Law firm-incubated business launches AI contract review tech “60 times faster than paralegals”


Pullan: product selects which contracts need further review

A contract review technology company incubated by Cambridge-based law firm Taylor Vinters today launched an artificial intelligent (AI) product that it claims is on average 60 times faster and 30% cheaper than traditional paralegals.

ThoughtRiver, which in May raised more than $1m (£736,000) in a funding round which was over-subscribed within 11 days, has trialled the product, Review, with in-house legal departments, including BT, and law firm Eversheds Sutherlands.

Review is based on a ‘contextual interpretation engine’ known as Fathom, which uses AI to analyse legal text and produce a risk rating to allow users to prioritise areas of a contract that require further review or amendment.

Its publicity material said: “The use of natural language processing helps to assess risk levels in elements of a legal document… The platform incorporates machine learning capabilities that enable it to learn from the risk judgements of legal professionals and generates an institutional ‘memory’.”

Founded in 2013 by former Taylor Vinters partner Tim Pullan, ThoughtRiver has headquarters in London.

Mr Pullan said: “A typical large organisation can have more than 100,000 live contracts across its suppliers, contractors and partner networks. It is impossible for any legal team or chief executive to have a complete bird’s eye view of the current state of play when it comes to contracts.

“The harsh reality is that an organisation only realises that there’s a problem with a contract when something goes wrong. Our system allows a rapid and accurate assessment of contracts a company is processing and it quickly identifies which ones may need further review.”

He added that in-house legal teams would be “better placed to assess every contract that passes through their organisation without reading each one and prioritise their workloads to issues that most require their legal expertise”.

The platform has been built to remove confidential information to ensure contracts comply with EU and UK privacy law.

Mr Pullan said: “Many companies will be scratching their heads about the cost and timescale of complying with the stringent new privacy measures. Our contract review capability radically speeds up and reduces the cost and manual labour involved with compliance programmes.”

The calculation of money saved by Review was based in part on one hour of billable paralegal time of £75 to review a six-to-eight page contract.

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