ThoughtRiver, the legal AI company that has pioneered the area of NLP-driven contract risk pre-screening, is expanding its offering to encompass far more of the contract negotiation phase – all as part of a deeper strategic expansion into what the company defines as ‘Contract Acceleration‘. Sounds good, but what is it and what does it mean?
First, check out the AL TV news interview with CEO and founder, Tim Pullan, below – it’s about 7 minutes and helps to capture what they’re trying to do now and what Contract Acceleration means.
Press play to watch or listen inside the page.
But, in more specific terms, this is how the company explained to Artificial Lawyer what they are doing now:
‘As you know, we invented pre-screening as a way to accelerate contract reviews using AI. Our technology highlighted issues to address, and provided advice notes / comments / redline text, based on our clients’ playbooks.
Our Contract Acceleration Platform recognises that there is much more that can be done to organise and optimise contracting in general, and contract negotiations in particular, by empowering negotiators and their colleagues.
Contract acceleration enables deal-making by giving lawyers the tools to optimise and organise the legal review which is at the heart of transactions both large and small. Contract acceleration works by focusing the parties on the key issues that need to be resolved and minimises wasted time on irrelevant detail and superfluous redlining.
Contract Acceleration technology significantly reduces a lawyer’s manual labour and risk when distilling, communicating, and resolving issues to close a deal.
Here’s what’s new:
- Negotiation management dashboard: Contracts can be triaged and managed based on the number of issues to be resolved, and assigned to certain reviewers.
- Rapid Issue discovery: our AI identifies issues based on previously signed internal and external contracts, as well as our client’s playbook, providing unparalleled automated issue recognition and confidence in negotiating positions.
- Digital Issues list: Automatically creates a digital list of all the issues found within the contract for the reviewer/negotiator to work through. They can resolve issues one by one and easily measure their progress on the broader ‘turning of the contract’ via a new issue based metric. The creation of an issues list that is then used to manage the negotiation is the gold standard, but seems to be reserved for only the largest deals due to the complexity and time involved, we are now allowing this approach to be used on every single deal automatically.
- Collaboration tools: Share specific issues with colleagues or stakeholders via the app, pull them into the negotiation to collaborate, or simply use it to keep the team informed on progress.
- Rapid Remediation: Building on the market leading MS Word Plug-in which we launched last year, we have streamlined the process of marking up the document and significantly bolstered the legal content that the platform uses.’
As you can see, what this all means in practical terms is that ThoughtRiver is looking at providing support for a large part of the contract negotiation phase – which is critical to the work of so many lawyers. They’ve also worked hard to build features around collaboration and simply making processes run more smoothly – which may not be super-techie machine learning areas, but are essential nonetheless.
In short, this is meant to be a more all-encompassing approach that lawyers can rely upon for a larger chunk of their work, rather than use ThoughtRiver as just a particular point solution.
And, as to Contract Acceleration, ultimately it’s about making the time to contract execution faster. That matters because it lets deals and the business of the client move forward, and it means less lawyer time spent bogged down in mundane tasks.
This sets them apart from some of the NLP companies focused on review and extraction for large-scale projects, such as M&A due diligence.
In fact, as the legal AI market segment continues to evolve and mature, ThoughtRiver – and others – are differentiating themselves from what is commonly seen as the mainstay of NLP tech, i.e. bulk review. Instead they are targeting key parts of the pre-execution contract process.
As Pullan explained: ‘Manual legal reviews slow negotiation, eat margins and kill deals every day. It is a massive problem affecting billions of transactions. The fault lies not with lawyers, but with the lack of effective tools to help them deliver fast legal review.
‘So I’m thrilled to be launching our Contract Acceleration Platform, which helps lawyers and their business colleagues focus on negotiating and closing deals more quickly with less risk.’
So, there you go. Expect to hear more about this approach on Artificial Lawyer.