Big Data and Law: 3 tools for the use of data with contracts

At dataitlaw, we have already addressed the use of data in law. The article described companies, using data for cases outcome prediction, costs evaluation, legal e-discovery or evidence in court (and many more).

This article develops the previous one, with an introduction of further possibilities of the use of data in connection with contracts.


Information extraction

Some companies are trying to develop tools, which enable an analysis of contracts in an easier way. For example, Noah Waisberg, in his speech at Reintventlaw, describes, how his tool can, with a decent level of accuracy, find information in thousands of contracts. While he is talking about the product, a law student is standing on the stage. Waisberg notes that unless the law firm used some type of contract automation tool, it would be the law student’s job to perform these duties manually in next few years. However, he argues that his tool is faster and more accurate.


Contract analysis

Data can be used to compare your contract with standard content of similar contracts, used in legal practice. Kingsley Martin is one of the most prominent proponents of the use of machine learning ideas in contract analysis. His approach is based on an assumption that the algorithm does not necessarily need to understand the contract itself. Based on an analysis of many contracts collected by Martin, the algorithm learns the standard provisions of a certain type of contract and compares them with an analysed contract. By doing this, the tool enable the user to see, which parts of the contract are standard in the similar type of contracts and which are unique. Martin had also developed a database of standard contracts.


Contract implementation

Finally, in the video from FutureLaw conference 2013, Ajay Agrawal describes another use of data in legal practice. According to Agrawal, the biggest challenge with contract automation is its implementation in the real life of the company. He asks how to make sure that all contract provisions and requirements are met. Therefore, his tool focuses on creating a connection between contract provisions and other operational data of the company. The goal is an ability to analyze, which clauses are hard to perform and to control the deployment of the contract in a specific company.



These are just some ideas, which have been developed in last few years. Data can help at several stages of the life of a contract, from its creation and negotiation, to its analysis and eventually, its implementation. However, lists of startup companies contain many legal startups, focusing on various aspects of contracts. Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect further increase in the ways, how to use data for contracts.

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