CHENNAI: Drafting legal contracts -- be it employment documents or the highly complex merger agreements -- has been a constant pain for larger corporates. For smaller enterprises that may not be able to hire legal organisations to vet such documents in detail, it is even harder to manage and map laws to particular contracts. With the development of Artificial Intelligence, legal contract mapping and management has been automated to a large extent and is turning out to be an area of growth for technology start-ups such as SpotDraft, which makes about $5 million in revenue every month. Amid Indian players like VakilSearch, Legal Desk and Near Law, SpotDraft is one of the first few to provide contract management services using Artificial Intelligence. The legal tech start-up, founded by Harvard Law School graduate Shashank Bijapur, along with Madhav Bhagat, a former software developer at Google, looks to expand its operations from its home base in India to European countries, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others, this year to cash in on the rapid growth in the $80 billion contract automation market.
The platform aims to simplify contract creation and management through lawyer-vetted templates. The law, they say, is for all, but its finer intricacies and nuances, clearly not. An entrepreneur, most likely, would focus on the big idea, its ability to scale, the target audience, the revenue model and funding avenues. Easy to assume then that writing contracts is not very high on the priority list, also given that it can be time-consuming and even confusing. Harvard Law School alumnus and Wall Street lawyer Shashank Bijapur found contract work intellectually rewarding but the 31-year-old, at times, felt that the task of copying old contracts to make new ones was cumbersome.
Given how India's public sector is showing a growing interest in artificial intelligence, can legal tech startups keep up and help transform India's judiciary system? Though India has made rapid progress in terms of technology, companies and researchers are yet to utilise the full potential of AI. In fact, a PwC report emphasises that how instead of waiting for technology to reach a level where regulatory intervention becomes necessary, India could be a frontrunner by establishing a legal infrastructure in advance. A slew of Indian legal tech startups are building NLP-based applications and introducing next-gen legal research platforms that help law firms go beyond simple, keyword-based research, thereby making it less time-consuming. Many legal startups are fast rising in AI research capabilities, some of who have their own AI research labs.
This article is part of DBA, a series on Mashable about running a business that features insights from leaders in entrepreneurship, venture capital and management. Working for a startup has its perks: The excitement, energy and satisfaction of building a business from the ground up is extremely rewarding; but it definitely comes with its own unique set of challenges. SEE ALSO: 5 HR laws and trends businesses can't afford to overlook in 2016 One of the most common difficulties is finding the right talent. I studied team-building while working as a manager in corporate America, and it's clear to me that the biggest asset to a company is its team. Many startups can't afford to hire full-time employees from the onset, so the go-to strategy is to find the best freelancers for your company.
It's a manager's job to create the environment for employees to do their best work. Do you understand what they need as individuals to meet your high expectations? You know your full-time employees. You interact regularly and have history working together. But, while it may be more difficult to get a handle on what your freelancers need to do their best work – they may, for example, be working remotely - it's a worthwhile endeavor with a significant payoff.