Using Luminance to Supercharge the Review of Outside Counsel Guideline

17 December 2020 | Ella Black, Legal Product Expert

Outside Counsel Guidelines have become standard practice in the working relationship between law firms and corporate teams and contain crucial information about how firms should conduct their business, ranging from legal fees; billing and expense guidelines; conflicts of interest; confidentiality; data security and much more. Nonetheless, the length and complexity of such agreements, compounded by the fact that each exist in unique form across different corporate relationships, means that using AI like Luminance to gain unparalleled understanding and insight into these types of agreements has never been so business-critical.

The importance of Outside Counsel Guidelines

But first, it’s important to look at why these agreements are so fundamental. Under increasing pressure to cut costs and drive efficiency, legal departments view Outside Counsel Guidelines as one of the most effective tools they have for controlling their outside counsel spend. Not only that, Outside Counsel Guidelines provide an opportunity for corporate clients to outline exactly what they expect from their external counsel.

Yet whilst Outside Counsel Guidelines seem fundamental to governing the relationship between internal and external counsel, the reality is they often go unread. Often these cover a wide range of both hypothetical and existing scenarios and thus the sheer volume and length of these guidelines can frequently make it unfeasible to read and understand these agreements in their entirety. Moreover, the agreements can vary enormously from client to client, so each set of guidelines needs to read closely to see how it is crafted to meet that particular scenario. But with time in short supply, it is somewhat unsurprising to read the results of a recent survey which found that a quarter of all law firms have no process at all to review and analyse incoming Outside Counsel Guidelines and a whopping 62% only have an ad hoc process to do so.

Gaining total insight

All of this means that lawyers are faced with the very real possibility of overlooking crucial information, in turn creating an enormous disconnect between in-house clients and outside counsel. In fact, it is thought that over half of lawyers do not know what is contained in the guidelines.

Luminance offers a unique approach to the process of reviewing Outside Counsel Guidelines: by blending both supervised and unsupervised machine learning, Luminance is able to immediately read and form an understanding of legal data, instantly surfacing crucial information such as datapoints, clauses, patterns and anomalies. For instance, Luminance is able to immediately identify a critical ‘Confidentiality’ clause or ‘Payment’ provision, saving lawyers from manually trawling through endless documents to find the provisions they are looking for.

Run and extra layer of analysis with Luminance’s revolutionary Automatic Document and Clause Compliance Technology

In order to expedite and accelerate the insight of their analysis, lawyers can use Luminance’s Automatic Document and Clause Compliance technology which allows users to set any version of a clause or document as a standard against which all others are compared. For instance, if lawyers were interested in a particular ‘Data Security’ or ‘Legal Fees’ clause, Luminance would be able to highlight subtle differences in language across multiple versions of that clause: this could allow a lawyer to understand how this certain clause varied from previous templated agreements for instance or is there were any inconsistencies within the agreement itself. As well as drastically reducing time spent on the review, this feature allows lawyers to understand even the most minor deviations from their own chosen standard wording. This feature is further enhanced by Luminance’s unique synchronisation with Microsoft Word. This enables lawyers to see Luminance’s machine learning analysis within the Microsoft Word version of the document. Lawyers can then edit and remediate their documents accordingly and save their changes back into Luminance.

Optimising your review with Luminance

By allowing lawyers to fully understand the parameters of the agreed relationship between internal and external counsel, Luminance helps outside firms and in-house teams to maintain trust and facilitates the most effective, efficient working relationship.

If you would like to find out more about how Luminance can be used to review Outside Counsel Guidelines, click this link to watch my recent webinar.