Ringier is a media and technology company headquartered in Zurich and active in Europe, Asia and Africa. The portfolio of the family-owned company includes around 130 subsidiaries within the areas of print, digital media, radio, ticketing, entertainment and e-commerce, as well as online marketplaces for cars, real estate and jobs.
For the company's legal department, such diversity means – above all else – numerous contracts that need to be examined. These include contracts concerning the marketing of media titles, media cooperations and the licensing of software, as well as contracts concerning the processing of personal data.
Laurence Hulliger, Head of Legal Commercial, IP & Technology, has over 100 data processing agreements (DPAs) on her to-do list every year. In this interview, she talks about how Legartis supports her in reviewing DPAs and what her vision of an AI-assisted legal department looks like.
Ms. Hulliger, why does your legal department rely on artificial intelligence for DPA contract review?
Data protection has always been an important topic for us. However, since the EU General Data Protection Regulation was introduced, and especially since the case law on the processing of personal data in third countries has become stricter, we’re experiencing a greatly increasing workload in our legal department. For one, new DPAs are constantly being added for review. For another, we currently have to insert the new EU standard contractual clauses into existing DPAs.
With our limited human resources, we’re reaching our limits here. Checking and processing every contract manually? That takes time. With legal AI, we hoped to be able to check the individual DPAs more efficiently and move forward faster. This way, we can create more time and space for other types of contracts and important tasks.
"DPA review is a relatively repetitive, time-consuming task that is perfect for the application of artificial intelligence."
We decided to use Legartis exclusively for DPA. Checking these contracts takes a lot of time and you have to pay close attention to the definitions and completeness. At the same time, DPAs always have a similar structure and are not particularly exciting in terms of content. Altogether, this makes them particularly suitable for review through the use of artificial intelligence.
Productivity and efficiency were important to you. From your point of view, are there any other reasons that speak for the use of AI?
It’s clear: avoiding potential errors during contract review and minimising associated risks. With the application of artificial intelligence, we gain valuable support which ensures that the DPAs are complete and contain all relevant clauses.
We opted for the automated contract review with Legartis to ensure the quality of our work through standardisation. This is where AI can add real value and reduce business risks.
How was your onboarding experience with Legartis?
It was very pleasant. I’ve never experienced such a high level of service. There was a one-to-one training session for each team member, where the Legartis employee spent a lot of time and patience addressing individual needs and questions.
Any questions that came up were answered promptly and then we were ready to go. The Legartis Word Add-in is self-explanatory and user-friendly. My team and I got on very well with it, right from the start. I would say that even for people who are not particularly IT-savvy, Legartis is very easy to use.
You have now been working with Legartis for around 2 months. What has been your initial experience with it in your everyday work?
It turns out that we’ve become more productive in auditing DPAs. And I have more fun doing it too! In the past, the DPA audit was a rather unpleasant task. Today, the threshold to start auditing a DPA is much lower, because the AI has already done most of the work when I first look at the contract.
Legartis provides me with a report and actionable tasks, which I then use to go through the contract. It's still work, of course, you still have to adjust the contract clauses after the review. It's an AI-assisted contract review, and every contract is a bit different. But revising the clauses is easier for me and the motivation is much higher.
"With Legartis, I can be sure that all mandatory DPA clauses are actually in the contract."
The Contract Playbook is a fantastic place for knowledge management. I don't always have all the standard DPA clauses in my head either; however, they’re stored in the playbook and the AI reminds me how a clause should read correctly.
"If I haven't worked on a DPA for some time, I forget some of the wording for contract clauses. The AI doesn't."
How many clauses does Legartis cover on average?
In our DPAs, Legartis covers about 75% of the clauses – a great result! Around 25% of clauses are not covered by the AI. These mostly fall into one of the following three categories:
- Formulations that are very Ringier-specific. We have numerous subsidiaries, which makes some issues legally very complex.
- Clauses that are named differently in the EU and in the US. Our American contractual partners use their own terms in some places, which the AI then doesn’t recognise.
What advantages do you have thanks to Legartis?
"Legartis relieves us and makes us more productive."
Legartis is a practical tool that makes DPA review easier for us in the legal department and brings quality gains. These are my top 5 benefits:
- Increased productivity in contract review: DPAs are now reviewed faster. If before Legartis it took me about 45 minutes to do a simple DPA, now I can do it in about 15-20 minutes.
- Superior quality: the AI works more reliably than we human employees can. It forgets nothing and makes no mistakes.
- Reduced business risk: Legartis reduces our business risk by showing us missing clauses.
- Even people with less experience can check DPAs: using standard clauses, Legartis provides the wording for the required clauses in the contract playbook.
- Ease of use: we used to have a checklist of clauses that I had to open up next to the DPA that I wanted to check. Now, everything is in one interface and I don't have to search for sample clauses anymore. The usability of Legartis has convinced me a lot.
What is your vision for the legal department of the future or what should AI be able to do in the future?
I assume that the performance of artificial intelligence will increase strongly in the next few years, and thus will also its added value for legal departments. In the future, AI will be helpful in accelerating especially routine tasks, supporting decision-making and helping keep quality high. In certain areas of legal consulting, AI definitely has enormous potential.
The interview was conducted verbally.
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