Data gives us the opportunity to be proactive in litigation, reducing costs, speeding up resolutions, and improving outcomes. But first, we need a strategy.


My name is Jennifer Buser, Anusia Gillespie’s colleague.  For those of you expecting Anusia, she’s at home in Miami enjoying maternity leave with her spouse and newborn son, Raphael Brye Gillespie. Although Anusia is a true pro with columns drafted far in advance, she thought it was important to model good work-life boundaries.

In addition to being happy for Anusia, I am pleased and honored to be her substitute columnist for this month’s edition of NewLaw Fundamentals.
Continue Reading Digital Litigation: Solving a C-Suite pain point (283)


Putting complex and often intimidating topics into context.


Chapter 8, Technology

No discussion on contracting process improvements is complete without focusing on technology. Scarcely a day goes by without an article, blog, or webinar on legal technology and, more specifically, about artificial intelligence (AI). There are many conferences and webinars about contract management systems—on selecting them, on what to use them for, how to derive greatest benefit, etc. Usually, those educational programs are provided or delivered by the contract management systems providers.

Technology is always at the core of any discussion about innovation, for example, but I maintain it should not be. Before any conversation about technology takes place, there should be an assessment of the current state of the people and processes involved in contracting, which is why this chapter follows my previous chapters on People and Process. Only after a thorough review takes place, and there is agreement within the organization that the right people are doing the right steps in the best order, should a discussion about technology begin.
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part IV: Technology, Metrics & Data, and Outsourcing (272)


The hard work that comes before any discussion of technology


Chapter 5, Playbooks

The need for creating playbooks for templated contracts is a subject of much discussion. This is because playbooks are one of the ways in which contracting is simplified. But they can take many forms. Luckily, distinguishing and differentiating between the necessary types of playbooks is possible without creating too much complexity. Not only are they used to create standardization across a law department, but they also empower the business.

Playbooks educate, create consistency, and are an absolute requirement for any type of outsourcing contract review. I submit for your consideration that there are two basic types of playbooks: The Law Department Playbook and the Empowerment Guide.
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part III: Playbooks, People, and Process (271)

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“Contracts are the lifeline of the company, so it’s no wonder it is an ongoing cycle.”


Chapter 2, What is CLM?

The term contract lifecycle management (CLM) is a hotly discussed topic in legal operations and legal technology circles. It is important to dissect the concept and understand what precisely I am referring to, especially in trying to tackle and improve the contracting lifecycle.
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part II: What is CLM?, Legal Policy Review, Templates (270)


Hal, Val, and the lawyer governance problem that’s hindering AI in law


Oscar Reutersvärd is the “father of the impossible figure.”  Some of his impossible figures are captured on the Swedish stamps shown above.  The figures are, of course, quite possible — they’re just ink on paper.  But our brains turn quickly from seeing some shapes to the “realization” that they are “impossible” because the 3-D world our minds are trying to construct cannot exist.

Our powerful, broken minds

The problem is in our brains, of course.  Not only do humans use analogy and inference to build world models, as I discussed in the first two installments of this book review series on AI (Posts 232 and 237), we do it involuntarily.  (Part III of this four-part series is Post 250, which focused on opportunities and challenges of expert systems.)
Continue Reading My mind is just a broken machine: Part IV of book review series on AI in law (263)


Will expert systems disrupt the legal value chain?


In the first installment of this book review series on AI (Post 232), I argued that AI will not reduce employment in the legal sector, and in fact, the extensive deployment of AI tools might well increase total legal employment significantly. In the second installment (Post 237), I reviewed a children’s board book, considered weaponized ostriches, and concluded that AI tools are powerful complements to human lawyers but will not soon replace many – or perhaps any – of them.

In both pieces, the point is that AI – while very cool and very powerful – is also just a labor-saving device like anything else.  AI should extend the reach of legal services to a broader audience, and there is little to suggest that AI will reduce employment in the legal sector overall.

This is not to say that AI will leave the legal market’s very settled pecking orders undisturbed.  AI turns a service into a product, and that can have powerfully disruptive effects in an industry.
Continue Reading “My new Volvo is a Mazda”: Part III of book review series on AI in law (250)


An early example of where things are headed.


In Post 228, Paula Doyle, Chief Legal Innovation Officer at the World Commerce and Contracting Association (WorldCC), made the claim that inefficiencies in the current commercial contracting process likely cost the global economy more than $1 trillion annually. We reach this figure by adding up the massive second-order effects caused by excessive contract complexity and poor process:
Continue Reading Case study: impact of AI and Big Data on low-risk contract negotiations (236)