In this episode, I was delighted to speak to a legal tech superstar, Jim Wagner, who has been innovating in the sector for 20 years. Having trained in law, Jim practised as a lawyer for ten years before transitioning to the business side of things.
Jim tells us about his journey into Seal (now part of DocuSign Agreement Cloud), and how AI and machine learning are really beginning to transform aspects of the in-house lawyer’s ability to do their roles, particularly in relation to analysing corporate contracts.
When Jim became aware of Seal, it was focused exclusively on the corporate market – so Jim and his team created accelerators – collections of AI models that solve for things like procurement and compliance, or ISDA or NDAs.
Even though companies like Seal have been doing this now for 10 years, the reality is that Artificial Intelligence is still on a maturity curve and there’s a lot of room left on that curve.
Jim describes certain aspects of AI, take mergers and acquisitions, where there are mature AI models out there for identifying change and control or identifying assignment rights and those sorts of things.
But once you start getting into larger, more complex agreements, master service agreements, master hosting agreements, licensing agreements, data processing adenda, et cetera, delivering AI value across those complex agreements is going to be a journey.
Jim encourages his clients to think of AI as ‘a tremendous assist’. He argues why on earth would you undertake the analysis or review of an agreement without having that assist?
“Because we’re going to read so many critical parts of the document, and candidly, we’re going to unearth a lot more with AI than might meet the human eye. And so, there’s a huge, huge assist that’s available.”
Jim teaches a class where he went to law school. He still stays involved in that community. And a big part of what he talks about with his students is ethics. Ten years ago they’d probably have considered what are the ethical implications if you use AI? And now they turn the debate on its head and say, “what are the ethical implications from not using AI?”.
He goes on to say: “We know you use spellcheck. We know you use red line. We know you want to have searchable text, right? You’re going to want to use AI?”.
Jim feels it no longer makes any sense to undertake the process without the AI, but you do need to recognise that it’s an assist. It’s not full automation, certainly not full replacement for human review, at least for reviewing an entire agreement end-to-end, word for word, on every single comma and period that’s there.
Tune in to hear more.