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Legal Tech for Transactional Lawyers Newsletter: #2

Brainstorming GenAI Use Cases, Document Automation, Prompt Engineering Tips and More!

Happy Friday!  Hope you enjoy the second monthly Legal Tech for Transactional Lawyers Newsletter.  If you enjoy it, share with others, follow me on LinkedIn and add your contact information here.

In this edition I focus on how important it is for transactional lawyers to be creative in how they approach legal transactions as new legal tech tools become available. This will be especially important in the context of AI powered tools as subject matter experts like lawyers and knowledge management folks will be key to adoption. 

Hopefully you find it useful and interesting.  Please feel free to share with anyone that may be interested and have a great weekend!

Matt Basile

If you find this content valuable, please connect with me on LinkedIn.


Leveraging Tech in Transactional Matters

🤖 Is this technology going to take my job?

At least once a week in demos or when discussing AI tools, I hear in one way or another "this technology is going to take my job".  I can empathize with that fear when you see a computer do something in seconds that takes you or an assistant hours to do, but important to keep a few things in mind:

😭You probably don't like doing the thing that the technology is doing for you

💲You are getting paid to do the harder part of the job (that you probably like doing a lot more) not the simple task

🛫The job isn't going away but there is a huge opportunity to reshape how it is done and come out on top vs. those that do not get creative and embrace the new tools

🔋Maybe most important of all, if you save any time, you can recharge your batteries and mental health instead of burning the midnight oil racking up billable hours

Hopefully all of the hype around AI tools makes the legal profession more excited around finding a better way to work that eliminates some of the factors that make the profession so stressful and susceptible to burnout.  Especially in transactional practices.

😅 AI Tools Should Change How You Deliver Services

"People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill; they want a quarter-inch hole." - Theodore Levitt

I saw this quote in an excellent article from Brian Inkster and it really got me thinking about what it is transactional lawyers are delivering to clients (the equivalent of the hole) and what they use to make the hole (the drill bit).

Clients hire lawyers in transactional matters to perform a few core tasks:

📃Ensure the business deal is properly documented and negotiate with the counterparty to ensure market terms and inclusion of any client specific requirements (on each side)
✔️Review due diligence items and confirm no unexpected liability / risks / costs
🧠Interact with counsel from the counterparty to solve business / legal issues that are unique to the transaction and creatively structure the transaction
🚅 Keep the deal on track and moving as quickly as possible to closing

All of these tasks will for the foreseeable future require a human to be involved, however, maybe lawyers can rethink the tool that is being used to differentiate themselves from lawyers at other firms that are not changing the way the hole is made.

It is possible that with existing legal tech and new AI powered tools we can reimagine some processes in transaction matters.  For example, we should:

⚙️ Leverage document automation as much as possible to get a head start on first drafts and make sure you don't lose time on this step
💡 Figure out a new way to negotiate documents by using some new AI powered tools to come up with a change in process and eliminate the back and forth redlining that has become the norm
🛠️Use any new LLM powered tool you can get your hands on to eliminate risk in the due diligence process, speed it up and get rid of manual review wherever possible

Articles and News

👨‍💻 Could Generative AI Turn Everyone into a Product Developer

This blog post by Jason Barnwell of Microsoft has a lot of great stuff to think about.  Totally agree that the barrier to accessing and creating powerful software-driven experiences has dropped with AI tools and this should allow lawyers who can perceive customer problems and define valuable experiences to create and publish solutions inexpensively, fast, and at-scale. 

🌅 Look for Glimmers of What is Possible

Awesome interview with Mira Murtati where she discusses where OpenAI is headed in the future.  It seems clear they want folks to build on top of the models and know they are going to get better and better.  She encourages looking for what is somewhat possible today because very quickly the models will become more reliable.

👍 Generative AI Primer

This overview of LLMs and the state of generative AI by Casey Sullivan is excellent.  Take the time to read this and get up to speed on where things are heading with AI and LLMs.

🔦 Document Automation + Generative AI

This is a thought-provoking article by Quinten Steenhuis that talks about some potential ways that Generative AI can be used to super charge traditional document automation tools.  I particularly like the use case of extracting data from documents (like a term sheet) to complete the questionnaire for the user.

My Work

🌱 Lawyers Will Play a Crucial Role in the Development and Adoption of AI Powered Tools 

My latest blog post discusses why subject matter experts like lawyers, knowledge management professionals and law librarians will be the key to the development and adoption of apps built with LLM technology.

Lawyers / KM professionals are uniquely positioned to:
💡 Use creativity to identify solid use cases that deliver the best ROI
🏞️ Write prompts and validate outputs
🧠 Provide complex examples and identify limitations
✔️ Verify the results and make sure the product is production ready

Subject Matter Expert Ven Diagram

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