There is an opportunity for legal teams to create value by coupling sophisticated data technology with intelligent analysis.

If you’re in M&A, contract reviews are a part of life—a necessary part of doing a deal that isn’t exceptionally exciting, but is incredibly important. The insights revealed in contract analysis can have implications not just for the success of the deal, but also for supply chain, procurement, and other downstream business functions.

With so many parts of a business relying on critical information from these contracts, you would think this would have been an area of innovation over the last few years. But surprisingly, the uptake of innovative and efficiency-improving technology for contract reviews has been limited. This means that there is a huge opportunity for legal teams to create additional value by coupling more sophisticated technology with intelligent analysis.

Summaries and Simple Data Extraction Aren’t Enough

Traditionally, the end result of a contract review is a huge file with a summary of provisions, crafted to highlight only a limited review of pertinent information. These summaries have two major flaws. First, summaries don’t produce useful, intelligent data—just static, narrative-form text that requires a lawyer to interpret it. Second, summaries are usually written with a specific objective or the needs of a specific team in mind.

As such, the considerations and needs of another team might not be covered in the summary, which means contracts often have to be re-reviewed by numerous parties within an organization so each team can get the information they specifically need.

 This kind of rework, often thought of as unavoidable, is costly, inefficient and delays corporate transactions. It also inhibits the ability to achieve synergies, usually a big driver of the transaction in the first place. The combination of these two flaws is a huge problem for organizations in 2017, and a massive opportunity for the teams responsible for contract review to create immense value for their organization.

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