One of the most successful recent uses of technology is contract review software. At Relativity Fest I spoke to Charlie Connor of Heretik. Heretik makes contract review software based on Relativity, a good example of eDiscovery skills and tools finding new roles beyond conventional eDiscovery.
Charlie Connor said that Heretik allows teams to make better and broader decisions. Discovery software like Relativity allows users to expand the range of documents meeting certain criteria, and the same principle applies when searching through contracts – it is a parallel text-based problem, and ten years of eDiscovery development is easily applied to contract review.
Heretik can, for example, identify contracts and break them down to clause level so that those relating to, say, confidentiality can be batched out to someone who is expert in the subject. The parallels with some eDiscovery workflows are evident.
The main customers are Relativity solution providers like NightOwl Discovery or CDS. They hold large volumes of data for clients and want to be able to do more with it than merely perform eDiscovery functions – they can, for example, go to the client and show that they can derive useful information from the data. We are therefore moving from mere identification of risk and burden and into proactive identification of useful material which can form the basis for business decisions.
An obvious example, Charlie Connor says, is doing post-merger analysis of the combined data – the merger deal has been done, but where do you go from there? Contract analysis allows, say, consolidation of vendors and other things. One can see what one side was doing well and the other not so well, or deduce why this team is functioning better than that one, and make good decisions for the future.
Heretik also allows collaboration on a document with outside counsel or even with the other side.
The deals themselves may be subject to useful analysis if organisations can see, for example, that they are spending too much time on a particular part of the deal.