25 January 2018

Harvard law students develop AI contract search engine

Four Harvard law students have developed a legal search engine tool, described as 'Google for legal contracts'.

TierneyMJ

Harvard law students have developed a new search engine to harness cloud storage and artificial intelligence in a move to revolutionise the way lawyers deal with contracts and transactional work. Co-founder and CEO Jerry Ting came up with the idea as an undergraduate and Evisort, described as the Google for legal contracts, was developed over the past two years. Currently in its first round of fundraising, Evisort has been demonstrated to around 100 Harvard Law School alumni and around 200 general counsel. 

Searchable text

Evisort converts scanned documents to searchable text and uses artificial intelligence to sort through all the contracts. It categorises them by subject area and type of contract. It also identifies provisions within each contract and extracts  key data such as party names, dates and  the size of the deal.

Lower costs 

By tapping into the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to review agreements, Evisort has potential to lower costs without sacrificing accuracy and precision, Christopher Bavitz, WilmerHale Clinical Professor of Law and Managing Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said of the software.

Natural-language processing

He pointed out that there are great opportunities to identify and exploit efficiencies in how lawyers serve clients and how companies manage information relevant to their legal and compliance obligations, particularly reviewing provisions in contracts, which, he says, is 'a common legal function that is tailor-made for natural-language processing.'

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