AI roundly beats lawyers on contract review in a fraction of the time

A challenge by an artifically intelligent contract review platform saw lawyers beaten by the machine.


A contract review platform has outperformed lawyers in a fraction of the time normally taken by lawyers. The study pitted 20 top corporate lawyers against the Law Geex AI platform to analyse the risks in non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The lawyers had decades of experience, specifically in reviewing NDAs and their legal and contract expertise was gained through work for a range of companies including Goldman Sachs, Cisco, Alston & Bird and K&L Gates. Both the lawyers and the LawGeex AI analysed five previously unseen contracts, containing 153 paragraphs of technical legal language, under controlled conditions precisely modelled on the way lawyers review and approve daily contracts. 

Highest performer

The highest performing lawyer in the study achieved 94 per cent accuracy - matching the AI - while the lowest performing lawyer achieved an average 67 per cent accuracy. The challenge took the LawGeex AI 26 seconds to complete, compared to an average of 92 minutes for the lawyers. The longest time taken by a lawyer to complete the test was 156 minutes, and the shortest time was 51 minutes.  


The study was conducted  in consultation with law professors from Stanford University, Duke University School of Law and University of Southern California. Academic Gillian Hadfield believes the results show the potential impact on productivity. 'This experiment may actually understate the gain from AI in the legal profession. The lawyers who reviewed these documents were fully focused on the task: it didn't sink to the bottom of a to-do list, it didn't get rushed through while waiting for a plane or with one eye on the clock to get out the door to pick up the kids. The margin of efficiency is likely to be even greater than the results shown here.' She added that the research 'shows technology can help solve two problems - both making contract management faster and more reliable, and freeing up resources so legal departments can focus on building the quality of their human legal teams.' 

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