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Using AI for maximum speed and insight in real estate transactions

7 September 2020 | Luminance

During a recent webinar held by Luminance, Gavin Williams, Partner at Holland & Knight, shared his experience of how Luminance’s AI technology has made real estate due diligence reviews more efficient for clients while also enhancing collaboration between teams.

As modern influences are shaping the real estate market, clients are also demanding quicker turn-around times from legal professionals in order to gain an edge in negotiations. Increasing demand for property concentrated in urban centres has meant that clients are also demanding quicker turn-around times from legal professionals in order to gain an edge in negotiations. Indeed, at least until the pandemic struck, deals were getting made at an increasing rate, adding an element of risk as inspections and financing conditions may not be completed to the required standard, and many lawyers had to rely on sampling in order to meet tight deadlines. However, legal technology allows real estate lawyers to reduce risk during pressurized reviews by quickly gaining an understanding of the document set, no matter how vast. The increased efficiency provided by technology saves resources, allowing the firm to not only get a better understanding of each deal, but also take on additional deals with the time-savings that advanced technology generates. Gavin explains, “A few years ago, we started looking at ways to maximise efficiency and make our work more streamlined and in sync by leveraging technology. Luminance has been a nice addition to the tools we have in our kit which really benefit our clients.”

Luminance brings true machine learning to the legal profession, blending supervised and unsupervised machine learning to rapidly read and form an understanding of legal data, instantly surfacing critical information to the lawyer without the need for pre-programming or machine training. This has allowed another leading international law firm, Penningtons Manches Cooper, to achieve time-savings of 80% on lease reviews. Tarnya Mason, Associate Director of Penningtons Manches Cooper, has previously said, “We were able to provide a response much more quickly and in a more streamlined fashion.”

Gavin describes one case at Holland & Knight in which he represented a landlord of a large 7000-square-foot office building. Using Luminance, Gavin cited the ability to instantly refer back to previous leases and clauses in order to compare with new leases and ensure that the language and offerings are consistent as hugely helpful to an expedited, effective review. Indeed, by forming an understanding of all documents within a dataset, highlighting commonalities and differences between contracts and clauses, Gavin believes Luminance “allows you to grasp a large dataset very efficiently.” Indeed, it is no longer necessary to sift through hundreds of pages of loan agreements manually. Instead, AI technology enables lawyers to instantly assess any areas of risk as well as what rights the tenants might have. Ensuring legal teams can gain maximum insight into document sets is clearly beneficial to clients, and as Gavin notes, “both from an efficiency and cost standpoint, clients are more inclined to ask law firms to use technology.”

The pace of work of a real estate lawyer is never slow: whilst the current pandemic and economic crisis have resulted in a slow-down in transactions as buyers are hesitant to purchase properties, landlords and their tenants globally have turned to legal professionals to provide them with quick advice as to their rights and obligations. With many offices closed or used to a dramatically reduced capacity, remote working is commonplace amongst lawyers, and Luminance’s advanced collaboration and project management tools such as document and task allocation allow global teams to track their progression while avoiding communication lapses. Gavin comments on the current situation, saying: “With what is going on in the world today, technology has allowed us to service our clients from even more remote locations than we had ever anticipated.” He explains that Holland & Knight have implemented Luminance as a document management system in order to ensure that their teams access documents from any location, and can collaborate as efficiently as possible while working remotely.

Looking towards the future, Gavin believes that increasing use of technology within the law will continue, with leading technological solutions like Luminance having an ongoing role in allowing legal professionals to stay competitive while maintaining a high standard of work. With this in mind, he says, “technology is here to stay.”