A version of this post was originally published on Open.ai
When Jason Boehmig and Cai GoGwilt founded Ironclad to bring contracts into the digital age, the company was actually called Ironclad AI. As that first name implied, Ironclad has always had a vision of AI changing the way legal teams work on contracts. So when company engineers started seriously exploring GPT-3, they immediately saw the technology’s potential to bring more of that vision to life.
“One of our legal engineers was introduced to GPT-3 in mid-2022 and realized it could create quite convincing contract language,” GoGwilt, now Ironclad’s Chief Architect, said. As the Ironclad team began an R&D effort to incorporate GPT-3’s generative AI technology into their digital contracting products, they quickly honed in on exactly what they were impressed by.
“It seemed to obey instructions really well. And at the time, no other generative AIs had really gone to that length before,” GoGwilt said. While Ironclad’s engineers found similar capabilities in other LLMs they experimented with, none were fully on par with GPT.
Not half a year later Ironclad launched a beta of its first generative AI application, AI Assist™. Developed in close partnership with OpenAI, AI Assist™ empowers users to automate legal review and identify and redline irregularities in contracts. The product also offers up pre-approved clauses and language guidelines based on company-specific AI Playbooks on the Ironclad platform, and supports ChatGPT-style text prompting.
An unprecedented boost for legal teams
Ironclad’s goal in using AI has always been to help people do more, not to replace them with technology. GoGwilt recalled the initial excitement within his legal engineering team as they saw what GPT could do for contracting. “There was the first moment of the team saying, ‘Wow, this is producing work at the level of a first year associate,’” he said. That initial buzz pushed the team into prototyping, soon after which their second “Wow” moment came. “Integrating GPT into our contract editor and just seeing how seamless and powerful it felt made it pretty easy for us to invest further into productizing and getting it to customers,” GoGwilt added.
Originally built on GPT-3, the AI Assist™ beta opened right before the launch of GPT-4, OpenAI’s most advanced large language model to date. Ironclad ported AI Assist™ to GPT-4 immediately, and announced the general availability of AI Assist™ in April 2023. Human oversight is baked into the workflow, giving users the ability to accept or reject all automated suggestions, and turn AI functionality off entirely as appropriate. Ironclad also worked with OpenAI to create a do not train provision to keep user data private. “None of our customers’ legal documents or legal queries are going to be used to train the next version of GPT,” GoGwilt said.
“The results with AI Assist™ have been beyond what we could even have imagined,” said Ironclad CEO Jason Boehmig. “An initial pass at contract redlining usually takes about 40 minutes. With AI Assist™, we’re seeing users complete them in two minutes.” To date, AI Assist™ has quickly become one of Ironclad’s most rapidly adopted features.
A tipping point in the legal field
“We’ve reached a tipping point in the legal field where lawyers will start to become exponentially more effective through AI,” said Stephen Myers, VP, Head of Legal at People.ai, an Ironclad customer. “I’ve tested other generative AI negotiation tools, and Ironclad is leaps and bounds beyond what others are offering. AI Assist™ does the heavy lifting during contract review and allows me to put my legal knowledge to use in a more streamlined, efficient way.”
Generative AI continues to advance rapidly, and Ironclad’s R&D teams remain hard at work developing new features for AI Assist™ and the rest of the Ironclad platform. GoGwilt was careful to point out that while the breakneck pace of AI advances might feel daunting, now’s the perfect time for Ironclad customers, and the knowledge industry as a whole, to dive in. “Don’t be afraid to bite the bullet,” he said. “It’s not just like you caught it or you missed it. Generative AI is a sea change that’s here to stay and change so many industries.”
Ironclad is not a law firm, and this post does not constitute or contain legal advice. To evaluate the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability of the ideas and guidance reflected here, or the applicability of these materials to your business, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Use of and access to any of the resources contained within Ironclad’s site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the user and Ironclad.