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A Guide To Using Legal AI Software Tools For In-House Teams

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have leaped beyond the pages of science fiction novels. These tools are long past simply being buzzy, new tech catchphrases. The tech behind large language models like ChatGPT, Amazon product recommendations, Google advertising services, and many more tools we use daily is here to stay.

Like the rest of the world, the legal industry is wrapping its arms around how this technology will change how they get work done.

The best legal AI software helps legal teams save time on low-complexity, repeatable work so they can focus on the challenging legal questions only humans can answer.

From automating legal bill review and vendor management to legal research, redlining, and drafting contracts, we’ll show you how to incorporate legal AI software for maximum impact on your legal department.

The Benefits Of Legal AI Software Tools

Legal AI software tools are transforming the landscape of legal operations. They significantly enhance in-house legal teams’ efficiency, accuracy, and strategic capabilities.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Artificial intelligence helps you automate time-consuming tasks, freeing your team to focus on complex, value-added activities.

AI ingests and analyzes immense amounts of data in moments. That ability means legal departments that embrace legal AI software tools now spend far less time managing contracts, trudging through the discovery process, analyzing legal spend, reviewing invoices, and researching past legal decisions.

Brightflag's Michael Dineen on how AI can automate invoice review and save attorneys time.

Improved Consistency

Legal departments minimize the human error inherent in tedious tasks like invoice review and data entry by automating tasks. For humans, this type of work requires a high degree of focus over many hours. AI can do the same job in seconds.

AI is also an effective tool for eliminating inconsistencies in how different legal professionals interpret information. For example, you can program AI systems to follow specific outside counsel guidelines. The tool then judges each invoice line item by the same criteria every time.

That consistency means your data is treated the exact same way across matters, firms, and practice areas.

Reduced Legal Spend

Automating routine tasks reduces the need for your in-house team or outside counsel to spend unnecessary time on repetitive tasks.

The best AI tools, especially in legal spend management, also provide insights into data. They do this by analyzing data about how your law firms resource their work, what areas of a matter they spend more time on than others, and which practice areas they excel at.

Based on that information, they help your in-house team see who provides the best value for your legal spend. Using those insights, you can strategically instruct work out to the most capable firms, leading to better quality legal work at a lower cost.

Legal AI software scales with your organization, so you can handle increasing volumes of work without the need to increase staff proportionally.

What To Consider When Integrating Legal AI Software Into Your Workflow

To find the best use for AI in your legal department, identify high-volume, time-consuming, and manual tasks. These tasks are ripe for AI automation.

Look for software that has the proper functionality to automate those tasks. For contract analysis, you might need natural language processing that can understand what clauses have been used within each contract. You would look for machine learning if you wanted a system that could automatically classify your legal spend and automatically apply your outside counsel guidelines to every invoice.

As another example, legal teams looking to speed up invoice review should consider tools with optical character recognition (or OCR) that can automatically turn PDFs into machine-readable data.

If your legal AI tool has the right features, the next step is to ensure it seamlessly integrates with your existing legal tech stack. Not every tool needs to connect to everything else. Still, for example, you need your e-billing tool to connect to your accounts payable system and any business intelligence tools you may have.

Since much of the data you work with will be confidential or otherwise protected, any software you choose must adhere to industry-standard data protection practices.

Finally, you’ll want to choose a tool that is easy to use with an intuitive interface. A simple interface helps minimize the learning curve for your legal team and facilitates rapid adoption of your new technology.

Once you’ve decided on the right software, develop a clear communication strategy to inform your team about the benefits and changes the AI integration will bring.

Then, gather data on how your team is performing today. Depending on your goals, you might look for data about how accurately your team sets budgets or how long it takes to review the average invoice.

After integrating technology into your workflow, you’ll want to measure successt this baseline. If AI improves your chosen metrics significantly, you can use that information to secure a budget for more technology in the future.

Remember that integrating legal technology into your workflow is an iterative, continuous process. You should establish channels for ongoing feedback to ensure the tech is meeting your team’s needs, and so you can identify areas of improvement.

Here’s Where Legal AI Software Can Improve Your Legal Department’s Efficiency

As your legal department looks to enhance its efficiency and impact, exploring and integrating AI solutions for the following use cases will help you achieve those goals faster.

Legal Spend Management

Legal spend management tools use AI to automatically read, interpret, and process invoices. Some legal spend management tools, like Brightflag, even use optical character recognition (OCR) to turn invoices filed as PDFs into machine-readable structured data, which it then easily categorizes. That’s a huge boon for legal departments because before AI, those PDFs were basically a black box that denied teams 100 percent visibility into legal spend.

AI can analyze historical spend data to identify areas of overspend, which gives legal teams the information they need to implement cost-saving strategies. By leveraging past data, AI can also predict future spend patterns, helping legal departments anticipate costs and budget more effectively.

Another area where AI-powered legal spend management tools excel is applying outside counsel guidelines.

AI can be trained to understand a company’s outside counsel billing guidelines and automatically review invoices against these standards. It can flag non-compliant charges, such as unapproved expenses or rates, and either reject the invoice or request adjustments without human intervention. This automation ensures outside counsel compliance and helps maintain cost control.

AI can also evaluate the performance of outside counsel and other legal service providers by analyzing metrics such as each legal service provider’s efficiency in handling legal matters. This analysis can inform negotiations, help optimize the selection of service providers, and strengthen overall outside counsel management strategies.

Finally, by converting documents in non-standard formats into structured data, AI allows faster and more accurate invoice processing. This automation reduces manual entry errors and frees up time for legal professionals to focus on more strategic tasks.

Contract Management

Many modern Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) systems use generative AI “co-pilots” to automate and streamline drafting. During the contract review process, AI suggests clauses based on the contract type and highlights language that deserves a closer look from the legal team.

Using AI speeds up contract creation and negotiation and improves the accuracy and consistency of contract review.

For example, certain natural language processing (NLP) features can allow AI to understand the meaning and context of the text in contracts which is what makes it able to identify inconsistencies or deviations from standard clauses.

Also, the ability to recognize and analyze patterns allows AI systems to generate new contracts based on predefined templates and specific requirements.

By leveraging AI to review contracts, legal departments ensure those documents align with company policies and legal standards, reducing the risk of disputes.

E-Discovery

While your in-house legal team might not directly operate e-discovery software, understanding how your law firms or Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) use these AI-powered tools as part of their workflow can save you money.

AI technology optimizes the e-discovery process by categorizing and prioritizing large volumes of documents, which makes it easier to retrieve relevant information.

AI also lets legal service providers search by concept, rather than specific keyword. That way they capture documents traditional search methods might have missed. By automating document review and identifying relevant documents more quickly and accurately than human reviewers, AI can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with discovery and document analysis.

Some e-discovery tools also search and read documents in multiple languages, which is useful for organizations that operate internationally. Finally, AI can save you time by automatically deleting duplicate documents.

In-house teams should ask about their service providers’ use of AI in e-discovery to ensure they benefit from these efficiencies.

Legal Research

AI has transformed legal research tools by making them faster and more comprehensive.

AI tools sift through vast amounts of legal documents, precedents, and relevant case laws to find relevant information in a fraction of the time it would take a human. It’s like having a supercharged legal assistant by your side whenever you need. AI allows legal professionals to conduct thorough research with higher accuracy and less effort. With more information on hand, your team can make better decisions.

AI-driven insights also uncover trends and relationships between, for example, the type of matter at stake and how certain judges rule in those matters. That kind of analysis might not be immediately apparent to a human review, so AI often adds a strategic edge to your legal analysis.

IP Management

AI tools offer unparalleled advantages in monitoring, analysis, and intellectual property strategy formulation.

AI can automatically monitor patent filings, trademarks, and other IP documents to ensure no one infringes on your company’s IP assets.

AI-powered IP tools have the ability to search and analyze vast databases of patents and literature, which helps identify prior art and assess patentability of an innovation.

Additionally, you can use AI to analyze patent landscapes to identify trends, potential partners, or competitors and inform strategic IP development and protection decisions.

It’s also easier to manage your IP portfolio with AI. Automatically track renewals, analyze license agreements, and gain insights into a patent portfolio’s overall health and value.

This proactive approach to IP management, facilitated by AI, secures a company’s innovative edge and contributes significantly to competitive positioning.

Future-Proof Your Legal Department With Brightflag

Brightflag’s platform stands out for its ability to automate complex processes, provide deep insights into legal spend and operations, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of legal departments.

For legal departments looking to transform their operations and achieve a competitive edge, the next step is clear: consider integrating Brightflag into your workflow. Start by scheduling a demo or consultation with Brightflag to explore how its AI-powered solutions can address your specific challenges and objectives.

Michael Dineen, Brightflag's Director of Data Science, smiling in a gray dress shirt and glasses.

Michael Dineen

Director of Data Science

Michael Dineen first joined Brightflag in 2016 as a Data Scientist before working his way up to the role of Director of Data Science. Prior to joining Brightflag, Michael served as a Senior Analytics Consultant with Presidion. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Business Intelligence and Data Mining from Technological University Dublin, as well as a post-graduate diploma in Software Development.