Travers Smith LLP has launched an app to help clients quickly get to grips with their force majeure exposure in contracts in light of COVID-19.

The free client tool allows contracts to be sent in bulk to a centralised mailbox within Travers Smith, which automatically analyses the contract based on pre-defined legal rules. The tool then provides a report which will help businesses decide which contracts they should prioritise for more detailed analysis.

The tool has been programmed to identify the key terms and phrases that are commonly seen in force majeure provisions.

Sharing contracts over email is not without risk but Shawn Curran, head of legal technology at Travers told Legal IT Insider: “Clients are emailing contracts to us anyway and asking us to analyse them so all we’re doing is automating that task. There are some cases where it doesn’t make sense to charge for that. The email comes in, we run scripts to analyse it, we then provide a Word and Excel report and automatically send a really nice email to the client. We then delete the email and we don’t track anything.”

For each contract, the report will indicate:

  • if there is force majeure-type wording
  • if there is wording relating to pandemics, epidemics or illness
  • if there is wording relating to government action
  • if there is generic force majeure-type wording relating to events beyond the parties’ reasonable control
  • if there is wording which indicates presence of a termination right linked to force majeure.

The report will also extract relevant wording from the contract for review.

Curran said: “We’ve been investing in our own machine learning and opensource AI library and this has been developed using a combination of that and some rules.”

The tool is intended to help clients triage contracts rather than give a definitive answer and Richard Brown, partner, commercial, IP and technology, says: “We are very conscious of how challenging these times are for clients and wanted to develop a solution that quickly helps prioritise areas of possible contractual risk or exposure triggered by the pandemic. The thinking behind this offering is to help them navigate through the next few weeks and months by accelerating their ability to assess which contracts require attention or further analysis.”