Automated review of Customer Contracts – Stantec Case Study
Experience faster contract reviews, improved risk outcomes, and enhanced efficiency with Tiro, the AI-powered automated contract review software - Stantec's case study reveals groundbreaking results.
June 26, 2023
Automated review of Customer Contracts
Stantec is a world leading multi-disciplinary consultancy services company providing a range of services including design, engineering, environmental services to a range of clients across different industries. With over 26,000 employees working in over 400 locations across 6 continents, Stantec is solving some of the world’s toughest design and engineering challenges.
Victoria Hall-Sturt, who looks after Stantec’s legal services outside of North America, approached Lexical Labs to explore whether Tiro - its AI powered automated contract review software could solve some of their contracting challenges.
In its first year, starting off in the UK contracts reviewing team, Tiro has reviewed over 250 contracts.
The Story of Stantec
Stantec was founded in 1954 in Canada and has a global track record in design and engineering projects, including the Panama Canal expansion.
Stantec is at the forefront of solving challenges in areas and sectors as diverse as buildings, cities, the environment and climate change, COVID19 and pandemic management, energy and resources, technology and water management. With designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.
Its people are passionate about turning ideas into solutions. This ethos runs through the company, including the legal team across Global comprising a team of around 20 staff.
Contracts are at the heart of Stantec’s relationships with its customers. Victoria’s UK based team will handle around 1,000 bespoke contracts per year that embed new business projects and opportunities in the UK. The teams in Asia Pacific however will deal with over 2,000 bespoke contracts a year and to that you need to add the Middle East and Latin America reviewing.
The company is renowned for excellent delivery and customer satisfaction, always responding to the customer needs. Victoria’s team has the same ethos right from the moment a new opportunity arises, making the negotiation process as quick, convenient and customer centric as possible, whilst respecting its own risk policies.
Whilst Stantec’s approach is a preference to contract on its own terms or on unamended industry standard terms, they do have to adapt to the competitive market place meaning that many of the contracts it has to review are drafted by its customers. These contracts come in many shapes, sizes and lengths which puts significant strain on the small legal team to review them in a timely manner.
The contracts team review each contract and produce two key outputs:
A checklist of key points for the business team which will assist both their negotiation of the contract and the management of the contract and delivery of the service after signature.
Suggested revisions to the contract which align with Stantec’s key risk and contracting policies.
Previously, each review might take around one hour for a typical 50-page contract.
Why Stantec Chose Tiro from Lexical Labs
Stantec was looking for a contract automation tool that would accelerate the review process, promote better risk outcomes and would digitise the contracting process. They wanted their small contracts team to handle more contracts, faster and with more consistency. Ideally, the system would help train their junior team members and empower them to handle more complex cases.
The contracts vary in length and levels of complexity.
The key reasons for selecting Tiro were:
The ability to review ‘inbound’ contracts - Stantec mainly handles contracts based on their customer’s templates and standard forms - in which clauses and concepts can be worded in many different ways. This differentiates Tiro from many AI contract systems which often don’t handle ‘inbound contracts well’.
Customisable playbook - Tiro can be set-up with a digital contract playbook that contains Stantec’s key requirements and policies.
Variable formats – It was vital that Tiro could easily work on contracts in both PDF and Word formats.
High levels of accuracy - Stantec needed a system that can accurately compare clauses and wording to their own playbook. Tiro risks scores and summarises each issue and presents all the relevant clauses in an easy user interface. Also, being machine learning based, Tiro’s accuracy can be continuously improved.
Guidance - Tiro provides guidance to junior team members on important contracting issues.
Augmentation not replacement - Stantec’s contract review requires high levels of judgment so that Stantec’s and its customer’s needs are properly balanced. Tiro does the heavy lifting of reading dense contracts, offers solutions but leaves the judgment on what to change to the reviewer. It speeds up but doesn’t replace the reviewer.
The ability to work with Tiro to improve the types of contracts that Lexical labs can review such as industry standard contracts and frameworks.
Speed of upload – Tiro reviews the contracts rapidly, a system that is too slow defeats the object.
How Lexical Labs Responded
During the initial phase Lexical Labs seconded one of its legal engineers to Stantec’s contract team, assisting the contract review and introducing automation gradually. Tiro was customised to reflect Stantec’s contracting rules and its workflow. Regular training and guidance was given to the team. In this way Tiro was introduced seamlessly without any ‘big bang’ change.
After the initial phase, the Stantec team requested a number of improvements and feature enhancements. Lexical Labs worked through this roadmap and deployed improvements regularly. This is still ongoing.
Users are also able to give feedback on accuracy and improve the AI over time.
We also worked collaboratively with Victoria and other team members to adapt Tiro to users’ needs and overcome any resistance to change that arose during the implementation of the technology. Using software to review contracts, particularly contracts in negotiation, is cutting edge and revolutionary and can only be accomplished by winning the trust of its users. This has been a key focus of the project.
The results to date have been encouraging. Contract review times have been reduced and the use of Tiro has allowed contract reviewers to focus their time on key contractual clauses.
Tiro has returned a good level of accuracy in two areas, being the ability to find and present the relevant clauses in a contract and the ability to analyse and summarise those clauses.
The project is also an important milestone in the digital and data transformation of Stantec’s legal group. Contracts reviewed by Tiro are digitised and can be easily searched and valuable data insights obtained and shared.
Stantec and Lexical Labs are now working together to deploy Tiro to contract teams in other countries.
‘Tiro’s automated review is based around a digital checklist of watch points that closely mirrors the way we review contracts. We have the ability to make Tiro bespoke to our needs and incorporate our company specific clauses. We have been pleased with the level of support from the team and their swift response and attention following our feedback’.
‘Reviewing a contract through Tiro has reduced the time spent on reviewing which allows the team to focus on other contractual issues. The reassurance that key terms will have been identified by Tiro is also useful when a team needs to move at speed to deal with the volume.’
Can Tiro help you?
Does your team spend significant time manually reviewing ‘inbound’ contracts on your counter-party’s terms? Click https://lexicallabs.com/ to find out how Tiro can accelerate review, free-up time of contract specialists and achieve better risk outcomes?
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