About the author, Derek Stegelmeier
Derek Stegelmeier is an American attorney, licensed in New York, who works for Legal Outsourcing 2.0, LLC and works out of their office in India. Derek previously was employed as a staff attorney by Jenner & Block and Millbank Tweed working in the litigation and e-discovery project management area. This column offers a look at how the cutting-edge tools in legal technology are being used “in the trenches”.
When I moved to India to work at an LPO (Legal Process Outsourcing) company at the beginning of the year the thing that struck me most was the way technology permeated every aspect of our work. Having worked at several Am Law 100 firms in Manhattan over the past several years I had come to believe that the legal technology available peaked at the use of cloud-based documents and basic review platforms. I had never seen any of these large law firms use the amount of legal AI solutions I found here.
Whenever we had a large review at the large firms, even one that we were managing, we would only run a straight document review where everyone reviews one document at a time and you manually keep track of errors. Even when sampling work to double check we would often randomly pull documents ourselves to check without relying on any technological solution. There just wasn’t a sense of innovation or a drive to find new ways to use tech to improve accuracy or efficiency.
Working at the LPO has really opened my eyes to what technologies exist and the huge variety of them. We even have a dedicated team that only focuses on technological innovations.
This helps improve every process, from keeping track of metrics and errors to making sure we don’t miss a single important document. Working in-house at two separate large law firms, as well as on contract for countless others made me aware of the different legal technologies, but I had never really seen them in action until now.
The first chance I had to really integrate this tech focused process in India was on contract extraction.
We implement tools to be able to pull and suggest the most relevant information from a contract. It makes it so that instead of reviewing every line we can pinpoint the important parts and create a quick and easy way for clients to see all their contracts at a glance.
The traditional way of reviewing contracts was to manually read every line. This method took untold amounts of hours and involvement. This is a major reason why many companies now find themselves without a good handle on all of their contracts. That approach is the same as it would have been done 100 years ago.
Fortunately, using AI-enabled tools permits the process to be done much more rapidly and less expensively.
The work still needs to be performed by people, but what used to take 15-20 minutes can now be done in 5-10 minutes. The tool we use is Contract Sifter, a tool created by Legal AI company, Legal Sifter.
The way the tool works is a contract is loaded into the system. It is OCRed so that it can be “read” by the computer program. When you chose a field that you want to populate, you click on a box with the name of the field and the program applies the appropriate algorithm and makes suggestions as to the correct information. We can cut and paste, or type in, or click on a drop down to enter the information into the field. There is still an evaluation that needs to be performed about whether the suggestions are correct. However, with the OCR the process is much quicker and more reliable.
There are many more forms of technology we are using at the LPO that I would like to go into detail about, including document review AI, process and workflow technology and contract technology.
I will talk about my experiences with each of these in upcoming articles since we see the benefit of sharing our experiences in the community as a whole. Together, we learn from one another and we move things forward for all.