The power of AI for in-house legal teams

23 April 2021 | Eleanor Weaver, CEO, Luminance

In January 2021, a survey by EY Law and the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession found that 70% of in-house legal teams felt they do not have adequate technology to do their jobs effectively, whilst 87% of GCs and in-house counsel questioned felt that they waste time on low-value, routine tasks which could be automated. Adopting innovative AI technology instead of using outdated and resource-intensive manual document review methods holds vast potential for in-house legal teams, helping them to understand, manage and negotiate their contracts with increased insight and efficiency.

Focus on high-value, critical work

Ever-expanding data volumes mean that in-house legal teams are now expected to review a vast amount of documentation every day. This is especially true of in-house counsel that operate within global organisations across multiple jurisdictions, who must find a way of understanding their contractual landscape, which is often siloed in different repositories and written in multiple languages.

On top of this, businesses today are facing increasing volumes and complexity of regulation. Data privacy regulations such as the GDPR and the CCPA, for example, place stringent obligations on organisations. As a result, the role of General Counsels and their in-house teams has evolved to encompass ensuring compliance, proactively avoiding business risk and also helping to formulate business strategy. Gone are the days when they were just specialists to be consulted on technical legal issues.

In the wake of this changing business climate, AI has emerged as a key enabler for in-house legal teams. Powered by a unique blend of supervised and unsupervised machine learning, Luminance’s AI is able to rapidly read and form an understanding of datasets in any language, instantly surfacing key information such as clauses, patterns and anomalies. In-house teams no longer have to waste unnecessary time and resource trawling through endless, repetitive documents – instead, they can quickly find and focus on what matters within their contracts.

Luminance: transforming the work of in-house teams

Recently, Avianca S.A., the flagship Colombian airline whose operations are one of the largest in Latin America, adopted Luminance to modernise their in-house legal department. Covid-19 had a devastating impact on the global travel industry as the world ground to a halt. Avianca needed to boost productivity and efficiency across their business in response to the pandemic. Indeed, the company measured a 90% time saving in their first use of Luminance, completing their first 1,000-document review in just three hours. Avianca is now looking to use Luminance to manage over 30,000 agreements, including supplier contracts, NDAs and employment contracts.

Responding to the pandemic: the DSAR surge

The uncertainties of the post-pandemic era will transform the type of work that in-house legal teams undertake. One example of how AI is being used to tackle legal challenges in a post-pandemic landscape is for Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs) arising from the GDPR. As the UK Government’s furlough scheme is scaled back, employers are anticipating a rise in DSARs from former employees who have been made redundant, with similar waves of data requests being anticipated globally following job losses. Without technology, conducting a DSAR review is a time-consuming task, and organisations are expected to complete a request within 30 days or face a fine of up to 4% of the company’s annual global turnover.

Luminance is transforming this process, using AI to rapidly analyse datasets and surface relevant information. Law firm Burness Paull recently deployed Luminance on a DSAR case with a dataset spanning 6,000 documents. Within minutes, Luminance’s data culling tools had reduced the dataset by 80%, allowing the team to start their review the same day. Luminance also has the ability to automatically identify and redact Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as party names, addresses and security numbers, expediting the process further.

Back in the driver’s seat

Luminance can help in-house teams take back control of their internal legal processes by drastically reducing the time and resources required to complete a task, negating the need for outsourcing to external counsels and thus reducing costs. For instance, Featurespace, the leading provider of Enterprise Financial Crime prevention software, is now using Luminance in order to gain greater insight into their legal documentation including employment contracts, outside counsel guidelines and commercial sales agreements. With the time and cost savings this will generate, Featurespace’s in-house team is no longer reliant on third parties to do their job effectively; they are well and truly back in the driver’s seat.

The ground is fertile for AI innovation amongst in house teams, allowing lawyers to gain a greater depth of understanding about their contractual landscape, whilst saving precious time and resources. And with Luminance’s in-house customer base growing by 65% last year, the time has never been better to invest in and deploy AI technology across your organisation!