Microsoft’s Legal Department is Piloting AI Right Now

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  • Article by Yin Wilczek, Bloomberg BNA; Video by RJ Jewell, Bloomberg BNA

    Microsoft Corp. is testing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in contract management—a move that ultimately may cut down the work for its in-house attorneys.

    In a pilot slated to end in June, the Redmond, Wash.-based software provider is using AI to analyze a subset of contracts. The technology, by looking for common themes and variances in the contracts, will give in-house attorneys a more “holistic view” of the company’s relationship with individual partners, said Tami Baddeley, operations lead for Microsoft legal operations and contracting. This will put them in a better position when they negotiate the next contract, she told Bloomberg BNA.

    At the same time, Microsoft Research is looking at ways it can help the company’s in-house lawyers evaluate contracting risks and other issues, Baddeley said. She spoke to Bloomberg BNA June 5 on the sidelines of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Legal Operations Conference in Chicago.

    Serving Company in Long Term

    If the pilot is successful, Microsoft will try to leverage AI in other parts of in-house work, Baddeley said. “We’re going after those technologies, we’re going to figure out how we can best serve ourselves long term to do that work.”

    In other comments, Baddeley said that funding and data security are the top technology challenges facing in-house departments. People also shouldn’t expect a “magic button,” she said.

    “Technology should support the people and the process,” Baddeley said. If a company doesn’t have those in place, “technology is only going to do so much for you.”

    To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at ywilczek@bna.com

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Jenkins at sjenkins@bna.com

     

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