Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Will you be replaced by a robot? or a computer program?

Lawyers are often asked by clients to review contracts prepared by others.  However, because this type of task is something for which you don't need a law degree, someone has come up with the idea to create a computer program to do it.

Enter "Legal Sifter", the computer program that aims to take your job as a contract analyst. The computer program is designed to "eyeball a contract, much in the same way that an experienced lawyer might if asked by a fellow attorney or a friend to have a quick look."  It scans documents and assigns them a score based on how favorable the terms are for the user. It also provides users with an explanation of the clauses and provisions in the document and suggests potential changes to provisions that are probably not in the user’s best interest.  Sounds promising, but will it displace lawyers?  I don't think so.  The program appears to offer some benefits for some users, but the complexity of many of the types of contracts lawyers are often asked to review is probably beyond its capabilities.  Computer code is no match for professional experience when it comes to complex legal issues and transactions.

Over at My, Carolyn Elefant discusses the issue in more detail.