27.07.2018 | Blog Enterprise Search for Lawyers

Contracts are usually pages long and exist in large quantities, often unstructured in the file system or are stored in systems with poor search options. Enterprise Search applications help to make contracts intelligently searchable, to get a comprehensive overview and not to overlook anything essential.
Help for the intelligent search in and for contracts and clauses

In practice, rental contracts, employment contracts, leasing contracts or facilities and special provisions for existing contracts are usually distributed unstructured across different systems – for example on fileshares, Exchange servers or in Sharepoint or other collaboration systems. Corporate counsel would have to access and search each system individually. There is often a lack of knowledge about which contracts exist at all or where which legal documents on certain topics have been filed beforehand.

With iFinder we offer an enterprise search application with which you can search centrally and company-wide in structured and unstructured data via a single user interface. iFinder includes over 60 connectors and can be connected to all relevant data sources. With our software, for example, 10,000 contracts stored in Share Point can be intelligently searched and thus made available to specialist lawyers.

Corporate lawyers have fast and efficient access to the desired contracts via the central search interface. Sophisticated linguistics ensure a complete and accurate hit list. It is thus able to trace terms back to their basic form and also recognises multi-word terms such as “law books”. Users do not need to know in which form the term is stored in the documents.

With iFinder, many search-driven use cases can be implemented that support daily work. These added values are not enough for some of our customers. Here we are taking a special product, the Contract Analyzer, one step further down and thus opening up further cost-saving potential.

Document and clause-based search from and into contracts with enterprise search software

As with a conventional search engine, iFinder provides a “classic” document-based view. The Contract Analyzer extends the functionalities of iFinder5 elastic, i.e. the classic full text search, additionally with AI-based content analytics functions and also provides a clause-based view. The intelligence of this software is capable of breaking contractual documents into clauses. The specialist lawyer is clearly presented with the relevant clauses and thus saves himself the long pages of reading contracts. The software makes contracts easier to analyze and functions as a smart reading aid. This saves time and therefore costs.

This clause recognition and listing of the individual contract components provides the company lawyer with the following possibilities of use:

  • Comparison of clauses of two different contracts,
  • Depositing optimally formulated clauses and comparing individual clauses with this optimal form, for example in order to uncover critical clauses and risks in existing contracts and to make recommendations for action or to clarify the change of a specific contract clause beforehand when renegotiating a framework contract.
  • Comparison of two documents to quickly detect changes between old and new processing status,
  • Search-driven use cases at document level,
  • Clause-oriented search, e.g. to check all exclusivity clauses of a dataset – and not to have to search the individual contracts first,
  • Monitoring of website content, guidelines, federal laws or standards,
  • Forensic search for the self-analysis of data relevant to the investigation.

Enterprise Search applications therefore offer intelligent help for the processing of contracts beyond the classic full-text search. Depending on the scenario, specialist lawyers can use the application as a mere search solution for searching for specific contracts or clauses, or extend the scope of functions with the Contract Analyzer with Content Analytics features that also recognize and list clauses or monitor websites for changes.

The Author

Franz Kögl
Franz Kögl is co-founder and co-owner of IntraFind Software AG and has almost 20 years experience in Enterprise Search and Content Analytics.
Franz Kögl