Artificial intelligence opportunities may catch legal departments attention in 2019, with promises of more accurate work done faster and cheaper.

But not all legal teams are ready to take the AI plunge, contract automation company LawGeex’s chief legal strategist Lucy Bassli said in a recent webinar. Bassli laid out four ways she can tell whether or not a legal team is ready to adopt AI.

  1. More Than Curious: AI tools should be used to solve an identified problem. But Bassli said some legal teams want to use AI tools for the sake of using AI, not to improve a targeted issue. Successful teams should know why they want to use AI tools and what for. “Just the curiosity alone isn’t quite enough to make this a successful experience,” she said.  
  2. Learn to Let Go: General counsel who can’t trust AI tools to work accurately are not ready to implement the tech, Bassli said. She’s heard interested AI users claim they’ll still need to read over every contract thoroughly—but that negates the time-saving abilities of AI. Contracts will be accurate the vast majority of the time, she said, and GCs should be willing to take a risk on the small chance that a contract isn’t perfect to save time and money. “Automation will be successful only if there is a comfort with assuming some risk,” she said.
  3. Time Crunch: Legal teams that already have a service-level agreement with the business to turn contracts around in a short time period are top contenders for AI adoption, Bassli said, because “benefits for those kinds of companies are extremely high.” Those legal teams may be struggling to review a slew of contracts in a short period of time. 
  4. Perfect the Process: Legal departments should look at the process they want to automate—identify the bottlenecks, who is involved in the process and the time it currently takes. If the process doesn’t work well, it’s not a good candidate for AI.  “If you add automation into a bad process, [you’re] simply automating a bad process,” Bassli said. 

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