If any profession is synonymous with reviewing hundreds of documents and reams of contracts, it’s the legal profession.
Even a small engagement can mean gathering and analysing thousands of pages, which is incredibly time consuming. So, when BT asked us to analyse and standardise its contracts across 14 European Union entities in just two weeks, we knew that it was time to use artificial intelligence (AI).
As part of an ongoing transformation programme, BT’s in-house legal team needed to consolidate all its European operations into a new hub in the Netherlands – and needed a solution that would enable fast and accurate analysis of 4,500 documents to identify key risks and categorise each one.
As Emily Foges, partner and head of legal managed services at Deloitte Legal explains: “Without AI, this would have been an impossible task with the resources we had and within the time frame.”
“AI and machine learning are really well suited to law as they are technologies that look to historical examples in order to apply rules for new situations. So we were confident that this – combined with human judgment in the right places - could deliver time savings and enable a more efficient project.”
Logic and learning
Collaborating with the BT team, we agreed a way forward. The plan was to use AI to map and allocate documents for review, helping the lawyers to navigate the database so that they could identify the relevant clauses and categorise what needed to be carried out by the in-house BT team.
“The platform enabled us to identify the different geographies within the volume of contracts,” said Emily. “The team then categorised the contracts to distinguish which ones required remediation as part of the re-structure and which ones didn’t.”
Tech that fits
“There is sometimes reticence in the legal profession when it comes to adopting new technology,” said Deloitte’s head of commercial for legal managed services Laura Bygrave.
“Combining our skills with AI is reframing what is possible. We’re always looking to make the best use of technology, to offer our clients the best service we can in terms of accuracy and value.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. We analyse each job’s requirements before deciding which tech to use, and we’re open to using new platforms to ensure we are using the best tools for the task at hand.”
On top of the main objective Deloitte Legal has unexpectedly filled a huge gap for us. Now we know where everything is. The final deliverable is very clear and engaging, it demonstrates to leadership how seriously we have taken this.
Head of legal at BT Benelux, France and Nordics
The results speak for themselves
In comparison to a manual document review, using AI helped the team achieve a 50 per cent time saving, while also delivering a more exhaustive review of the documents than would otherwise have been possible within the time and resource constraints.
The findings of the review were delivered in the form of a report that allowed the BT in-house lawyers to see the key data that was in the contracts in an easy and accessible way.
In just a few clicks, BT’s in-house legal team can access a dashboard that provides visibility of their risk profile, improving the team’s ability to make informed future decisions.
“The overview of all the contracts in the AI dashboard was incredibly useful – I can see us utilising this in-house in the future,” said Marit Cremers-Wit, senior legal counsel for governance and compliance for BT.
“You don’t have to be frightened of technology,” Emily concluded. “Sometimes it can achieve things that would have otherwise been unthinkable. BT can rely on the outcome of the review not just for the set-up of the Netherlands hub but also to make better-informed decisions when it comes to its future.”