Tech Will Not Build You a Perfect Contract Template

This post on Artificial Lawyer by Richard Tromans (@ArtificialLawya) notes that more and more technology is being directed at the contract process. In fact, there’s so much of it that I’ve stopped trying to keep track.

The article focuses on a product called Avvoka. I’m not familiar with it, and I certainly haven’t tried it. My purpose is, as usual, to dampen expectations.

Here’s a passage from the article (emphasis added):

After all, every time someone uses Avvoka, or another system that can sort the unstructured data of a contract, they are adding more data points to the picture of what is the best contract for that company in that type of matter.

Once a company has learnt this, why not then keep it and re-use that knowledge to make ‘the perfect template’?

Law firms and inhouse teams already work hard on perfecting their templates, and have done so for many years, especially for simpler types of contract. But, with more intelligent systems, especially when using NLP and more advanced data collection on outputs of each clause and how they are negotiated, far greater levels of perfection may be possible in terms of template creation.

But, Benzecrit does not see this steady move of contract automation and digital data capture to create perfect templates as harming the legal profession, quite the opposite in fact.

Nothing in the world of contract templates brings to mind perfection. Quite the opposite. And technology will not get us from here to perfection. Technology will only allow us to select from, and deploy more quickly and effectively, whatever contract content we have on hand.

Only old-fashioned humanoid expertise will determine what perfection looks like and how we achieve it.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.