As a LegalTech SAAS software vendor, we spend a lot of time chatting with inhouse legal teams and general councils, follow them on social media, and attend legal conferences. In those conversations, there has been a consistent theme that we have heard among inhouse legal departments. They want the business to view them as strategic partner instead of a cost of doing business. This is often supported by stories where the business missed an opportunity where legal wasn’t involved.
For us at Clearlaw, these stories are reminiscent of tales we have heard from other departments. Marketing used to have to beg for money for a new email campaign system. IT organizations were treated skeptically when they wanted to purchase new software. Human Resources had to fight for money for their programs.
What changed? Marketing was able to tie their marketing performance to increases in sales. IT organizations were able to provide increases in efficiency that lowered costs. HR organizations were able to prove that reductions in turnover/increases in employee retention improved margins and productivity. What is the common thread in all of these stories? New tools were developed that empowered these business units with data.
At Clearlaw, we want to empower legal departments and businesses to digitally transform their inhouse legal operations. We view contracts and legal documents as data rich assets that can empower one’s business. They lower your legal risk, help maintain margins, and are sources of new revenue opportunities. But to get that value, legal teams need to access the data.
Admittedly, this is easier said than done. Legal documents are more complex than measuring the volume of clicks on a digital ad or counting the volume of resignations. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Entirely different wording can mean the same thing, while the addition of a single word can drastically change the function of a contractual clause. Third party paper means that every enterprise organization has documents that don’t follow their standard templates, making patterns across documents impossible to find.
This is what makes Clearlaw different. We built a robust Natural Language Processing (NLP) tool that transforms contracts into structured data, allowing our legal departments to extract and normalized data from all their contracts. This provides consistency, allowing legal departments to evaluate risk across their contractual landscape, evaluate trends, and quantify the value to the business. Furthermore, using Clearlaw Connect, our organization democratizes that data, allowing specific business data points to be provided to external tools, such as an accounting system or CRM. This allows legal data to be leveraged in real time to support an organization’s business activities.
It is our hope that with Clearlaw’s NLP technology, organizations will have the data to prove the value of corporate legal departments.