Legal AI is helping lawyers leave tedious contract work behind


Bogged down by lengthy contract reviews and redlines? Legal AI can help.

Processes such as reviewing contracts for compliance and redlining shouldn’t be rushed. After all, it’s your job as a lawyer to protect your client from risk and secure favorable terms. 

But lengthy contract reviews can quickly lead to bottlenecks for law firms and legal departments, as well as frustrated clients. Contract review can also be a tedious and monotonous task for lawyers—so much so that it drives some to question their decision to practice law

If you’re struggling to efficiently review contracts, legal AI—generative AI built for law practice— might be the solution you’re looking for. In this post, we explain how legal AI streamlines transactional work and offer best practices to maximize legal AI solutions like CoCounsel. 

1. Rapidly identify key contract terms and data 

The issue: Many lawyers must conduct thorough, word-by-word reviews of contracts to answer questions about provisions or identify critical dates, deadlines, and other information. It’s a time-consuming process, especially when faced with a particularly lengthy contract or set of contracts. 

How legal AI can help: This is an area where legal AI can have a significant impact on efficiency. Take CoCounsel for example. It’s built on the most advanced large language model ever created, which means it can respond to natural language instruction and read, comprehend, and write at a post-graduate level faster than humanly possible.

It’s the combination of those two capabilities—speed and high-level comprehension—that make this tech a game-changer. CoCounsel’s Extract Contract Data skill can tackle up to 100 contracts at a time, and you can ask up to 30 questions about those contracts, all in plain language. The AI identifies relevant clauses from every contract and responds to each question, citing the corresponding contract language to support its answers. And it does so within as little as minutes, depending on the number and length of contracts you’re reviewing. Gone are the days spent monotonously reviewing and comparing contracts for hours on end. 

It’s a tool that can save hours without sacrificing accuracy. And with the ability to analyze any type of contract—from employment agreements and handbooks to legal documents related to due diligence and corporate transactions—it’s useful for those in law firms and in-house legal departments across practice areas.  

Best practices: CoCounsel can significantly speed up contract review, but it does have its limits. These best practices for the Extract Data skill allow for more efficient review and improved output. 

  • Ask specific questions about each contract individually: When reviewing multiple contracts to assist with due diligence, for example, ask who the parties are, terms, etc., for each contract. Otherwise, CoCounsel won’t be able to understand which contract you’re referring to.  
  • Break multipart questions into multiple questions: For example, if you want to know whether an agreement has a change of control provision and is assignable, break your query into two separate sentences. 
  • Be specific in your questions: If you’re looking for confidential information in an NDA, ask “How is Confidential Information defined?” CoCounsel will extract data faster when prompted with narrow questions. 

2. Flag non-compliant clauses faster

The issue: Contract review is tough, but reviewing for contractual compliance is an even more arduous process. It requires meticulous analysis to ensure each contract complies with all applicable regulations and policies, making it a time-consuming endeavor—one that’s exacerbated when a high-risk, complex, or a high volume of contracts are involved. This tedious task also takes lawyers away from more high-value work. 

How legal AI can help: Because legal AI is powered by advanced LLMs, the technology is “smart enough” to understand and interpret even the most complex agreements—and do so at an unfathomable speed. CoCounsel’s Contract Policy Compliance skill uses this advanced technology to review up to 100 contracts to determine whether existing clauses comply with as many as 30 different policies. 

CoCounsel reads every word in each contract, identifies terms relevant to your policies, highlights the differences between the contracts’ existing terms and your policies, and explains potential risk presented by terms. It also redlines non-compliant sections and suggests language that does comply with the policy you entered. The result is a remarkable reduction in both time and effort needed to conduct thorough compliance reviews and draft compliant documents. 

Best practices: Ensure even greater optimization of the Contract Policy Compliance skill with these tips.

  • Enter laws separately: To determine if a contract’s terms comply with a certain statute, regulation, or code, enter each law as a separate policy.
  • Use the policy as a prompt: Instead of asking CoCounsel to redline clauses that do not comply with your choice of law provision, use the policy as a prompt. And, make sure the prompt for the policy is concise. 
  • Specify the requisite policy language: Instead of telling CoCounsel the contract must comply with applicable laws, be specific as to what language satisfies this policy. 

3. Summarize dense contracts, in minutes 

The issue: Reading through a ten-page contract is one thing; getting through a ninety-page contract to quickly counsel an anxious client is another. You need to be thorough to ensure you provide sound, accurate advice, but also have to balance comprehensives with time limitations.

How legal AI can help: Legal AI can digest long, complicated documents into summaries suited to your needs in as little as minutes, giving you the power to understand the terms of a contract without hours of review. CoCounsel’s Summarize skill reads legal documents and contracts—NDAs, new regulations, company handbooks, and franchise agreements, to name a few—and gives you the option to receive a brief, detailed, or comprehensive summary. 

Best practices: To maximize the Summarize skill and refine its output, use these steps.

  • Try follow-up skills: Use other skills like Review Documents to ask questions about summary, so you can drill down on longer summaries. 
  • Summarize text: CoCounsel can also summarize text that is not in a document. Type or paste text copied from another source to be summarized. 
  • Break up large documents: The maximum file size that can be uploaded is 500MB, so make sure to divide larger documents.

Legal AI is optimizing contract analysis, due diligence, and redlining without reducing the accuracy or thoroughness of review. The outcome isn’t just saved time or greater efficiency for transactional attorneys—it’s the elimination of dull, repetitive tasks, freeing them up to focus on more complex, high-value, and creative work, to innovate, and to better service clients. 

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