Monday, January 22, 2018

Harvard Law students develop AI program to help lawyers draft contracts

Harvard Law Today is reporting on a new computer program developed by four Harvard Law School students that uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers draft contracts. 

HLS students harness artificial intelligence to revolutionize how lawyers draft and manage contracts


Four Harvard Law students have their heads in the cloud—and they think the rest of the legal profession should join them. With their powerful new search engine called Evisort that harnesses cloud storage and artificial intelligence, they hope to revolutionize the costly and labor-intensive way that lawyers currently handle contracts and other transactional work, liberating them for more creative and interesting tasks.


Developed by the students over the past two years, Evisort is “like Google for legal contracts,” says Jerry Ting ’18, co-founder and CEO, who came up with the idea as an undergraduate. While artificial intelligence is the cutting-edge of automating labor-intensive tasks such as document review, it hasn’t yet been widely applied to contracts. Evisort jumps into that gap by enabling lawyers to quickly sort through thousands of contracts and other documents to unlock key insights for transactional work. It has the potential to greatly enhance efficiency, improve accuracy, and save millions of dollars a year, the students and their supporters agree.


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Evisort first converts scanned documents to searchable text—nothing new here. But it’s the next steps that have a revolutionary application for lawyers. Using artificial intelligence, Evisort sorts through all the contracts, categorizing them by subject area and type of contract, and identifies provisions within each contract. A whole range of key data is extracted such as party names, dates, and size of the deal.


Let’s say a salesperson in the middle of closing a high-value deal comes to general counsel seeking guidance on negotiating a provision on the limitation of liability. Right now, the lawyer can do a word search for “limitation on liability” among the contracts the legal team has access to in order to find relevant contracts, but she would have to open each one to read it and see if it’s helpful. Evisort, however, instantly scans every contract in the entire company that includes a limitation on liability—pulling up only those within certain date or other parameters that the lawyer wants, such as only within sales agreements. It presents this data in chart form showing when the contract was signed, how much money was involved in the deal, the language of the limitation on liability—without the lawyer having to read each document.

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Continue reading here.


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