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The effect AI has had on legal operations cannot be overlooked. Under pressure from leadership and from a challenging market, many legal operations experts are trying to grasp what AI can do for their organization and build it into their business structures. While AI does have substantial benefits, it will need to work for your organization’s specific goals.

Spaulding Ridge bandmates sat down with Legal Operations Leader, Steven Critzer to discuss the impact AI has had on the legal and contract management field.

Spaulding Ridge: Thanks for joining us, Steven! First off, what roadblocks do you usually see companies come across regarding contract management?

Steven Critzer: Unfortunately, outdated solutions for contract management have left many companies today struggling to succeed. With manual, cumbersome and disjointed contracting processes, many of my colleagues are wasting time and energy in a process that should be simple. Not to mention the human error component when doing things manually.

Spaulding Ridge: That must be frustrating.

Critzer: 100%. Organizations manually review document after document, and it only leads to wasted time and mistakes. It’s not the reviewers’ fault–people just miss details sometimes, especially on the fifth contract of the day. I mean, we’re all human, right?

Spaulding Ridge: Oh absolutely. But of course, there’s a solution?

Critzer: AI is automating and simplifying a lot of the manual work I just talked about, especially when it comes to searching contracts. Companies are finding that large language models can query huge volumes of contracts to find and extract necessary information and then deliver the information to personnel who want to use the data. This automates the tedious tasks, giving people time to focus on their main priorities, and it eliminates opportunities for mistakes. Time is saved, teams are aligned and happy, and everything flows seamlessly.

Spaulding Ridge: One question about using AI. Most people have heard about the cool new developments in this space, but they also know that this is new tech. How would you recommend companies think about using it?

Critzer: First, the AI model should act as a first pass of review, accelerating the process even if you spend some time manually checking its work later. You can say “yeah that looks right” or “we should check that” based on what the AI spits out and flag any discrepancies.

Second, the level of efficiency with human reviewers just doesn’t compare with what AI can accomplish. If analyzing five contracts an hour is considered slow and analyzing ten contracts an hour is considered fast, what do you call analyzing a thousand contracts in ten minutes? The outcome pretty much speaks for itself.

And then, last of all, people too often expect AI to be perfect, and it’s not. It just needs to make fewer mistakes than a person would doing the same job. AI can act as an extension of the worker, helping people use their time effectively.

Spaulding Ridge: That makes sense! Now, once we have the technical problems solved, we need to think about people. With so many people, departments, and parties that are involved in contracting at times, how can AI bring it all together?

Critzer: Bringing everything together starts with value – with finding ways AI can help reduce costs or boost revenue. Maybe teams are trying to understand who to contact about late fees if customers are late on payments, or someone is trying to understand how a new regulation will affect their relationships with their clients. Whatever the case may be, AI can automatically find contractual clauses and other necessary documents that apply to specific use cases. Quick and easy.

Spaulding Ridge: That sounds like a game-changer. How can an organization take the first step in using AI? Any recommendations?

Critzer: It’s much simpler than you’d expect! Spaulding Ridge assists companies using DocuSign Insight, a best-in-market AI tool which slots right into the DocuSign CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) ecosystem. If you are currently using DocuSign CLM, adding AI couldn’t be simpler. With a centralized contract repository, risk analysis, improved reporting, and even automated workflow decision-making, this combination is unmatched in the contracting world. Insight can also be used as a stand-alone solution if the company isn’t currently using a CLM tool.

Our approach to delivering DocuSign Insight is to work closely with all parties who will use the system, really understand the outcomes they’re trying to achieve, and then deliver a system that’s tailored to their needs.

When DocuSign Insight is fully up and running, it lets the whole company understand more about their contracts and extract usable data. It leads to better solutions across the board, not to mention the valuable time and effort it can save on the more mundane data extraction tasks.

Spaulding Ridge: It sounds like an exciting moment for companies interested in AI. And that wraps up all the questions I had today. Thank you so much again Steven for joining us!

Critzer: My pleasure!

In our new age of AI, it’s time for legal ops experts to drive positive results for their businesses. If you’re curious about how you can get the power of AI in your contract lifecycle management system, connect with our DocuSign Insight experts to start your journey.

Steven Critzer
Delivery Manager, Legal Operations, Spaulding Ridge
About the Author

Legal operations leader with 10+ years of experience, Critzer brings a wealth of knowledge to the Spaulding Ridge team looking to drive immediate legal solutions to clients. As Delivery Manager, Critzer specializes in AI models available within DocuSign Insight platform to find and extract pertinent information, along with integrating DocuSign CLM with Insight.