A year on from its spin out, Axiom Managed Solutions, which provides clients with contract negotiation support, has rebranded as Factor. But perhaps of most interest is that the 500-strong managed legal services company has been exploring the use of AI tools, including for faster and more efficient contract negotiation.
The company’s original investors, including Benchmark Capital and Carrick Capital are also ‘doubling down’ on the newly branded organisation, the company said, and will remain long-term investors. Although the company would not say what ‘doubling down’ meant in exact financial terms.
Chris DeConti, Head of Strategy for the now newly re-branded Factor, told Artificial Lawyer that the company had looked at a range of tech tools in the market for speeding up contract negotiation.
This matters, as the ALSP is one of the largest players in this particular area. As DeConti explained: ‘If you look at other LPOs and ALSPs in the market, they do a small percentage of this [contract negotiation work], but this is all we do.’
He wouldn’t name the companies they have tested so far, but we have seen a growing range of startups and more established legal tech players developing tools that allow primarily inhouse counsel to rapidly analyse an individual contract they are in the process of working on.
These tools can help with areas such as highlighting unusual clauses and what deviates from what is ‘market’ for a certain contract type, or giving risk scores via a ‘traffic light system’ to certain aspects of a proposed agreement, and also providing the lawyer with pre-approved legal language to insert into the contract from a company’s playbook.
That in turn allows inhouse lawyers to rapidly move through the negotiation phase, at least for the less bespoke types of contract.
Companies working in this area, or with software that closely connects to it include, among others: BlackBoiler, Scissero, Seal Software, ThoughtRiver, LawGeex, and LegalSifter – and now also TermScout, although this startup uses a high level of human input as well.
Using such technology at scale – if it were to happen at some point – in a business that primarily handles contract negotiation would therefore be an important step. However, DeConti told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We would like to use contract negotiation tools, but we have not found the sweet spot yet.’
He added that the ALSP wanted a tool that was very flexible and dynamic and would fit their broad range of contract negotiation needs – and that despite their continued interest they had not found exactly what they wanted.
Name Change And The Future
But, back to the name change. Why do this? DeConti explained it was a simple need to not carry over a brand name from the old Axiom group that they had spun out of.
And, as to the future, he added that the way he viewed innovation in legal services is that where new approaches have been applied to more commoditised matters it’s worked well. But, on more complex, bespoke processes or matters, there has not been as much progress.
This is because, he underlined: ‘Most legal work is not commoditised.’
He also pointed out that what Factor does is not basic work either, even if they are not a law firm, nor provide legal services.
‘This is not sitting in a back room just reading through a bunch of documents,’ he stated, adding that the group of 500 lawyers, legal specialists, technologists, and process consultants with offices in New York, Chicago, London, Belfast and Poland, are really adding value to the clients’ contracting needs.
Overall then, DeConti is open to tech helping the company, but he is also adamant that what Factor does is not simple and easy to commoditise work that tech can be easily applied to. They may be an outsourced support group, but it’s one that uses a lot of experienced lawyers. If tech can help, it looks like they are open to that, but they are still looking for the right solution.
Artificial Lawyer suggests you give Factor a call if you think you have the right solution to their needs…..!