11 October 2022
Together, the Danish words ‘leg’ and ‘godt’ mean ‘play well’. When shortened they become the Latin term for ‘I put together’, according to some translations. If you haven’t guessed it yet, we’re talking about Lego, the toy building blocks loved by children (and more than a few parents) the world over.
Founded by carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen in the 1930s, the brand proposition evolved from fixed wooden toys to more than 400 billion moulded plastic bricks within a couple of decades.
Interestingly, Lego’s journey shares similarities with modern developments in legal documentation, thanks to advances in technology. The immutable wooden toy aeroplanes or boats of yesteryear are just like the outdated template-based contracts that soon look set to be replaced by a modular, data mining approach.
And with next generation approaches to digitisation, businesses can divert lawyers away from repetitive cut and paste contract design work towards more technical tasks, while instantly creating and gaining transparency in complex legal structures without necessarily needing to be an ‘expert’. It’s as close as one can get to child’s play in the grownup realm of law.
This revolutionary approach, pioneered by Likezero, is contract data mining and matching. So how does this work in practice and what are the benefits of being able to create and understand legal documents in almost the same way a child might construct a spaceship?
1_ Across many organisations, executed legally binding contracts are still stored in PDF format.
This means they are in effect fixed and unable to be broken down at clause level. To use a Lego analogy, if you disassembled an old-school toy aeroplane or boat, they could only be reassembled as the same object. But with Lego, it’s possible to completely dismantle the toy, or swap one or two different-coloured parts, to make something altogether or slightly different, depending on the need. This is what Likezero empowers businesses to do with contracts. The platform takes a legal document and breaks its various clauses into individual, fungible blocks, a bit like Lego.
2_ Individual clauses with their underlying context can be rapidly analysed across an entire contract’s inventory.
Crucially, as an approach, it enables the identification of and quick responses to risks across multiple contracts. Indeed, with Likezero gone are the days when lawyers had to spend days reviewing entire contracts in new business or market event scenarios.
3_ With data mining approaches, businesses can analyse commonality across historic documents, noting which blocks (clauses) are included across contracts, how often the clause appears and with which counterparts.
In fact, in many instances of contract law, lawyers are simply using identical clauses across multiple contracts. At Likezero, we’ve found that up to 95% of negotiated clauses are exact matches of language used in other contracts. It doesn’t make business sense to use fine legal brains for such repetitive tasks – not when software exists to automate contract creation. This way, subject matter legal experts are freed to focus on more technical aspects of contracts, strategic compliance and risk – and ultimately deliver better value, not to mention more lucrative deals.
4_ Our data mining approach is agnostic of document type and language.
Just as today’s children can build whatever their imagination permits with Lego. On top of this, our modern data processing technology is unfazed by contract complexity. As with Lego, it can be used without any specific expertise.
Just as it’s possible to create more than 100 million configurations with a mere six unique Lego blocks, Likezero can hold upwards of a million legal clauses in a client’s clause library within one single implementation… Now that’s a powerful playbook!