AI is poised to radically change how legal teams streamline their workflows. That could be a game-changer in contract management, where messing up isn’t cheap. Missing deadlines, not renewing agreements on time, and paying extra fees on top of what you already negotiated are just some of the ways that improper contract management can cost your organization money.
Those costs can even be substantial: Experts estimate that you can lose between 5 and 40 percent of your contracts’ value with improper management. The good news is that modern AI-powered contract automation is easier to use and more reliable than spreadsheets and file cabinets stuffed with documents. But legal teams still sometimes have reservations about adopting alternative systems. Here are three reasons lawyers might push back against adopting AI — and why they don’t need to worry.
“AI isn’t smart enough”
Lawyers, who have bested the LSAT, three years of rigorous graduate training, the bar exam, and their clients’ cases, aren’t out of line for respecting their smarts. That makes them dubious of claims that machines can do their work at a fraction of the cost.
And they’re right. The most powerful AI in the world shouldn’t be trusted to negotiate a contract or bring a dispute to trial. That’s because AI isn’t doing the lawyering; it’s doing all the things that drag on lawyers who want to work as lawyers in the first place. If you’re a lawyer, then remembering dates, calculating possible damage amounts, and ensuring you aren’t overlooking any triggering clauses, probably aren’t why you went to law school.
Instead, the deduction, analytical creativity, and humanity of lawyering remain well within your domain. What you need isn’t an AI that acts as a brilliant legal theorist but just one that’s competent and lets you get out of your way.
“The AI will take our jobs”
Senior partners in Big Law might not fret much about being pushed out of their firms by computers. But for associates and prospective hires just graduating law school, the threat of replacement by machines might seem like it looms large. That’s because most associates have typically been able to look forward to little more than acting as machines themselves, conducting endless hours of document review and effectively working as assistants for partners by, for example, managing their contracts.
But just as moving the legal research from the law library to Westlaw didn’t dry up the well of opportunities for first-year associates, AI poses the same non-threat. Instead, the dynamic will be the same as previous legal tech developments: young lawyers will be freed up to assist their bosses with more engaging work rather than doing the stuff that makes their eyes bleed. In the case of contract automation, that means not acting as partners’ living calendars to remind them of every upcoming deadline. Instead they can now focus on becoming better lawyers by sitting in on more negotiations, reading more case law, and developing irreplaceable analysis and judgment.
“It’s too hard to learn”
Understanding the value of AI tools can be an obstacle for many to overcome. Lawyers have a lot on their plates to manage, and it can be a struggle to learn new tools. Many view AI platforms as too complex, the software is too confusing, and the entire thing is entirely out of their wheelhouse.
The tech is complex — if you’re a developer, but the reality is anything but for the user. In contrast, it’s the current tool lawyers typically use, like Excel spreadsheets, that are hard to figure out on a day-to-day basis. Modern legal tools using AI are designed to be painlessly introduced into your workflow in little more time than it takes for a coffee break. Zendoc, for example, can find all of your contracts in your cloud storage in just a few clicks. The complexity is all under the hood, but it’s simplicity from beginning to end for you, the lawyer.
If you’re ready to see how AI can help improve your legal workflow and manage your contracts, give us a shot. Your free trial can be canceled at any time — the machine doesn’t have partner privileges.