The path to best practice in drafting contracts involves knowledge and requires collaboration, but sometimes access to knowledge and available peer support isn’t there when you need it. And at other times, the client’s schedule demands speed. An emerging solution to these problems is found in utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to guide you through the drafting process.
Artificial intelligence has brought something to humankind that is truly very useful – it accommodates and accelerates collaboration. Jesse Spencer-Smith, Ph.D., is Chief Data Scientist for the Data Science Institute at Vanderbilt University, and he speaks of AI as being “a highly capable collection of well-organized information that you can draw on to solve problems – it augments.”
The previous three articles in this series addressed contract drafting from the perspective of the Support Team, with a focus on Collaboration and the reminder that understanding the Anatomy of a Contract is vital to your client’s success. This article will focus on how Loio is leveraging AI to streamline the drafting process further.
Loio – A SaaS Assistant in Drafting Contracts
Loio is an AI-driven SaaS tool that runs as an add-in inside of Microsoft Word® and addresses certain needs in the drafting space. It analyzes the document inside Microsoft Word® to allow for insight during the drafting process; it assists in the uniform styling of the text, and it provides quick access to contract-specific clauses for instant integration. These features extend the reach of each drafter and therefore help drive efficiency and accuracy.
But how reliable is AI? Spencer-Smith further notes in the lecture that although AI is not self-aware (it doesn’t function like the human brain), it can nevertheless “provide solutions or suggestions for solutions.” Recalling my discussion on Collaboration, it is this suggestive nature of AI that will play a vital role in contract drafting because it will serve as a data bank of professional insights – and become a fourth member of my Support Team.
One of the new features that Loio is developing is an analytics tool that can help you choose which clauses belong in your specific contract. For instance, your client requests an oil, gas, and mineral lease for a new lease-buying project. You then decide to utilize one of the oil and gas lease forms common in that region, but you’re unsure if you are missing additional provisions that should be included. It is here where Loio is being trained to help the drafter think of the provisions often seen in a particular document type so that they can decide if that provision should be included or remain left out. For instance, in an oil, gas, and mineral lease, your “form” might not include a Guthrey Clause that addresses preexisting environmental conditions on a well site or a Pugh Clause that triggers a release of acreage or depths, or an Indemnity Clause that protects the Lessor / Assignor against claims arising out of drilling operations. But Loio’s expectation is to have its scan recognize the absence of mandatory or recommended clauses and bring these to the drafter’s attention through its Critical and Mild Issue features. The drafter always remains in control of the document’s content but now has the advantage of being prompted to think about possible alternatives. In addition to using AI, Loio is addressing a common issue with clause storage and retrieval.
A common thought in every drafter’s mind is wondering where their clauses are stored. “Where did I use that particular clause addressing the indemnification of a landowner?”; “Where did I store the clause about Severability, or Counterparts, or Non-Disclosure, etc.?”. With Loio, a drafter has all of his clauses incorporated into Loio’s Clause Bank and can simply enter a keyword search to find the desired clause, and with one click, Loio will insert that clause into his document – and Loio even matches the font style and size of the area where you chose to insert it. Loio has pre-built clauses for various contract types for the end user to draw from, or it allows each end user to build their own clause bank and organize them under specific categories; you can then share these unique clauses with your team members across your Loio account.
One function of Loio’s Clause Bank is creating a means by which a team lead can pre-approve certain clauses for inclusion in a contract if negotiations call for it. The team lead won’t have to worry about variations in clause types: they simply determine which clauses are acceptable under certain circumstances and let the negotiating team know what latitude they have to approve the same. Now what would have taken days or weeks to receive approval is accomplished instantly.
From the unique perspectives of each member of the Support Team through understanding the anatomy of a contract, contract drafting is a detailed, time-intensive process. And what’s more, it is a very human-intensive process—with all the creativity and all the limitations that surround humankind.
The advent of AI in the drafting space, however, brings the possibility of improved contract analytics and better collaboration. Collaboration amongst professionals will always remain best practice, and Loio’s SaaS is here to help streamline those collaborative efforts across your organization. Join Loio on its journey toward best practices in contract drafting, and subscribe for a free trial today.