The Story behind Lexical Labs an interview with Simon Black

14/04/2021

Lexical labs - your virtual in-house contract lawyer. A solution that simplifies your contract negotiation with intelligent review software. That's how they describe themselves, but in order to understand more about Lexical Labs and the people behind the company we have meet-up with Simon Black Chief Commercial Officer of Lexical Labs. 


First thanks for being with us and giving us some background about lexical labs and your amazing solution.

Simon, what is the story behind Lexical labs? 

"My co-founders Liam Gilchrist and Will Becker founded the company back in 2016. They were previously at school together in Australia but went their separate ways into law and AI and software development respectively before reuniting. I joined in 2018. The core idea behind Lexical Labs is that humans and machines working together can make contract review quicker, frictionless and data driven and the people happier as a consequence. It needed lawyers and computer scientist to work together to achieve this".

Working as a partner within a big law firm, what is your experience using this type of solutions, as well how did you work with this type of questions or tasks that your system now is solving or supporting?

"I spent 25 years doing M&A and finance deals until 2017. To be honest, we didn't use these types of tools much. Email, electronic filing and virtual data rooms were about the limit. Near the end of my time, we started testing an AI contract review tool for big document due diligence exercises but did not deploy it. The technology was new and untested and, under the stress of a deal, we didn't feel we had enough time to train ourselves and the AI model.

Now it's a different story. Using artificial intelligence, Lexical Labs's Tiro system can read a draft contract as a human would and compare it to a 'playbook'. A playbook is a set of rules and policies on particular contract such as a service or IT contract which are specific to each customer have a lot of similarity with other customers in the same industry. We then help the reviewer find the right language to fix any problem areas and also to produce automated reports".

How would you like to describe Lexical Labs solution, and what field in the market are your targeting and solving?

"We work in the field of commercial contracts. This is the day to day work of most companies. Things like sales and procurement of goods, services and IT. Particularly, 'third party paper - contracts drafted by the other side to the contract. Third party paper is time consuming and painful because everything is so unfamiliar."

There are a few systems similar to yours on the market, how would you say Lexical labs differ? and what would be your main advantage?

"I think two points. First the digital contract playbook gives you everything you need to review, amend and report on the contract and getting the contract in line with your rules and policies. Second, users can access Tiro in their chosen environment. For example, users can launch Tiro directly in Microsoft Word."

Who would you say is your main target group, and how would their work benefit from using your solution?

"Its mainly sales and procurement teams in companies and the lawyers and contract managers that support them."

What have been the response from your customers so far?

"Very positive. They like the accuracy, the user experience and the contract playbook. It is easy to process contracts and all the data can be transferred into their systems."

Targeting in-house lawyers, sourcing and sales departments that all are working heavily with contracts, not limiting but highlighting which type of company would you say would benefit the most from using Lexical Labs solution?

"Probably two types as examples. The first is a manufacturing company that accepts the purchaser's terms when it sells. This might be because the customer is a large OEM who can insist on its own purchasing terms. The second is a company doing a lot of procurement on the supplier's draft terms." 

Functionality wise, what are your working on, what is next on Lexical Labs roadmap? Are there any particular functionality that you are working on that your customers will see in the near future?

"We will train the system on more complex contracts - potentially with hundreds of pages. We will also build-out the collaboration features so that team members can work together on contracts. This can empower business teams to drive their contracts with reduced need for review by legal colleagues. When needed that review can be quick and to the point."

Based on your experience and knowledge what do you see are the upcoming trends within your field?

"Increasing sophistication of the AI. We will ever decreasing time and effort to train the AI and onboard a customer. Also, just like e-signature has become in the pandemic, contract review tools will be a 'must have' for businesses."

Anything you would like to add in order for us to get a better understanding of Lexical Labs and your functionality?

"Just try it out!"

Thank you very much Simon for being with us and telling us about Lexical Labs and your software. Good luck and looking forward to work together with you to support your further expansion.

If you would like to know more about Lexical Labs and their solution send an email to Johan.danielsson@johoc.com or give us a call on +46 73 336 95 66 and we will give you some more information as well introduce you to Simon and the team at Lexical Labs