Legal tech and innovation: 3 ways AI supports the evolution of legal ops

Kara Wen | April 19, 2023 | Articles

Gartner predicted that spending on legal software would triple from 2021 to 2025, and venture capital investments in these tools reached a new high of over $1 billion in 2022.

Legal tech is no longer seen as a nice to have, but a must have. C-suites are now looking to corporate legal teams to play a more prominent role in strategic growth across the company. As a result, legal is turning to sophisticated artificial intelligence solutions to help them scale and meet new challenges.

From making complex legal spend analysis easier to speeding up contract reviews, legal AI can catalyze legal ops teams to function as true strategic business partners.

As the market gets flooded with buzzy AI products, it’s important to select a solution that can meet your legal team’s unique needs. Look for 3 key AI-powered capabilities: simplified legal spend analysis, faster contract review, and streamlined document management.

1. Simplified legal spend analysis

While standard legal e-Billing software gives you access to your legal spend data, you still use a lot of mental energy to analyze those numbers. And the more data points you have, the harder (and more time-consuming) it is to identify patterns and outliers.

Legal AI gives you a highly efficient partner in the analysis process. Through machine learning, the AI develops an understanding of what’s normal in your data sets and what isn’t. And the more legal spend data you have, the more accurate its knowledge becomes. The software then applies these insights to highlight spending trends and unusual transactions or bills, giving you a quick overview of your legal spend. With these starting points, you can dig into the data further to see where you’re losing money on your vendors and determine how you can save.

Besides generating suggestions based on what it learns from historical data, AI can use the filters and algorithms you suggest to get the results you need. For example, when using our AI-powered legal spend management tool SimpleReview, you can automatically flag instances where vendor spending stayed under $10,000. Or all vendors that used an alternative fee arrangement. Or whatever data point you want to keep track of.

This AI-assisted review saves you hours in manual work. Because your team spends less time analyzing data, they have greater bandwidth to put together thoughtful legal business intelligence reports. These reports help your corporate legal department, general counsel, and C-suite make decisions that support the overall business. They also definitively show the value of legal ops.

Machine learning is also key for proactive risk management. Legal AI can forecast spending down the line and recommend adjustments based on the patterns it identifies. These predictions help you stay on budget and identify where to cut spending.

When you share these findings with your finance department, they can create more accurate budgets. Plus, the transparency helps both teams work more effectively together.

Want to see SimpleReview in action? Sign up for a free demo with one of our dedicated product specialists.

2. Faster contract review

Accurate, timely contract review is a business cornerstone. However, this core process between sales and legal is often plagued by manual inefficiencies that slow down processes and cause tension between departments. And while standard legal ops software can help things along with tools like contract templates, the bulk of the review still lies with overburdened employees.

Much like it does with spend data, legal AI learns from previous data—in this case, pre-loaded data like contracts and legal clause libraries. It takes care of the heavy lifting for you. No more manual redlining or flagging missing clauses. Legal AI will automatically add pre-approved clauses and identify possible risk factors.

AI-assisted legal tech also reduces the amount of time sales and legal spend reviewing contracts and swapping questions in emails. The result? A 51% productivity boost, which means faster turnaround time for turning prospects into customers.

Not only does AI help sales close more key deals, but it improves the way other teams at your company perceive corporate legal. According to Onit’s Enterprise Legal Reputation report, just 43% of sales employees say they have a positive working relationship with legal. By improving internal collaboration with business units like sales, it’s much easier for legal to deliver greater value across the entire company.

3. Streamlined document management

Better legal knowledge management starts with storing files in one centralized legal document management system. Still, you need to sink a lot of time into organizing those hundreds or thousands of documents into accessible, clear categories. And that level of manual work takes team members away from concentrating on strategic, higher-level responsibilities.

An AI-based DMS removes that hassle by automatically scanning, tagging, and sorting documents for you. It groups documents based on similar or repeated phrases, so you’re likely to find what you’re looking for when you use the search bar. And because the tool learns from each file you upload, the more you use the system, the better the AI gets at organizing your files.

This real-time categorization takes a good amount of admin legal work off your plate, allowing you to concentrate on valuable areas like strategic cost control. This assistance is also key to preventing burnout among overloaded legal employees, which costs businesses an estimated $120 to $190 billion each year.

This feature not only makes legal matter management easier (especially for new hires), but it also helps other teams to quickly locate information without pulling legal professionals away from their work. And you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally opening or changing sensitive documents because our platform allows you to set custom access controls. Your documents stay secure, but valuable internal knowledge is easy to share.

For continuous legal growth, you need legal AI

As your legal ops responsibilities continue to evolve, you need a tool that helps you keep up with those changing needs. Legal AI can match your pace of growth and ensure you have the support you need to succeed.

Learn more about AI's role in the future of legal ops

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