In a recent article from Legal IT Insider, Caroline Hill wrote about how “63% of all legal contracts are gender-biased” based on a report from Genie AI. We wanted to dive deeper into that topic, so we asked Caroline and Alex Denne, Genie AI’s Growth Marketing Lead, to come on at talk with us.
Genie AI is an Open-Source product with some 1,500 legal templates available in the UK currently and is looking to expand into the US in 2023. Alex Denne mentions that in the evaluation of these templates, and in discussions he was having in the industry, there was talk of gender-bias in contracts, but that there was no baseline to measure whether the industry was improving or regressing in its bias. Therefore, Genie AI took it upon itself to evaluate the contracts it had for bias terms and phrases. It was this evaluation that found that nearly 2/3rds of contracts had gender-biased terms in them.
Caroline Hill shares her experiences in the Legal Tech industry to note that the number of CIOs in the UK who are women is actually going down instead of up, and that she’s noticed that even in simple things like job descriptions, gender-biased terms have a cumulative effect. Jobs which pull from STEM graduates still used gender-biased terms and according to Hill, phrases like “we are looking for a strong” or “aggressive” or “go getter” tend to have a direct effect on whether women apply for these positions or not.
Alex Denne points out that the UK government is requiring gender-neutral language in all contracts they approve. Both Denne and Hill agree that in order for law firms to adjust their own contract language to use more gender-neutral terms, clients have a direct impact on how seriously they take that mission. If it is part of the culture of the client to reduce gender-bias, then perhaps that should be part of the outside counsel guidelines for the firms they use.

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Legal Value Network Crystal Ball Question:
This week, Erik Perez, Central Legal Operations Officer at Shell USA, Inc., answers our Crystal Ball Question by focusing on the long-term needs of legal operations to both stay on task, hire and retain excellent talent, and use the right people for the right tasks.
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Jerry David DeCicca

Greg Lambert 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas and the legal industry. I’m Greg Lambert doing the solo this week while Marlene Gebauer is away, but the good news is she’ll be back next week and we’ll be bringing one of the original members of the Three Geeks team, Toby Brown, back to help us co host next week’s episode, so really excited to have Toby on the podcast for the first time ever. This week I talked with Alex Denne, Growth Marketing Lead at Genie AI and Caroline Hill, Editor In Chief at Legal IT Insider. We talk about Genie AI’s recent revelation that they uncovered nearly two thirds of all legal contracts are gender biased. We talk about why that’s a problem, the pushback that Alex has seen from some in the industry, and Caroline’s view on how the legal tech portion of the market has its own issues with gender bias as well. First up, we continue our crystal ball question this week with Erik Perez, Central Legal Operations Officer for Shell. Erik’s vision of the future, not surprisingly, includes a lot more focus on Legal Operations. So we’ll hear from Erik first and then we’ll jump into our conversation with Alex Denne and Caroline Hill.

Erik Perez 1:21
Thanks Greg. Erik Perez at Shell USA, Inc. What I’ve seen in the future is really the need for embracing legal ops as a whole. And really thinking about people retention, and demonstrating the value of what legal ops brings, as well as having the patience to wait for and to invest in the long like the long game. Really saying from a standpoint of people will love immediate satisfaction. And in some cases, some of these programs take years to implement, and then years to see the outcome, but in their long term that the outcome is really worth the time and investment in legal ops as a whole. In that you have a good team and legal ops as well as the not only the attraction of legal ops professionals, but the retention as well.

Greg Lambert 2:07
When you say legal ops in you’re coming from the client side, what does that look like for the if people don’t understand what legal ops looks like, on the client side?

Erik Perez 2:16
That’s good. That’s a really good um, for me, it’s, I try and stick to a philosophy of only do things that you can do. So if there are things that you don’t need an attorney for, we should be doing it. So from my standpoint, we look at pricing. We look at, I have teams that I currently have teams that do invoicing, I have teams that do IT support, project management. Administrative support and really kind of flow down the work. If a paralegal can do it, the attorney should be touching it. If an admin could touch it, paralegal shouldn’t touch it. If it’s an invoice issue, or invoice challenge, or whatever the case may be, why why have attorneys spend time doing it? Really how, you know, put that into the right hands of the train staff and big ops groups. That’s your specialty. Let them do what they do best. So the attorneys will do what they do best.

Greg Lambert 3:05
Awesome. All right. Thanks, Eric.

Erik Perez 3:07
Thanks, Greg.

Greg Lambert 3:10
We’d like to welcome Alex Denne, Growth Marketing Lead at Genie AI, and Caroline Hill, Editor in Chief, Legal IT Insider. Alex and Caroline, welcome to The Geek in Review.

Caroline Hill 3:21
Thank you, Greg.

Alex Denne 3:21
Great to be here. Thank you.

Greg Lambert 3:23
So I asked both of you to come on the show because I had read Caroline’s article from a couple of weeks ago, that was titled “63% of all legal contracts are gender bias, that new data reveals.” And that number was extracted Alex by your company, Genie AI. And so Alex, before we dive into the middle of the topic itself, would you mind just kind of giving us a little bit of background on Genie AI, and why you guys wanted to conduct research on the issue of gender bias in existing contracts?

Alex Denne 3:59
Yeah, sure. I mean, first off, I just express shock that I thought I’d be speaking to Adam Lambert, based on your Twitter handle.

Greg Lambert 4:07
Yeah, there’s still many, I guess, or 20 year olds now that are mad at me.

Alex Denne 4:11
Yeah, well, they’ve reunited so your Twitter DMS must be going crazy, right? Yep. Maroon Five are touring next year. You must have noticed that before many I’m sure.

Greg Lambert 4:19
Yeah. Queen Queen and I are on tour next year. So

Alex Denne 4:23
Amazing. I love that. I’m looking forward to the duet. So Genie AI like we currently describe ourselves as the UK is largest open source template library. But that’s really just the foundation for what we’re trying to do, which is effectively open source to law and really reduce the barriers to access for legal documents for businesses, mostly primarily their target market. And through that usage data, we can drive insights that you know will just become fascinating. For lawyers, for businesses and help people sort of self serve their own legal research with the form of the sort of AI legal assistance, but really it’s, it’s, you know, machine learning and data analysis applied on a broad layer of legal clauses issues.

Greg Lambert 5:17
When you say, open source, can you kind of put some parameters on it? What do you mean by open source?

Alex Denne 5:25
Well, so we’re working towards a fully open source license, we’re not there quite yet. We’re still figuring out our pricing model. We’re currently pre revenue. And so right, as of today, open source means anyone can use our entire platform free of charge, which has 1500 legal templates available in the UK, we’ll be looking to expand into the US early next year. The pricing model, whatever we implement, there’s always going to be access to those legal documents for free in some form or another. So that’s the open source mission, we’re pushing here.

Greg Lambert 5:59
As far as the the gender bias what what kind of caught your eye on that, that you wanted to do a report and find out and actually put some statistics on on the gender bias and existing contracts?

Alex Denne 6:13
Well, first of all, it feels like when you do a little bit of research into this, it feels like a lot of people have been talking about it for some time. But no one can really say if we’re progressing. So the fact that there was no answer to that question made me want to try and find an answer to that question. Secondly, because we, you know, we’ve spent four years sort of poring over legal data building this library of 1500 templates, which, you know, as I say, as the starting point, we’ll be taking all of those contracts, splitting them into clauses or like components, and then offering different solutions within all of those to tackle whatever legal issue that clauses supposing to tackle. And we need a massive data set in order to do that. And given that we’re currently going through that motion, it gives us a great opportunity to regularly pour over that data and analyze it for evidence of bias on a clause level. So right now, we’ve done that on the contract level. And it’s just going to become part of our our operations really, that we’ll be able to see all of these public filings, all of this public access data and report on are we actually progressing as a as an industry as a as a country I suppose and as a as a planet towards more inclusive, more gender neutral language.

Greg Lambert 7:35
Now, Caroline, when I was reading your story, your your Editor’s Note was almost as long as the story itself, because I could tell that he had a real passion for this topic. And you talked about how the legal tech part of the market is actually becoming worse at gender bias in his language, leaning heavily toward male representation in contracts, advertising and other industry language. What were some of the examples of things that you’re seeing in the legal market? Or at least the legal tech market?

Caroline Hill 8:08
Yeah. So I think I’m saying that it was getting worse in terms of female representation in the legal tech market. So the number of UK CIOs, UK, female UK CIOs is actually down, not up. I think that contracts have always been biased. I really commend Genie AI on the work that they’ve done. This is a great group, you know, they have this great initiative, I think, with contracts have been always been biased. But I think what’s changing is our understanding of the impact that language so a our ability to analyze that and be understanding of the impact that that has on us. And also our tolerance for it. I think there’s a, you know, there’s there’s should be zero tolerance for it. Now, because there’s absolutely no place for gender bias within our contracts it, it serves no purpose, obviously, you have to be careful that the odd mention of the word Sir isn’t relevant in a different context. But mostly, it serves no purpose. And I think that gender bias really came on to my radar. So a few years ago, I was thinking, Gosh, how can I use my platform to try and help improve diversity, or at least learn more, I hosted a meeting at one of the big law firms, which was chaired by their head of diversity. And she gave the most brilliant presentation, showing us word clouds of things like, you know, the words that girls and boys are subjected to as they’re growing up, and the impact that that has on them in terms of their adoption of STEM subjects. And, I mean, all of this stuff is happening at such a subconscious level. But we’re being bombarded continuously with language that affects our expectations of ourselves. And I think that its analysis has shown us so much more intelligence around, you know, analysis of, for example, job applications. She, again, this came up in that meeting, and the head of diversity was showing about job applications within STEM certs, subjects, particularly If the if they use certain words like, exhaustive, enforcement, fairness, they’re more likely to attract men than women, even if the women are equally as qualified. So I think just STEM is a really difficult subject. There’s lots of things that will take years to improve in terms of diversity ratios, but there are some quicker wins. And I think that the sort of stuff that Genie AI is done and other other firms are doing is a quicker win.

Greg Lambert 10:25
Yeah. Interesting, because I think a lot of people don’t really think about it. I think, one, I think it also shows some laziness on behalf of the people that are writing these and then relying upon the language as it’s always been, you know, this is how we’ve always done it kind of thing. And so, and I imagine that there are people that get very defensive when you start calling it, you know, calling these things out as well. So, Alex, what, what were some of the common languages used, that showed up in in these contract language and in the contracts themselves? And how prevalent are gender bias terms used over gender neutral terms, for example, you know, Chairman, Chairwoman or chairperson, what kind of examples are you finding?

Alex Denne 11:17
So to clarify, in our analysis, which you know, is a starting point, our analysis will definitely get more advanced as our technology gets more advanced. But we sort of broke it down into two steps. There’s the gender specific pronouns, such as he and she, obviously, and then we have gendered nouns like chairman or actress or policeman. Now, it’s funny that you mentioned some people, you know, get frustrated with this subject, we noticed that when we started to put this out there, you know, a couple of people pick this up, and some of the comments, you know, people have furiously saying, I cannot believe that, you’re telling me I can’t use chairman. You know, I didn’t know chairman was gendered. It’s like, what do you mean, it’s got man in it.

Greg Lambert 12:02
It’s got a man right at the end of it.

Alex Denne 12:06
What else is that worth doing there? So some people still hung up on this for some reason. But in terms of their headline findings, no one was surprised by the headline finding, I should say, I think some of the finer details were more interesting. And but the headline was, that, if we say that a document is biased, if it uses either a gender specific pronoun, or a gendered noun, at some point, we can say that roughly two thirds of all the documents we analyzed, were biased, in some form or another. So that leaves 1/3 doing the right thing, which is they have absolutely no place in our documents, we don’t need them. So yeah, a third people, or a third of contracts going out there third, a document being filed, are not using these terms, and kudos to them if you’re one of those people. So thank you. And if you consider that you might not be, then take a look at the research, we do provide a list of all of the words that we used, and it’s very easy to just run a quick search on your own templates in Word or something like that.

Greg Lambert 13:13
Yeah, I say people get defensive, because I know, oh, gosh, it’s probably been 10 years ago, but I gave a presentation once. And there was a woman afterwards that came up and very politely kind of told me said, Look, you’re really using male examples, male gender all the time in your talk. And my first reaction was, you know, how dare you tell me, you know, da da da? And then but, you know, after thinking about it, I was like, okay, you know, yes, it doesn’t hurt me at all, to make sure that I’m very balanced in how I present so I can see, you know, why that would be important to, you know, that was important to, you know, that small audience. And I can imagine that when you expand that to, you know, 1000s, Millions of people that may have to deal with with contracts or language, that you know, that those little things really add up after a while. So I’m really happy that you guys are setting a baseline for where we are so that we can measure are we actually improving. Caroline, I know, Alex and and Genie AI and his group are working on this. But you had mentioned that there are some other tools out there as well. Like, I think it’s Textio, for example, that helps you clean up gender bias language. So you get to see a lot of tools that are out there with your day job. Where do you think we still need to put more effort into cleaning up our gender bias language here in the legal industry?

Caroline Hill 14:52
Yeah, I think it there’s no doubt it’s, it’s, you know, take some effort. So tech Textio is actually for job interviews, as I mentioned above, you know that the language of job interviews is surprisingly important and texts do you think it’s free, you can, you can just put your job interview and I really highly recommend people do this because it’s amazing, the small changes that you can make using something like Textio, in terms of the language that you’re using, and they’ve got real examples of how that will affect the applicant applications that you receive. So it’s really worth doing if people aren’t doing that already.

Greg Lambert 15:28
That’s what you’d mentioned earlier, right? With the with the language, that’s not just pronoun issues, but there’s actually certain certain phrases that that it may pick up as well?

Caroline Hill 15:41
Exactly. And I can I can imagine, I can imagine people listening, Oh, for goodness sakes, this is just all just taking it too far. But they’ve got they’ve got measured, you know, they’ve done research is extensive research, if anybody wants to Google this, there’s extensive research showing that language does affect you know, whether you particularly women see themselves as propriate, as good enough as know whether they’re likely to apply. So if you in your we typically, so people are like, Oh, we really want more diversity. But actually, if you’re if you’re if you’re putting out a job advert that only really appeals to men, you’re falling at the first hurdle, right. And if you and it may seem like you know, are taking it too far, but in other words, I don’t know that anyone would use go getter, but you know, like, sort of masculine sounding terms, will immediately put women off on the climb. So that’s one

Greg Lambert 16:28
I can see go getter being put in a in a job. Job description, we need a real go getter here,

Caroline Hill 16:37
Once you’ve given me some job interviews, once you’re aware of it, it’s about the awareness, like you were saying with your talk, right? It wasn’t, there was nothing, you didn’t have any bad intentions. But the more you become aware of this, the more actually you start to pick up on all of this stuff. So it’s really great that we’re having this conversation, because then the next time you look at a job interview, and it’s like, we need a strong, you know, whatever it might be, you go, Oh, I can see why that might not appeal. So there’s another one called Text Metrics, which I’m not as familiar with, but maybe that’s worth a look. But in terms of law firm, so you know, they’ve got these vast knowledge banks, which are going to be, you know, quite, in many cases, gender biased. And they can work with a company like Genie AI ai, or I don’t see any reason. I mean, Alex you could tell me otherwise. But I don’t see that we’re not certainly not short in the industry of contract analysis, and drafting tools. And I see no reason why they couldn’t use their own software, whatever they’re using to conduct a similar exercise, and, and take steps to remediate it. But there’s one Magic Circle firm that has built its own tool, using Microsoft Azure Cognitive Service for language, which is a cloud based service, they use NLP, so they’ve decided that because they’re looking for gender specific words, rather than concepts, they didn’t actually need to use, you know, perhaps on a cost basis, they didn’t need to use an external provider, obviously, it’s too laborious to kind of do a CTRL F, exercise, too time consuming. So they built their own solution. So we started to see and they’ve gone through all of their, they’ve gone through, I mean, it’s also they put the output into Excel. And then there is a manual exercise that the knowledge team have to engage in, it’s not automated, and they have to be very careful, because obviously, you can’t just do a CTRL F type thing, because there may be words in I mean, knowledge is, you know, is the lifeblood of the firm. And if they were to change, if they were to change something that actually has a place in there, then then you know, that’s going to be really problematic. So there it is time, it can be time consuming, but there are ways of, of creating shortcuts and, and sort of doing it in a in a more efficient way.

Greg Lambert 18:55
Well, as you were saying that, you know, I was thinking, I’ve heard of some firms, and maybe there’s some companies out there that are doing this, with contracts that are kind of taking contracts and anonymizing them, you know, taking out certain certain phrases, certain personal information, it would seem almost logical that that those same tools could then take out the gender bias language as well, and make that part of the process. So Alex, maybe that’s the next thing for Genie AI.

Alex Denne 19:29
It’s funny, you mentioned that we actually have academic research collaborations with some key London universities, one of those has been around using AI and maintaining the privacy of the datasets that AI ingests and it can be quite telling, the way that things are phrased in documents could be a sign that it’s from a certain firm. So in order to maintain privacy of datasets, and anonymization of large data To set, it makes sense to be doing this kind of work. And yeah, it would not be a massive extra step to include something like this, you know, even just as a notification or a notice that says, hey, we know that like, Thank you for contributing this dataset, or just so you know, we’ve used this as part of our data set, we noticed that it was gender bias, by the way, if that’s something you’ve taken steps to improve.

Greg Lambert 20:23
And then they yell at you.

Alex Denne 20:27
You know, I want to tell another story as well, I reached out to a few members of the LGBTQ+ committee of the Law Society here in the UK. And I got into an email thread with one. And they said that someone had actively responded to a gender neutral, I think it was a living will document and said, this only uses the word they, I would like you to replace it all with he and Mr. And man, and all of these things. And it’s like, how, how are there people who want to push back against this? Who cares? You know, it literally it’s, it’s completely unnecessary, it’s undesirable. And it hurts absolutely nobody. And yet, there are some people who have a visceral reaction to this thing. So I think it’s very important to just raise and continue to nudge and I think there’s gonna be lots of polite nudges and prod towards this, which is why annually reporting will show us that hopefully, all of these limb proceeds have not just will be pushing us in the right direction.

Greg Lambert 21:34
Yeah. And I found out I was actually in a, in a non legal meeting a few weeks ago, where they were, we were discussing some certain laws against the LGBTQ+ community, and the bias that was going on there. And the speaker said something that was really interesting, and that was, when you reduce bullying on one group of people, it actually has an effect to reduce bullying on everyone, that it’s not just the it doesn’t just have an effect just on that one group. But it has these waves that go out, in effect, other you know, the, the bullying that may go on in other groups as well. So, you know, empathy is not everyone has it. And I think there are some people that don’t understand what the reason is behind what we’re doing. I think I think our audience is sophisticated enough to understand what what’s going on and what the benefit is. But I know that there are groups out there that feel like, I don’t know, for some reason, like it’s like a personal attack upon them. When you when you do this, when really you’re just saying, Look, we’re looking really to make this equally accessible and appliable to everyone. And the way it is now it is not. So, again, I applaud you for doing that.

Caroline Hill 22:58
I mean, change is tough, right? And there’s always going to be people that resist, but I think you just have to look oh, it has of gender, the statistics across the legal tech sector, in terms of the diversity that we’re seeing, and it is so bad. And of course, the legal sector, I mean, actually mainstream legal, I think the stats are better. And obviously they’ve got targets, etc. But but if you look at the number of female CIOs, we’re doing better with heads of innovation, that we are actually out there, as you see some improvement. But overall, you know, you just have to point out to people that clearly we need to do a lot more right, and that we can’t just continue to maintain the status quo.

Greg Lambert 23:36
Now, Alex, I know gender neutral drafting of contracts is actually a policy there in the UK with the government. So how does the UK Government encourage and or require gender neutral drafting and government contracts? And are you are you seeing other countries apply this principle?

Alex Denne 23:56
I don’t think I can answer the other countries applying this principle that I’m aware of. I know there are lots of bodies picking this up, and many of them will be institutional.

Greg Lambert 24:07
What’s the UK doing?

Alex Denne 24:09
Yeah, so the UK is Office of the Parliamentary Council and the government legal department have been sort of promoting gender neutral drafting for UK statutes and Statutory Instruments for years. They released something in 2019. That was effectively a guide to gender neutral drafting. And ultimately, they’re pushing it to become a better employer themselves and push others to become better, more inclusive employers. And I sort of want to, I’m going to drift a little bit away from government and there’s this quote I found from a new guide to gender neutral drafting from LexisNexis, which was a significant percentage of the next generation of the workforce no longer sees gender as binary and expect to see a new and better approach to gender identity and expression in documentation. And I feel like, you know, there are a lot of big entities increasingly aware of this increasingly pushing this and the UK government’s just just one of many pushing us in this direction. I wonder if they have some of those tools that you’ve mentioned embedded Caroline? I hope they do.

Greg Lambert 25:19
Yeah. After I asked the question, a memory was jarred. And I remember last year that President Biden here in the US ordered all military terminology to be gender neutral. And so that, and, again, I think that was something that made sense because rank is gender neutral. And there are, you know, this, it’s not a all male army. So it’s, it’s, you know, makes sense to do that. So I know, that’s one thing that that we’re seeing here in the US, and I’m sure there are states and others that are that are using that in their contract language as well. So I think we’re on I think we’re on that road. I think it just makes sense. But we’ll see how how, how windy the road is as we go forward. So Caroline, I know that Genie AI’s report suggests that gender bias contract should be sent back to the company that creates those contracts, and told that you’re not going to be able to sign those contracts until the gender bias language is changed. So I’m just curious, have you ever done something like this where you’ve sent a contract back and told them revise this language or redline that for them and send it back?

Caroline Hill 26:47
I, so I haven’t been an I was a lawyer. But it’s such a long time ago. And I And so me, personally, excuse me? No, but I think I think my observation is, particularly for all of our clients who can do that should be doing that. So we what we’re seeing within we’re seeing clients really putting law firms under pressure when it comes to things like diversity ratios on their deals. So last year, Coca Cola became the latest company to threaten to withhold legal fees from its Law Firms that failed to meet minimum diversity requirements. For example, HP has threatened to withhold up to 10% of costs invoice by law firms that don’t meet its minimum diversity, staffing. And in the UK, we have BT, which said that it would offer guaranteed panel renewal for firms with the best diversity and inclusion records. Those clients that so they’re doing, you know, they’re giving the giving, giving diversity status teeth for the clients are the ones who really can make a difference, because they they can say to their law firms, this has to happen. And we’ll jump to get them how high how much can we do, and they can be doing the same thing. They I believe that they haven’t really had an obligation where they spot gender bias in their contracts, they really should be sending it back and saying you need to fix this. And I think that will make a massive offense.

Greg Lambert 28:11
Yeah, I definitely would, I can imagine if a client sent something back and said, you know, rework this, because the bias in here is is not in accordance with our policy, or our culture. And that that would have more of an effect on on anything. So, you know, Alex, following that up? Oh, go ahead Caroline.

Caroline Hill 28:33
Go ahead. Sorry, I was just saying sorry, is interrupted. But just because I mean, it’s difficult because of time, right. So so, you know, when you will know, you have these deals and time, time is of the essence. But there must be ways of structuring it even if not right within the context of that deal. You know, when when you need to get something done within 24 hours, but you can build a process around it. And you can have a debrief at the end of the day or something like that we at the end, you say Right, these needs, this needs to be corrected.

Greg Lambert 28:58
Outside counsel guidelines is where it needs to start is setting it up there with the expectation that that the counsel that you’re using the law firm that you’re using the attorneys that you’re using, that are outside of your firm, you know, we tell them that you know that we give them instructions on you can’t charge for pizza after seven o’clock, or you can only only do this or that. So you can add that in. I know that that is one of the easiest ways to set the tone for how your your work with the outside counsel goes. And again, if that is part of your culture, then that should be part of your outside counsel guidelines as well. Alex, what other suggestions do you have for people who are writing contracts and those of us again that are asked to sign them? Or even on the the data side for those of us that are trying to clean up contracts? What are you suggestions on how to correct gender bias in contracts themselves?

Alex Denne 30:06
Yeah, so to correct gender bias and contracts themselves, you know, start with a gender neutral template, we have 1500, they are available from all of your major template hubs. So that would be a very sensible place to start, if you have your own in house hub or library, or template, bank contract bank, just get a data analyst to run over them with the tool and point out all of the points where you’re using one of the words that we use in our analysis. And if Caroline’s able to share any of the phrases and the sort of areas that might perhaps be more sort of male gendered, I think that would be a really helpful dataset to to just share with the community in order to then make sure that you’re getting a sort of return on on your efforts. And it’s not just last time because you know, time is money. I think it has not, you know, so true as it is in the legal industry compared to any other I would, I would say, I think we hear time and time again, that lawyers, clients counterparties all want to reduce pushback. There’s a lot of time spent with the back and forth. And so get ahead of it. If this becomes more of a prevalent reason for pushback, then just just cut it out, because it’s not going to affect any of the legal soundness or any element of the contract. And the other thing is, is almost a little bit of a warning, and I feel a bit cheeky saying it, but I’m just quite excited about when we when our database, this was this sort of like a pilot study, if you like, when a dataset gets a lot larger, we will be calling out the big multinational companies or the companies that have to do public filing on whether they’re using these terms or not. So keep an eye out. Because you might end up on a list that you might not want to be on because you’re using antiquated templates, antiquated wording? You know, there’s new standards, and it just makes sense to, to, you know, jump on the wagon.

Greg Lambert 32:10
Great. And I was so thrilled that you use the word cheeky. So

Alex Denne 32:17
It’s a great word it is.

Greg Lambert 32:19
It is we don’t use that enough here. Love that. So Alex before we get to our crystal ball question, what’s on the horizon for Genie AI?

Alex Denne 32:31
Well, that is a big and exciting question. We are on the cusp, I would say, of providing market standard data across all practice areas in the UK in the US. And that sort of data isn’t really available anywhere. The idea of being able to say, you know, 93% of consultancy agreements include some sort of intellectual property or confidentiality clause, yours doesn’t you want to add that, or something that says, in your industry, for senior employment agreements, the standard notice period is actually six months do you want to change that. And, you know, we’ve seen standards changed hugely with things like force majeure with a pandemic, and, you know, working from home, etc. And I think with a lot of the tools that are out there online, you don’t really know where they came from, and how old they are, and how up to date they are. So with a tool like Genie with active AI, sort of seeking out new market standards on a daily basis, cooling all of those public filings, we’ve got, you know, 100 or so lawyers who contribute to our libraries and our data sets, you can add your own clauses. And, you know, try and set new market standards yourself on the clause level. So we’re really excited about that. But we’re also going to be doing end to end so not only will you be able to create a contract from scratch from our clause library, but you’ll also be able to use esign products to handle that organize all your documents, all of the in between the redline editing. So we’re just trying to create a bit of an end to end platform here that has legal intelligence at the absolute heart of it, powered by AI. And hopefully, we’ll also have a little checkbox as part of that, when you’re ready to sign and we’ll say just so you know, this has some terms that are not inclusive. So, you know, you want to change that before you send it to sign.

Greg Lambert 34:30
Excellent, excellent sounds sounds like a good path to be on. So now we’re at the point where we ask all of our guests our crystal ball question and and I know we’ve talked a lot about gender bias and in contract language, but I don’t want to necessarily limit you to this on on the answer for this question. So take it however you want. Alex, I’ll start with you. What what do you see as changes or challenges in the legal industry over the next three to five years?

Alex Denne 35:00
So I want to, I want to pick up on something that one of your previous guests mentioned, actually. So you had Dr. Alexander Hudek and Noah Weisberg on and they were talking about their their AI for Lawyers book. And they mentioned that there’s often a lot of pushback, a lot of distrust about AI in the industry, you know, feels complicated, not that transparent. And we get that we’ve heard that we hear you. And there’s also I think, a little bit of fear, uncertainty doubt around the idea that AI is trying to replace some legal professional services jobs. Whereas actually, they mentioned in that episode, brilliant episode, the Javon’s Paradox, I think, yes. Where if, if you make something far more efficient through the use of technology, people might think that demand is going to go down because you need less of it. But actually, demand goes up. If you make a coal power plant more efficient for every lump of coal you put in, actually, you end up putting more coal in because you’re producing more power, and people can then create more energy intensive industries, etc, off the back of that additional power generation. So free, I think it’s very similar thing in the legal industry, we are not trying to turn everyone into a lawyer, we’re not trying to create an AI lawyer, what we’re looking at is, within five years, most legal professional services jobs will have a legal assistant in their pocket, that just helps them with so many of the tasks that they do, so they can help more businesses, they can solve more problems. And they can bill more clients. So it’s, it’s really a win win. And, you know, it’s not an either or. And so I think there’s a real challenge in trying to see how that feeling progresses over the next few years. And hopefully, we can win people around to that sort of futuristic way of looking.

Greg Lambert 37:01
Thanks. Well, Caroline, I know, you see so much in what’s going on in the legal, especially legal tech industry, what, what are some of the changes or challenges you see in the next three to five years?

Caroline Hill 37:15
So I think, perhaps, what you might not expect me to say, but I think my challenges are around culture. I think that there’s not enough change. I think that we talk about tech all the time, but I see lots of people talking about innovation, but actually, I don’t see very much change in terms of how real firms are structured in terms of the management in terms of, you know, obviously diversity being a part of that. And I think that, whilst we’ve got the same people doing the same things that we can’t really expect to really properly move on and innovate in the way that we should be. So for me, that’s, you know, that’s something that we’re now moving into hybrid working, right. So that’s going to be to, that’s going to be more of a challenge than ever, you know, and we really need the right culture to create, you know, to manage that situation as it needs to be met. It’s going to be a massive challenge from a tech and a culture perspective, really bringing on teams and you need leadership from the top. And what you’re seeing is leaders who actually want to just now work from home. And they’re telling their young team, they’re young ones to come into the office, right? There’s all sorts of there’s so many examples of how the culture needs to change. And until the culture changes, we can talk about tech till we are blue in the face. And we can talk about innovation till we’re blue in the face. But until the culture really changes until law firms start really being honest with themselves and probably corporate legal as well. I don’t think that much it’s going to not as much as it should change or change.

Greg Lambert 38:40
I think I’ve told you this before that, to me culture is the is the worst behavior that a law firm will tolerate from its moneymakers. So that’s the culture there.

Caroline Hill 38:58
Yes, I think it’s going to be challenging. You see some you see some firms bringing in, you know, there’s some some of the US firms do some great stuff. They brought in some brilliant people at the C suite level, and they’re really starting to shake things up. But, you know, it’s happening, but it’s happening slowly. And then and then they’re talking about innovation. They’re talking about technology, as if it’s, you know, can be can be sort of talked about in isolation, but it can’t.

Greg Lambert 39:21
Yeah, yeah. The siloing of of innovation in firms is is really interesting. So I know that’s an odd spot to leave off. But I want to thank both of you for coming in Alex Denne from Genie AI and Caroline Hill. From Legal IT Insider. And also on Fridays, you can catch Caroline on Bob Ambrogi’s live legal week presentation on Facebook and zoom and I always enjoy that. So Alex, Caroline, thank you both for coming on.

Caroline Hill 39:57
Thank you Greg.

Alex Denne 39:57
Thank you.

Greg Lambert 39:58
Thanks again to Alex denne and Caroline Hill for talking with me today. And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. We really appreciate having an audience that we can share a topic like reducing gender bias in contract language with and those that really understand the importance of it. So if you enjoy the show, please share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So you can reach out to us on social media. Marlene can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter, And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter and I’m also on HIVE social network at @glambert as well. Once again, disappointing Adam Lambert fans everywhere. Sorry, go Lambert’s or you can leave us a voicemail on our new Deacon review Hotline at 713-487-7821. And as always, the musicae here is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you, Jerry. Marlene well be back next week along with our good friend Toby Brown. We’ll see then.