Eleven and a Half Years

IN AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED on TR’s Legal Executive Institute Network, “Moving from Literary Prose to Machine Code,” Kingsley Martin discusses “Auditable Contracts” (i.e., those “capable of computer analysis to assess their principal characteristics.” See ow.ly/FQ4U303L6PL.)

 “Of course, you can hear a loud chorus of lawyers saying: why should we draft in a manner that makes the agreement more amenable to computer analysis?” In part, because “drafting and reviewing individual agreements can be made more efficient and produce higher quality agreements through the use of automation tools and contract standards. … Where, for example, an organization seeks to review 100,000 contracts, each document requiring one hour of expert review, the review will take 11½ years of attorney time to complete. A computer performing the same task in 5 seconds per contract would require just five days.”

How can you argue with those numbers; surely cutting the duration of legal matters from years down to days is in the clients’ interest. Future advancements in computer cognition seem daunting and limitless. We’re not going to need as many lawyers drafting contracts as we used to. But surely humans, and therefore companies, will always have business and relationship challenges. And therefore the question becomes, how will we train future lawyers to set aside their fear of redundancy and work instead on developing ways to serve their clients’ overall legal needs as they too are facing disruptors from all sides?