How AI Technology Can Simplify the Burden of Contract Review


Contract review is a vital but monotonous task that requires a unique combination of legal expertise and the ability to interpret legal language. Lawyers possess these skills, but reviewing numerous, often similar contracts as part of a large transaction can be mind-numbing. Even paragraphs written differently can convey the same meaning, while a single word change can completely alter the interpretation. Keeping track of it all can be quite a challenge. However, the review itself is not the end goal. Clients expect lawyers to interpret and explain the contracts, translating legal language into business language and assessing risks—a subjective task that necessitates human expertise. Luckily, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can automate some of the tedious aspects of contract review.

How to Utilize AI for Contract Review

Machine learning is a subset of AI that employs algorithms to train software to learn from a dataset and perform specific tasks. In contract review, this entails using hundreds or thousands of real contracts to teach the software to identify relevant information. For instance, Document Intelligence, developed by Thomson Reuters Practical Law attorney editors, can swiftly identify pertinent information from vast numbers of documents. This tool can recognize contract types, provisions, terms, and extract key figures such as payments and dates, providing reliable obligation data. By going beyond keyword search, Document Intelligence delivers highly accurate results based on the context and intent of the text itself. Users benefit from nearly instant answers, achieving accelerated information retrieval and review by more than 50%. Once this data is extracted, the tool can be employed in various helpful ways. Users can access analytics or data visualization for large groups of contracts, compare clauses side by side, or receive drafting guidance within Microsoft Word based on their organization’s contract playbook. Document Intelligence delivers structured contract data for analysis, confirmation, drafting, negotiation, and visualization, while also triggering workflows by automatically routing specific contracts to specialists for further review.

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The Advantages of Contract Review Software

Contract review software is particularly effective for triaging and extracting data from legal contracts in bulk. It relieves the burden of tracking similar pieces of information across documents, a task that computers excel at but human brains struggle with. We can call this the administrative work of contract review. However, the true value that lawyers offer their clients lies in the human interpretation and analysis that transforms legal language into valuable business insights. By offloading more of this administrative work to machine learning, lawyers can focus on the work that truly matters to their clients. This may result in faster reviews, an ability to handle a higher volume of work, and ultimately, happier clients.

Hand typing on a laptop keyboard.

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Common Mistakes Made with Contract Review Software

Companies often make mistakes when relying on their legal team or domain experts to independently train AI models to align with organizational needs. This approach frequently results in delayed realization of value and less precise outcomes, leading to disappointment. Two key reasons contribute to this outcome:

  1. AI requires substantial and diverse data to build accurate and scalable models.
  2. Legal teams are not AI training experts and are constantly juggling a growing to-do list. While the desire to innovate is strong, investing significant time in training AI becomes challenging when fulfilling legal duties is the top priority.

To address these challenges, Document Intelligence is trained by Practical Law attorney editors and experienced subject-matter experts. The models are robust, continuously improved, and come at no additional cost to the customer.

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Getting Started with Contract Review Software

Getting started with contract review software is remarkably straightforward. Thanks to pre-trained models from Practical Law attorney editors, you can be up and running within days, not weeks or months. Envision the time and headache medicine saved with a contract review tool that can identify and organize contracts, freeing you to focus on legal work rather than paperwork.

Laptop screen showcasing Document Intelligence

Document Intelligence Features:

  • Faster answers
  • Greater confidence in drafting and negotiating
  • 360° visibility
  • Powered by Practical Law

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