Rpa Applications In Legal Firms For Contract Review And Due Diligence – There has been a battle for some time in the legal press, at conferences and on social media, about the question, Will robots replace lawyers? As the war progressed, views converged on two opposing sides.
The former believes that lawyers are destined for AI nirvana. According to these experts, soon there will be intelligent machines that will handle all legal problems, leaving the best, creative parts for lawyers to enjoy. The general tone of many legal department leaders regarding technology is optimistic. In the LexisNexis 2018 Insights report, titled Legal Technology: Looking Past the Hype, 57 percent of general counsel surveyed believe investments in technology have already increased productivity. Additionally, 60 percent of general counsel believe that technology will help improve the accuracy of the legal profession in the next three to five years.
Rpa Applications In Legal Firms For Contract Review And Due Diligence
One side of the argument paints a bleak picture of a hellish useless robot. As the landmark legal journal article “Lola v. Skadden and the Automation of the Legal Profession,” in the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, states: “Technological innovation has accelerated at a tremendous rate in recent decades, ushering in an era of unprecedented advancements in algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies. … [T]o survive the rise of technology in the legal field, lawyers will have to adapt to the new ‘law practice’.
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First, there are rules-based processes that mimic human actions (like the workflows described earlier) that automate repetitive tasks like accounts payable and event-based processes like customer onboarding.
Second, there is cognitive automation, which interprets meaning in context using machine learning technology and natural language algorithms to segment and extract meaning from poorly structured and unstructured content.
Finally, there is artificial intelligence (AI), which is a truly new frontier that models human intelligence to improve legal decision-making processes such as dispute resolution. As noted in the ABA Journal article, “How Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming the Legal Profession”: “Artificial intelligence is changing the way lawyers think, the way they do business, and the way they communicate with clients. Artificial intelligence is more than just legal technology. He is the next great hope to revolutionize the legal profession.”
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Let’s start with something basic: the customer login form. Every law firm has to do this, and it seems easy, right? But, even so, it is a tedious and error-prone process.
Your first step should be to digitize all incoming customer-related documents and forms. Using OCR technology, you can turn documents into business value by capturing and validating information in any format once that information enters your business, converting that information into a machine-readable format. Fortunately, there are RPA programs that can do just that, building on the workflows you already use to extract information from your forms and into your applications. Or, alternatively, these RPA systems can build forms for you as extensions of those systems, so you can automatically enter that data into them.
Once documents have been converted to machine-readable text, they can then be converted to searchable PDF. Information such as customer-related metadata can then be extracted from these documents, which can be incorporated into your issue management system, and you can apply business rules related to your work product. Converting your PDF files into searchable documents ensures that you can quickly find documents in your content collections.
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In addition, with searchable PDF files you can edit parts of documents that may be sensitive in nature or may contain personally identifiable information before sharing them internally or externally. In most cases sensitive data is clearly visible within the document, but sometimes such data may also be “hidden” in metadata, attachments and comments. Instead of going through all these places manually and editing or extracting sensitive information each piece, with the right software tools it can be removed quickly and easily. This way you can “enjoy” PDF documents by removing hidden data with just a few clicks.
In addition, searchable PDF files are very useful during litigation, when documents are collected and reviewed by attorneys before presenting them to opposing counsel during the discovery process. The ability to perform text searches to identify potentially responsive documents is essential. If not done properly, opposing counsel may challenge the process used to identify the documents provided to them, which could result in potential delays, fines, or the possible loss of the case.
But why are you standing there? What if you could use RPA systems that go through all the old customer purchase forms, getting not only information but meaning from their words? You can create a database of all your customer stories to fill in, verify or modify the fields of all your operating systems. You can market to these customers. You can analyze trends, such as finding out where your customers come from the most, to make this marketing more effective. You can determine which clients and cases are likely to be the most profitable—and which are likely to give you a hard time on your accounts—before you agree to represent them.
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Assessing the financial risk for law firms by taking on new cases is a difficult and time-consuming task. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that 56 percent of a company’s customer-facing tasks, such as conflict management and customer credit checks, could be automated. “Instead of accountants and paralegals searching for sources, data can be found, automatically aggregated and fed into the appropriate risk register robots. Associates or their financial auditors will have more time to assess risk at the client and transaction level. It also makes the law firm more independent, saving the cost and effort of communicating with counsel.”
A recent Deloitte survey found that 91 percent of financial managers surveyed consider accounts payable automation a top priority. Although accounts automation technology is at a mature stage, only 23 percent of companies surveyed have used direct, contactless vendor invoice processing. Also, according to Ardent Partners, invoice processing costs can be up to $13.47 per invoice and can take up to 11.4 days to process.
Additionally, incoming invoices are often irregular, arriving in multiple formats and channels, including paper, fax, email with PDF attachments, and electronic data interchange. Automating the acquisition of invoices through the use of intelligent capture technology, which automates invoicing and sends data to the enterprise resource planning system, has been shown to reduce operational costs by 32 percent.
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What about the charge? Like accounts payable, it’s often a labor-intensive process that can be easily automated. Using RPA, the ‘bot’ will work automatically without human intervention to prepare and generate invoices in your case management system, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in labor costs, improved cash flow and visibility of operating expenses.
Compliance testing is another area where RPA can deliver significant efficiency improvements and help your business reduce legal risk. For example, certain bots may be created to search external databases and data sources, extract relevant information, and generate a suspicious activity report that can alert your business to potential risks.
How much time do you spend on regular customer contact? RPA can also be used to perform the most repetitive tasks of your customer books. For example, by creating a customer portal, documents can be changed more effectively. when documents are received or sent, an automatic verification is sent which may include checking the documents and, in case of lost documents, notifying the sender to transfer the required documents. Documents found and/or changed may be automatically profiled in your case management systems with the necessary metadata added for traceability and chain of custody.
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Finally, there is a new frontier in the evolving nature of the legal profession: the use of artificial intelligence to automate what is universally recognized as the most tedious and repetitive contract analysis. We should probably start with the most critical pain points facing lawyers with the increasing pressures of managing an ever-growing caseload of managing commercial deals, M&A transactions and compliance obligations.
With the proliferation of digital content, the first step in any contract analysis project is to find all the contracts found on local drives, shared drives, SharePoint sites, and even email servers (because many are left as email attachments). Once you have received all the contracts—which, even in some of the most well-organized organizations, can take days—the next step is to determine which ones are actually valid and the volume of agreements, supplements, addenda, purchase orders, and so on.
The next step is to start working on the contract language. This should be easy if that language appears in your standard contracts, assuming those contracts are standard. Unfortunately, they often don’t and instead have inconsistent names, inconsistent or non-existent metadata tags, not to mention the lack of synchronized subsection libraries or books. Yes, by definition
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