Legal Tech (legal technology) is seen as one of the trends that will revolutionize the legal sector. In short, it refers to the use of technology and software to provide legal services.
There is a growing awareness that prior knowledge about certain resources can help students considerably in successfully fulfilling positions in the legal sector. In the following, we see that lessons related to specific software (in this case contract automation software) are increasingly being included in the curriculum.
During the past period, we interviewed two students. Both students used the Berkeley Publisher during their studies. We were very curious about their experiences and what influence they expect the use of decision-making software in their career will have.
Ruben while teaching in the Berkeley Publisher at the Faculty of Law.
This week you will read the experiences of Ruben Bijvank (22), a recently graduated law student at the University of Applied Sciences Avans/Fontys in Tilburg, the Netherlands. During his thesis, he built a (decision tree based) application to generate fully ready-to-use leases. Ruben scored an excellent 9.0 (A) with his thesis!
He worked out the decision trees in the Berkeley Publisher. This is software that creates decision trees in a visual way and can then be made available to a large audience. Ruben also distributes his knowledge by teaching in the Berkeley Publisher at Avans/Fontys.
We have asked Ruben a number of questions to gain a better understanding of how he deployed the decision-making software from Berkeley Bridge.
Q: How were you introduced to the Berkeley Publisher?
A: The Introduction to the Berkeley Publisher was organized by the University. A teacher told about the studio and it’s possibilities. Then he asked who was interested in taking a course about using the studio of Berkeley Bridge. I thought this could be useful in the future, so I signed up.
Q: How did you learn the software?
A: I learned to use the software during my internship at Van Loon Advocaten. My mentor, who knows all ins and outs of the studio, showed me how to it. Then the daily use of it brought me further up to speed. Every time I encountered a problem I couldn’t immediately solve, my mentor explained how to get the job done.
Q: What do you think is the best way to get acquainted with de Publisher?
A: I believe the best way to master this project is to practice a lot. Next to that, you should take complex situations right on, since that’s the best way to find out how the model works.
Q: How did you apply the Publisher to your thesis?
A: My thesis is based on both the Publisher itself as well as the result that was produced with it. I used it to build a decision tree for creating a rental agreement for business spaces (so-called ‘230a-Bedrijfsruimte’). The decision tree is able to produce a complete ready to use rental contract.
Q: What do you think are the benefits of the Publisher in education?
A: A major benefit is the fact that building a decision tree requires a lot of research in the subject at hand. If that research is not done properly or incomplete the resulting decision tree will produce incorrect results. In that sense building a decision tree is a perfect way of acquiring the underlying knowledge of the contract. So, in that way our analytics skills are sharpened.
Q: In what studies do you think the Publisher can be applied?
A: That is a tough question. I think the Publisher can be used for a variety of purposes. You’re actually asking where decision trees could be applied. If decision trees make sense, so does the Berkeley Publisher.
Q: What do you think are the benefits of the Publisher in business?
A: The benefits for business are quite obvious as I found out during my thesis:
- Once developed, models save a lot of time producing legal, structured documents;
- The accuracy is almost a 100%, contrary to documents constructed by copying and pasting blocks of text;
- The ability to produce consistent documents.
The more complexity you need to handle, the more value Publisher will add.
Q: What are your short-term plans?
A: My plan for this year is to graduate and to fill the time that is left by working. Next year I want to pursue my Master’s Degree at Tilburg University
Q: Are you going to apply the Publisher to your next study/business life? If so, how?
A: It will probably take a while, but in business life, I definitely would add the Publisher to my toolkit. Especially in the Legal Practice, Publisher will bring the next level in automation to a business that is currently just using Word processors.
We would like to thank Ruben for his contribution and wish him good luck during his next study and in his future career.
In practice, average contracts (such as confidentiality agreements, employment contracts, settlement agreements and/or lease agreements) consist about 95% of standard work and 5% of custom work. Professionals usually spend a lot of valuable time on standard work. The automatic drafting of documents offers professionals the opportunity to concentrate on their core activities, namely giving advice and paying attention to complex matters.
Does this mean that everyone has to fully focus on document automation? In the year 2018, it is certainly wise to familiarize yourself with automation. But you don’t have to develop the tool yourself or spend a lot of time on it. There are many students who create automation tools during their studies and would like to transfer this knowledge to law firms, corporate lawyers or notaries. Curious about the possibilities? Then contact Berkeley Bridge to jointly study the possibilities for collaboration with students.