Corporate law departments looking to get technological help with their contracting process have enough options to make a GC’s head swim. No fear — LawGeex, which provides software to corporations for contract review — has published a comprehensive buyer’s guide for corporate legal departments.
The In-House Counsel’s Legal Tech 2018 Buyer’s Guide is targeted to in-house legal departments, so it omits a few categories of legal tech, such as law firm practice management software that is generally targeted to law firms. Aside from that limitation, however, this is a very comprehensive and useful overview of the state of legal technology today. LawGeex itself is one of the providers covered in the research, but its treatment of companies in its own space and in the many other segments it does not play in, is fairly even-handed.
This is a useful and informative piece in the whole, but one section in particular documents the varied applications of Artificial Intelligence technologies in the legal sector. If you think that AI’s impact on the legal services industry is a future development, have a look at the 60-plus companies identified here, all actively contributing to in-house legal operations in a wide variety of applications, with AI-based products.
The Bell Curve shape of the diagram reflects that certain applications have more traction and are more maturely developed than others. Legal research, eDiscovery and contract review and analysis are often cited as the parts of legal practice where AI is gathering momentum and actually delivering results, and that’s certainly reflected in the bulge in the center of the chart. This is where AI is becoming mainstream.
The total number of companies identified by LawGeex in this space is up 65% since last year. The mix includes both newer startups and larger, well-established providers, including Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and Bloomberg Law.
Aside from that cross-practice look at AI-based providers, the Guide covers a number of other interesting trends and developments including the funding and the consolidation of legal tech companies and specific types of technologies (including blockchain and the cloud). The Guide also features some “how-tos” on approaching buying legal tech, and testimonials from in-house leaders on the importance of keeping up with tech and having a comprehensive plan and process around tech acquisition. The bulk of the report is a sector-by-sector look at some of the key providers in areas such as contract management, contract review, legal research, expertise automation, eBilling and many others.
Practitioners who are still skeptical about the impact on their practice of AI, or legal technology in general, will find this an eye-opening (and readable) overview of the many aspects of legal work that are rapidly being enhanced by technology.