More backing for AI contract drafting start-up

Neuberger: Adviser to Genie AI

An artificial intelligence (AI) start-up whose contract-writing assistant draws on a law firm’s own body of data and teaches itself without the need for training by lawyers, has received a further £1.2m in seed funding.

The investment brings the total Genie AI has had injected recently to £2m. Its SuperDrafter flagship product is currently being piloted by major law firms Clifford Chance, Withers and Pinsent Masons – which hopes eventually to roll out the product across the practice.

Genie claimed its software would “democratise legal knowledge”, with data-driven contracts that would benefit lawyers and clients.

The company is about as well connected as it is possible to be, with former Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger an advisor, and backing from the Barclays Eagle Labs lawtech accelerator and University College, London’s innovation and enterprise unit.

The latest funding follows a grant of £800,000 by the government’s Research and Innovation initiative.

The new money will partly be used to help Genie develop a second product currently in the pipeline, Anonymiser, which it said “automatically redacts confidential information from contracts” to comply with GDPR.

Devised by two former post-graduates studying machine learning computing and natural language processing, a key feature of SuperDrafter is that a neural network-based algorithm can read through a law firm’s document database, digesting how contracts have been drafted in the past without having to be painstakingly ‘trained’ by lawyers.

Explaining further, Genie said it “assists lawyers with the collective intelligence of the firm… [and] recommends clauses during contract drafting, negotiation and review”.

It continued: “It works similarly to Google Docs or Microsoft Word, but instead of giving grammar suggestions, it provides users with clause alternatives to improve their contract drafting efficiency.”

Genie co-founder Rafie Faruq said: “Lawyers always tell us they spend hours trawling through emails and file systems for that clause they wrote on that one deal; SuperDrafter shows this automatically…

“That means a superior client service for law firms, and better commercial outcomes for in-house teams.”

Pinsent Masons partner Lucy Sherwood said Genie would help the firm to “add an element of assessment in understanding whether a particular contractual provision is drafted according to, short of or goes beyond market practice, and ultimately whether provisions meet, exceed or fall short of particular client standards based on their preferences and documentation standards.

“This would provide invaluable insight for us and our clients and give us information that we would otherwise have to manually-review.”

She added: “At present, AI tools for document review focus primarily on identifying, extracting and classifying relevant data from legal documents – assessment is still largely undertaken by lawyers.

“We see assessment as the next big step in AI contract review.”

Withers innovation manager Dr Phil Lindan said: “SuperDrafter is a great concept aimed at the most fundamental legal task of recording in words what has been agreed… [and] learns from the skill and expertise embedded in those words to be able to recommend clauses in a new working document.”

Pietro Bezza, general partner at Connect Ventures, which organised the seed round, said: “I believe Genie AI will radically impact the way lawyers work. It saves them time and augments their insights by leveraging collective data. They love it.

“The legal industry is ripe for change and the founders’ vision will transform the contract category.”

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