your funds, hang on to them tight, look for quick wins, select the right partners, take your team with you and do not underestimate the tasks. Other case studies  of legal process changes included Yahoo, DHL and Pfizer.

 

9. Inspiring closing 

Daniel W.Linna Jr, Law Professor and Director of LegalRnD at MSU Law, was among those wowed by the final closing of CLOC. Alma Asay Founder & CEO of Allegory Law quoted O’ Carroll’s comment: “Maybe it’s good to be a little crazy. Because maybe it’s going to take a little crazy to break down those walls.”

10. This story will run and run 

David Kinnear Founder and CEO of High Performance Counsel Media summed up the prevailing mood of the conference. In his fuller blog Kinnear concludes: “It takes a village, yes. It will take many participants and contributions to help this part of the industry achieve its extraordinary potential. It will take a lot of work conveying some of this to a still-reticent, conservative profession.”

He continued: “You couldn’t mistake the sense of momentum in the air and in the conversation around the halls of the Bellagio this week. The sense of opportunity and conviction drowning out even the twinkling slot machines on the floor.”

To see if LawGeex‘s artificial intelligence solution could help as part of your vision for a bright legal future, Get In Touch. We are helping legal teams automate the review and approval of contracts. We make in-house legal work easy, efficient and impactful, allowing our customers to focus on the big picture instead of getting lost in the paperwork.

 

A Lawyer’s guide to Artificial Intelligence; or Why I Joined an AI Startup?

Although us lawyers sometimes hate to admit it in front of our non-lawyer friends, we all know that the glamorous image of the profession is often a gross misrepresentation of reality.

It’s not that the litigation shark or the savvy corporate lawyer depicted in television shows and movies do not exist. They do. But the movies often rush to the exciting cross-examination scene in which the lawyer brilliantly manages to protect its innocent client, while skipping over the long hours spent tediously reading thousands of pages and analyzing complex contracts. The truth is that a real lawyer’s life wouldn’t make much of an interesting movie at all.

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The LawGeex Revolution

I think that is a big part of why I was so excited when I first met with LawGeex CEO and co-founder, Noory Bechor, and heard about some of the amazing work done here. I had just recently returned to Israel after earning an LL.M. degree at New York University and practicing in New York City when I met with Noory for the first time in late 2016. I immediately recognized that what LawGeex is offering is nothing short of a revolution in the way law is practiced. Since then I have been leading a team of senior attorneys and data scientists in tackling some of the most difficult challenges our company is facing.

Introduction to AI in the Law

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Before touching on what exactly these challenges are, I should probably introduce what LawGeex is doing and why it is already today one of the most exciting and cutting edge companies.

LawGeex uses cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, in reviewing and automatically approving contracts, streamlining workflow, saving valuable lawyer-hours and avoiding unnecessary mistakes. Our AI is a human-like legal issues spotter providing relevant information on contract terms, therefore allowing lawyers to focus their review on the relevant segments of each contract, saving countless lawyer-hours. It can allow for automatic approval of a submitted contract, or where this is not possible, a detailed report on missing, problematic or rare clauses, within One Hour.

By employing sophisticated Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms (developed by LawGeex research team, led by CTO and co-founder, Ilan Admon) we are making legal practice for in-house counsel more enjoyable, accessible, and efficient.

What is AI anyway? 

AI algorithms were first theorized and developed all the way back in the 1950s, but it was only the computing power of the last decade that allowed us to widely implement them. These algorithms basically try to imitate the human brain so that rather than requiring a fixed set of convoluted rules to determine a result, they output a prediction based on examples. In other words, these are computers that learn by example, much like humans do.

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Let’s bring on the Pandas and Koalas 

LawGeex’s AI engine is programmed to solve what is called a classification problem, which basically means calculating the probability that certain information is either of type A or type B. Let’s take an overly simplified example in which a computer is taught to distinguish between pandas and koalas.

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As mentioned above, the algorithm learns by example, so we would first need to present the computer with samples of pandas and koalas. Collectively, these samples are called a training set.

Once enough samples have been collected, we can ask the algorithm to build a model, which can be understood as outlining a boundary between the koalas and the pandas. This is a resource intensive iterative process called training. Once the training is complete, we would show the computer new samples that were not included in the training set and test how well our algorithm learned to distinguish between pandas and koalas. A successful model would predict that the red question mark located left of the blue boundary line is a panda, and the one on the right is a koala. While the panda-koala example may look pretty straightforward and simple, our actual training set is far more complicated, as you can see in the terrifying-looking image below.

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You may think that this jungle of colorful dots is light-years away from your legal practice, but this is actually a visualization of how our AI tools perceive and analyze thousands of legal clauses included in thousands of contracts (our AI solution understands and interprets an exclusive corpus of 1000s of contracts). Our team inputs real contracts into our AI machines, which then “read” the contracts.

Since computers can’t actually read in the same sense as humans do, they basically convert the text into a numeric representation. Each dot in the image represents a specific segment of a contract included in the training set. The different colors represent different legal issues. The pink dots, for example, represent samples of non-compete clauses, and the purple ones represent governing law sections. Our brilliant algorithms allow us to make sense of this dot-jungle and solve the classification problem, but of course, these algorithms rely on good data and a good training set. This is where my team comes in.

Creating a good training set 

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Collecting training sets is a slow and expensive process, which even the largest technology companies struggle with. The problem is not only collecting the examples but mostly knowing if and when to stop. How do we know if enough samples were collected? Is our training set complete in the sense that it captures the entire scope of a legal concept? How do we find which samples are missing from the training set? These are all challenges we in the data team deal with on a daily basis, and solving them is crucial for building a really good AI.

Train AI Like a Lawyer

It is not enough to collect and label data if that data is just more of the same of what we already have. We strive to present our algorithms with a variety of examples that will allow it to distinguish between different legal concepts. Training an AI machine is very similar in this sense to training a new lawyer – exposure to different types of examples is crucial in developing a good understanding of the legal practice.

Hand labeling data is expensive and time-consuming, and we want our expert lawyers’ time to be well-spent labeling only quality samples that will make our AI smarter. In order to achieve that, we use a set of sophisticated processes for predicting which data (out of the enormous amount of text out there), might qualify to be included in our training set. We involve our expert lawyers in strategic junctions throughout the process to make sure we are being accurate.

Using AI to give Lawyers Back their time 

Our Machine Learning and Deep Learning technology is what gives us our competitive edge and sets us apart from other companies in the legal-tech world. Learning by example, rather than a fixed set of rules, allows us to analyze complex information with human-like precision and help our clients move swiftly from negotiation to signing. This allows lawyers to get their time back. With the routine drudge work gone, lawyers can become more like the glamorous lawyers on screen (such as Harvey Specter in Suits).

This is why we are committed to investing so much in good data, mixing the best of expert lawyers and the latest technology, consistently making our AI smarter, more accurate and more human-like every day. For me personally, it is making me love law again.
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Gil Rosenblum, Esq. is Data Team Leader at LawGeex. He trained as a lawyer in New York and currently lives in Tel Aviv. For more details or a demo get in touch.