Legal Technology

Axiom adds machine learning to contract review

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The global legal services provider Axiom will take a deeper dive into artificial intelligence as a way to better understand contract language.

On Aug. 2, Axiom announced that it would incorporate AI software in its merger and acquisition reviews with clients.

“We expect our enhanced M&A offering to be live within the next few weeks,” Paul Carr, Axiom president, says in an email. Axiom contracts with corporations for research in an array of legal issues, including compliance, trading agreements and patents. Axiom has been testing and tweaking artificial intelligence tools from vendors for the past four years, and it will be implementing software from Toronto-based Kira Systems.

“We will embed Kira’s tool to extract relevant clauses and metadata fields to allow our attorneys to interpret and structure the contract data,” Carr says.

Due diligence in a merger often includes a search of existing contracts for change-of-control clauses or restrictive covenants. While automated systems will scan contracts for trigger phrases related to termination or payment, machine learning can adjust on the fly to compensate for poor scans or unusual phrasing.

Contract review is the first application in which AI produces reliable results, Carr says.

“We make this decision based on the level of maturity—and therefore consistency of performance—of the technology to a specific use case,” Carr says. The technology may be extended to areas such as regulatory response or clinical trial agreements.

Axiom CEO Elena Donio said in the announcement that improving AI tools “will represent a step function in the delivery of client value.”

Kira recently launched training and certification for professional service firms including Axiom, Cognia Law and Deloitte.

In a blog post, Kira claims the average company’s number of contracts has increased 20 percent in five years, and that contracts have grown in complexity. Technology both speeds and simplifies the risk assessment process, the company says.

Contract review is a robust target of legal-tech software startups, including Beagle, eBrevia, Exari, LawGeex, Legal Robot, Luminance and ThoughtRiver.

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