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Litera acquires Bestpractix as it builds up a ‘smart’ drafting workflow

We speak to Bestpractix CEO Omer Hayun – now head of Litera’s new AI group – about the technology and its potential use cases.

We speak to Bestpractix CEO Omer Hayun about the technology and its potential use cases.

Litera has acquired Tel Aviv-headquartered contract drafting startup Bestpractix, which it will use to transform the way it surfaces content within the drafting process.

Bestpractix CEO Omer Hayun and CTO Elad Hayun are joining Litera, with Omer taking on the role of vice president of a newly-formed AI products team. 

One of the first priorities will be to integrate Bestpractix within Litera’s existing drafting tool Clause Companion.

Bestpractix, which was founded in 2018 and so is an early stage startup, uses natural language processing and machine learning to help fee-earners find the most relevant content within the document management system.

“The concept of ‘smart’ documents is one which we’ve been focused on for some time, and the acquisition of Bestpractix accelerates our plans for delivering a smarter drafting workflow, where technology is complementing the way lawyers work. We’re very excited about the ways in which we see the Bestpractix technology working with existing and future products”, said Avaneesh Marwaha, CEO of Litera.

Legal IT Insider spoke to Omer Hayun about the acquisition.

Omer, so congratulations on your acquisition by Litera, tell us more about the acquisition?

Our technology has various use cases: for contract generation, review, due diligence and knowledge management, but at the moment we’re using it for knowledge management and smart drafting. We look forward to developing more products with Litera.

We are funded by Spinach Angels but there was only so much we could do so far. This is a resources-consuming business, especially in the legal tech sector, where firms have long sales cycles. We have been working with Am Law firms but it takes a long time to close and working capital-wise, it’s best to work with a strong company that can back you and help with business development. Litera is a really great fit.

And tell us more about how Bestpractix works?

Bestpractix is all about knowledge management and utilising an organisation’s knowledge. Lawyers have a lot of knowledge but the problem is that, with so much knowledge, they can’t pinpoint the things they need. When lawyers work on an agreement their job is to take the draft and customise it in favour of their client. They usually go to the document management system to find precedents to compare and benchmark against but they have a lot of data – often they can’t find what they need so they use their memory and go back to 2016 and the contract they consider to be most relevant but they miss a lot of knoweldge and they have to manually compare the documents.

If you want to see how 2(a) compares you have to find the clause in the other contract using CtrlF but if the key word is not correct, you have to use other key words – it’s exhausting. Bestpractix saves this – all they have to do is open the agreement, click on the Bestpractix button at the top right hand corner, which analyses the agreement, click on the clause they want and the ‘look up’ button. It analyses the clause in context and presents the most relevant information at the bottom – most relevant to the least – so they can see how it compares.

This sounds similar to what Clause Companion is trying to do already, what does Bestpractix do that Clause Companion doesn’t already?

 Clause Companion is a clause library – it’s not populated automatically. It’s a way for law firms to save their own snippets of data. They have no way of recommending they just store their content. We analyse and prepopulate by scanning the agreement – we break it down to make it usable for future negotiations. That’s somethign that Clause Companion can’t currently do. Our product will be integrated.

Who do you integrate with already?

We integrate with iManage and NetDocuments and are working on new integrations – it’s a process.

Who are your closest competitors?

Drafting recommendation is fairly new – you have template generation but in contract negotiation there aren’t a lot of players – the companies most like us are Genie AI and Blackboiler but the people that have seen our technology and theirs say ours is more advanced.

You live in the Microsoft ribbon, which is very crowded. Is there a risk that you’ll cause performance issues?

No, we use no logic inside the Microsoft world – all the logic is behind the server. Everything is in the back end, not on the client side. That’s important because it makes the plugin very skinny and stable – we had a lot of logic client side and it can crash, so we made the decision to move all the brains to the back end.

Will it be a problem for you to surface information if law firms have adopted or plan to adopt pessimistic security?

No, we respect and maintain ethical walls and have different technology that we can apply to transfer the inside of a document without revealing the source. The problem is that lawyers want to know the source – to know if they can rely on it and which transaction it’s from or who wrote it – that’s a business decision that the firm has to take but we can accommodate them either way.