Last updated on 

September 4, 2023

Top Thought Leaders for Contracts

Top Thought Leaders for Contracts
Growth Manager
Top Thought Leaders for Contracts Top Thought Leaders for Contracts

A hands-on practical approach to contracts can be super difficult. Further, the AI wave has taken the world by storm that is not going to settle anytime soon - also not in relation to contracts. 

In an effort to make contracts more approachable by everyone, we will introduce you to some inspirational people who share a love for all things contracts and AI-enabled contract operations. It’s practical and relevant. 

Sam Burrett

Sam is a leading advocate for innovation and accessibility in the legal industry and is currently serving as a legal optimization strategist at MinterEllison. Sam also part-times as a board member, speaker, and writer.

Sam talks about career skills, productivity, practical insights into AI, and legal operations. He loves meeting new people via LinkedIn, so if you are a person in legal looking for a meaningful connection with a legal powerhouse, connect with Sam today.

What has gotten us excited recently

Sam posted about his conversations with more than 250 lawyers, spanning in-house, government, private practice, and legal ops sectors regarding AI and how that led to unexpected concerns and opportunities connected to generative AI and the future of law. This post got us excited because it masterfully demonstrates how AI can change the dynamic of the legal industry.

According to Sam’s conversations:

  • 90% of the lawyers had leveraged AI for less than two hours, while only a small fraction had spent substantial time in learning how to utilize it. 
  • Lawyers know that AI is rapidly improving and believe in the potential of ChatGPT despite criticism related to inaccurate data, such as incorrect case citations. 
  • Automation combined with artificial intelligence can change legal firms' work dynamics. Routine boring tasks such as drafting legal advice and contracts, which end up on a junior lawyer’s plate, will be shifted to AI, giving them the opportunities for higher-value work.
  • Treating your AI as an intern is a constructive perspective. By training your AI in the same manner an intern would be onboarded, lawyers can yield solutions to complex problems. 
  • The lawyer of the future with the ability to construct highly specialized legal chatbots would outperform their peers tenfold, which is an indicator of how the industry’s most sought-after skills will shift.

Our recommendation for what to look for on Sam’s profile

Sam’s profile is a goldmine for those looking for a mix of professional development advice, best practices backed by experience, and utilizing AI for enhanced work performance and quality.

You can also subscribe to his Three Good Things weekly newsletter, in which he shares a handpicked selection of ideas and resources curated from across the web and designed to be read in five minutes or less.

Laura Jeffords Greenberg

Laura is a champion for those looking to utilize technology for optimizing legal work. She has 13 years of executive legal experience and has led global teams in different industries. 

Laura definitely fits our description of a thought leader when it comes to implementing generative AI tools, leveraging asynchronous communication practices for team enablement, and pushing the boundaries of traditional legal work with artificial intelligence. 

What has gotten us excited recently

Laura talked about how to use GenAI at work as per the guide put together by the UK government for their civil servants. She summarized it into 5 core questions:

  • What information do you have?
  • What AI tools are you using?
  • How will the information be used?
  • How can the answers mislead?
  • How useful is the output?

In the same post, Laura talked about her “ChatGPT for contracts” webinar in which she showed how to:

  • Draft explanatory comments to support contract redlines
  • Generate negotiation tables for live negotiations with counterparties
  • Draft contractual clauses, with demonstrations on how to prompt and prime input for a more reliable response from ChatGPT

Our recommendation for what to look for on Laura’s profile

Laura’s profile is filled with practical uses of AI and ChatGPT in daily legal tasks. You can find innovative solutions for optimizing the performance of your legal teams. She also shares a curated selection of legal jobs regularly. 

Nicola Shaver

Nicola is a well-recognized legal tech executive with a focus on driving innovation, introducing legal business transformation, and implementing enterprise change management. She has proven success, with top-tier firms and Fortune 500 companies, in running global teams towards legal practice transformation. She is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Legaltech Hub and publisher of one of the industry's top 5 legal tech newsletters. 

Nicola’s strategic leadership style awarded her the ILTA Innovative Leader of the Year in 2020, Fastcase 50 honoree 2021, fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, class of 2021, recognized by the ABA as one of its distinguished Women of Legal Tech, 2022, and by Prolawgue known as a Legal Operations Trailblazer, 2023. In short, she is a powerhouse in the world of legal tech!

What has gotten us excited recently

Nicola talked about a worrisome trend in the field of legal tech that has been growing like wildfire - launching vague and obscure websites with little to no information about the product and instead giving a form to join a waitlist. 

Even though this started with Harvey, a generative AI model designed for legal tech. Harvey’s homepage has flashy branding, a sleek design, and a waitlist sign-up button - and that’s about it. Companies are implementing this troublesome practice to drive hype. According to Nicola, generating buzz via limited access will lead to a big question mark on the quality of the product delivered. Such companies are also controlling the narrative about themselves by choosing who to work with and releasing information via promotional press releases. For example, if you want to know anything regarding Harvey, you have to connect with someone already familiar with it. 

Nicola is of the stance that we should not buy into this trend because, for the legal tech industry, products need to have quality information so that informed business decisions can be made. If a company does not have the time to update its own website, then the chances of them helping your organization post-purchase is also quite low. 

Our recommendation for what to look for on Nicola’s profile

Nicola’s LinkedIn is full of practical advice pertaining to leveraging out-of-industry best practices and highly innovative approaches to legal practice transformation. She talks about legal tech, tech adoption, legal innovation, generative AI, and change management, as expected from an all-rounder.

Peter Duffy

Peter has a decade's worth of experience as a technology and innovation consultant with tech start-ups, law firms, and corporations. He specializes in driving value through legal innovation. Currently, he is the Head of Digital at BamLegal and building, a platform that consolidates all the latest Legal Tech news in one place.

Peter has a monthly newsletter, “How Curious!”, in which he shares his learnings and cool discoveries. He also focuses on legal tech, innovation, and other trends.

What has gotten us excited recently

According to Peter, there has been a wave of law firms announcing custom ChatGPT offerings in recent weeks and in between these hype waves of AI, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters and how these offerings benefit your business. 

In the latest edition of Legal Tech Trends (14th on the date of this post’s publication), Peter spoke and shared insights from Shawn Curran, Director of Legal Technology at Traver Smith and Michael Kennedy, Senior Manager (Innovation & Legal Technology) at Addleshaw Goddard. The focus of this deep dive content piece was to learn how law firms are accessing large language models securely. 

Our recommendation for what to look for on Peter’s profile

On Peter’s profile, keep your eyes on the regularly published Legal Tech Trends, a fortnightly newsletter packed with the top legal tech trends, insights, and Peter’s personal recommendations. 

Alexander Irschenberger

Alex is great at building products that cater to users’ pain points. His experience is filled with being the founder, investor, and board member of multiple companies. He has a penchant for creating coherent customer journeys for an unknown brand and transforming it into a customer darling.

Currently, he is the VP of Strategy and Growth at Contractbook, dedicated to ushering in a new era of contract management. Alex is an excellent orator and engaging storyteller, who is able to wear multiple hats and create a success story out of them. 

What has gotten us excited recently

Recently, Alex posted about his latest project Contract Academy focused on providing a practical perspective on everything related to contracts. Contract Academy is a series of videos explaining the world of contracts in a simplified manner (read: no lawyer jargon): 

Alex gave one liners in his post regarding the upcoming episodes that are: 

  • Impossible situations that your teams can come across while dealing with contracts and how to deal with them
  • How to use the free plan ChatGPT for contracts 
  • Current top challenges that everyone comes across in their contracts and how to overcome them

Our recommendation for what to look for on Alex’s profile

On Alex’s profile, you can find useful content on specific scenarios like how to use AI to accelerate your users toward reaching their business goals or general advice based on his experiences regarding growth, startup, legal tech, and leadership. 

Like and follow them today

With so much going on with AI, it isn’t easy to decide who to listen to and who’s mostly fluff. This was our roundup of the AI experts with valuable insights in the field of contracts that are utilizing AI-powered tools to streamline contract lifecycle management. We hope that these experts serve as a source of inspiration for making contracts more loveable and encouraging you to explore the possibilities of AI in your own legal work.

We would love to hear any additional thoughts or recommendations you may have on AI experts in the CLM space.

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