WEBINAR: Turbocharging Legal Contract Transformation in the Age of Generative AI

3 Tips for Building Confidence in Generative AI in the Legal Department

Insights from the Law Department Operations survey

By Kami Paulson, Deloitte and Bernadette Bulacan, Icertis

The speed at which Generative AI is transforming in-house legal operations is astounding.

According to the latest Law Department Operations survey, conducted by Blickstein Group and sponsored by Deloitte Tax LLP and Icertis, 19% of corporate legal departments are already using Generative AI for some pre-execution contract management tasks. And if they’re not using Generative AI already, they will: 85% believe most law departments will be using generative AI substantially in the next three years. 

Legal operations teams clearly have a strong interest in making Generative AI work: 70% of those surveyed say Generative AI will allow their teams to do more with less and drive down reliance on outside counsel—this aligns to what remains the top reported objective of legal operations: cost containment.

These numbers might leave the impression that corporate legal teams are on a glide path to more efficient operations thanks to the deployment of Generative AI.

But dig a bit deeper and the picture gets more complicated.

For example, while the majority of legal ops respondents to the survey are bullish on how Generative AI will impact their operations, as of last 2023 they report middling satisfaction with its effectiveness (specifically, a 4.9 on an effectiveness scale of 1-10). It’s still in the early stages, but most survey respondents also report only moderate comfort levels with Generative AI technology. 

All of this would suggest that while Generative AI is all but sure to impact legal departments, a critical piece to getting value out from it will be change management; that is, making sure everyone in the legal department understands how it works, why they should use it, and how. And that change management will need to start within legal ops itself.

Change management, per se, is nothing new to legal ops. In this year’s survey, 57% agreed with the statement, “My job is primarily change management.”

But it can be difficult to execute if you yourself aren’t familiar or comfortable with the technology. 

Here are three tips for turbocharging legal contract transformation in the age of Generative AI:

1. Make sure you have clean data to feed the AI

Recently, a legal operations director described to Icertis the early success his team was having applying AI to contract data. While he acknowledged the amazing power of Generative AI itself, he also credited the clean contract data they had to apply to it. “Where we’ve found the most success with AI is where we’ve had real digital transformation occur with standardized processes that yield standard, structured data outputs.”

It will be critical for legal operations to think strategically about what data in their department, legal or otherwise, they want to apply AI to ensure it returns results that gain trust of users.

2. Pilot valuable use cases

The best learning is often experiential. No matter your comfort level today with Generative AI, getting in and using the technology can be the best way to get more confident and spark ideas of where value lies. Don’t try to boil the ocean and inject Generative AI into every contracting process and use case. Instead, start with a few contained pilots that build confidence and credibility with your legal teams. 

For example, how many standard NDAs do your legal professionals review? What if AI could review them instead, and flag for review only those that are missing the standard company language? You might turn AI skeptics into AI champions when lawyers realize they have AI take care of the drudgery of reviewing standard legal text over and over again without fear of putting the company at unnecessary legal risk.

3. Consider bringing in a third party

More than half of legal departments surveyed (55%) use outsourcing providers such as the Big 4 or ALSPs, according to the survey.

Leaning on external knowledge in Generative AI and legal can be a great accelerant for getting value from the technology. 

Deloitte, for example, has a mature contract lifecycle management (CLM) practice and provides resources designed to help legal functions navigate the risks, challenges, and opportunities that Generative AI may present. Deloitte also brings a strong point of view on implementation strategy, which helps clients design a leading class, integrated CLM system. There are many considerations when implementing CLM software for the enterprise and bringing in a trusted advisor to help drive outcomes is valuable.

Final thoughts

Generative AI will no doubt have an impact on how corporate legal teams work. But the degree of that impact will be determined by how much legal professionals trust generative AI models to deliver accurate, value outputs.

By focusing on clean contract data, targeted use cases, and additional skill sets where gaps exist internally, legal operations leaders can set their departments up for success.

For more insights, be sure to tune into our webinar Turbocharging Legal Contract Transformation in the Age of Generative AI.