Enterprise workflow solutions provider Onit has acquired New Zealand-founded contract lifecycle management provider McCarthyFinch, with plans to make the technology an integral component of its new legal intelligence platform Precedent. The first release will be ReviewAI.

ReviewAI, focuses on pre-signature contract review. It will help corporate legal teams to, in effect, triage incoming work based on a pre-defined playbook. Onit claims that this first-pass review by ReviewAI will save contract teams up to 70% of review time, increase compliance and lower company risk. Other providers in this space include ThoughtRiver, Seal Software (now DocuSign) and LawGeex.

This deal follows Onit’s acquisition last year of SimpleLegal, a US-based provider of spend, matter and vendor management software that is now Onit’s legal operations management software subsidiary.

“Our vision is to build AI into our workflow platform and every product across the Onit and SimpleLegal product portfolios,” said Eric M. Elfman, Onit’s CEO and co-founder. “AI will have an active role in everything from enterprise legal management to legal spend management and contract lifecycle management, resulting in continuous efficiencies and cost savings for corporate legal departments. Historically, legal departments have been thought of as black boxes where requests go in and information, decisions or contracts come out with no real transparency. AI has the potential to enhance transparency and contribute to stronger enterprise wide business collaboration in a way that conserves a lawyer’s valuable time.”

Nick Whitehouse, McCarthyFinch’s CEO and co-founder, is now the general manager of the newly rebranded Onit AI Center of Excellence. He has focused on digital innovation and AI for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2019 as the IDC DX Leader of the Year for his advocacy across the legal industry and Australasia. He is joined by McCarthyFinch’s vice president of legal, Jean Yang, who is now vice president of the Onit AI Center of Excellence.

“McCarthyFinch has been dedicated to building world-leading AI that augments lawyers and helps automate low-value and time-intensive manual legal processes. Drafting contracts and redlining documents shouldn’t take up 70% of a lawyer’s time, as statistics suggest. “There’s a better way to work,” stated Whitehouse. “With AI, we’ve dramatically changed the contract management lifecycle and enabled businesses to move faster, provide higher-quality services and lower the cost of legal services. We are excited to join the Onit team and apply AI to Onit’s contract lifecycle management solution and expansive product offerings.”