At OECHSLER, a pioneering spirit is deep in the DNA. Founded in 1864 as a small bone button maker in Ansbach, Franconia, the company is now a leader in the field of plastic, ceramic and metal injection moulding. It supplies customers worldwide in the automotive industry, medical technology, consumer goods and sporting goods, among others.
OECHSLER has always been among the first companies to adapt to new technologies and therefore make innovation possible. This is also evident in their legal department, where Stud. Law. Anna Heidner works as a student trainee. In this interview, the young lawyer talks about why OECHSLER decided to use artificial intelligence for NDA contract reviews and how this is changing the way the legal and sales department work together from the ground up.
Ms. Heidner, OECHSLER has been using Legartis for NDA contract review for a month now. Do you still remember the time before Legartis?
Of course! I especially remember how the work in the legal department often piled up. One of my main tasks here at the Ansbach location is to review non-disclosure agreements with potential customers and suppliers. With seven production sites worldwide, OECHSLER is international through and through. As a result, a lot of contracts accumulate that need to be sifted through and managed.
In the legal department, however, there are only two lawyer positions and me as a working student. Therefore, it’s only to be expected that there are delays in reviewing non-disclosure agreements. However, the sales department in particular depends on us reviewing the NDAs of potential clients carefully and efficiently. Only then can the evaluation of possible business relationships begin. We have always struggled to get the contracts back to our internal clients in the allotted time and not keep anyone waiting. Let's put it this way: the workload was very high before Legartis!
How did OECHSLER decide to relieve the legal department with AI?
At first, we weren’t explicitly looking for artificial intelligence. It was simply not on our radar. At the time, we didn’t realise that Legal AI could greatly improve our previously rather inefficient contract review. However, our Head of Legal, Peter Dorscht, is always open to new approaches. He became aware of Legartis at a conference.
He found the concept of automated contract review on the basis of AI logical and very appealing. He realised that this software could support us and speed up the review and turnaround time of contract processing, especially of the numerous NDAs we have.
It was clear to us: If Legartis can do what it promises, we would benefit greatly from it. At OECHSLER, we believe in the potential of new technologies, so the internal hurdle was not a big one. We consulted with each other and decided to contact Legartis.
What tipped the scales in favour of Legartis?
Definitely the demonstration of the software. We were able to experience live what it is like to work with Legartis. We were particularly convinced by the fact that it’s so easy to use. The programme shows directly which passages need to be inserted and which of our standard clauses are missing.
With Legartis, it seemed possible to have the review of NDAs carried out within the specialist departments themselves, which would efficiently reduce the number of documents to be submitted to the legal department.The ideal solution for us!
All of the manual, time-consuming inspection work is replaced by AI-assisted workflows. We can therefore achieve excellent results with little effort. That is why we decided to use Legartis for the NDA contract type – it’s where we needed support the most.
New software always means a time investment for employees. How did the sales department take up the new plans?
Naturally, we were curious to see how the departments concerned would react to the new software. Our head of legal affairs took a lot of time beforehand talking to the responsible managers about their needs. From that, the following potential advantages emerged:
- Faster processing: "We no longer have to wait for the legal department and can get contracts back to our clients faster."
- Independence: "We can take contract review into our own hands and divide the work amongst ourselves."
- Legal security: "If there are problems or questions, we can always still call on the professionals in the legal department or be directly guided by the software."
How did the introduction of the new software go? What worked well for you?
The introduction went smoothly for us. Our account manager Mr. Henke showed all future users how to use the software by means of simulations. Everyone involved understood the software very quickly and rapidly gained the confidence to review NDAs themselves. It certainly helped that Legartis' contract review AI prescribes the test sequence and accompanies you every step of the way.
“Legartis is self-explanatory – after a short introduction, all users were able to get started straight away.”
I have two tips for companies planning to implement Legartis:
Limit user accounts: We currently have 10 Legartis users. This means that the same people review NDAs and subsequently gain expertise in them over time. It is not at all necessary for every single employee of the organisational units concerned to have their own account. The team can organise itself and distribute the tasks in such a way that the contracts are reviewed promptly by the persons trained in them.
Support the users: We in the legal department are always there when our colleagues have questions about the programme or get stuck with a contract. This gives everyone a good feeling and ultimately also ensures a high quality of contract review. AI is a helpful tool that structures and speeds up the work; however, it cannot replace the legal department.
What is your conclusion after one month of reviewing NDAs with Legartis?
Very positive. I have far fewer confidentiality agreements on my desk! Every now and then I help a user with the use of the software, but there have been no thematic queries as of now. We see the Legartis introduction as a complete success so far.
Personally, I get along very well with the programme. Legartis makes it easy to quickly record the essentials in a contract and work through the most important points chronologically. All important information is stored in the playbook for me; as a result, I always know where to look for it. This is not only important for users without a legal background, but also makes it easier for me to review contracts.
Another big plus is that I don't have to deal intensively with the software itself or lose time using it. With other software tools, you have to invest a lot of time before you can get any real benefit from it. This is different with Legartis, and so the software is actually a real help. My conclusion: I really like using Legartis because it makes my everyday work much easier.
As a prospective lawyer, how do you assess the potential of AI for future legal departments?
Currently, we only use Legartis for the review of NDAs. But I can imagine extending this to other types of contracts, such as quality assurance agreements. These are often very similar in form and content and therefore lend themselves well to an AI-based review.
For me, it is very exciting to work with future technologies such as AI and experience what the implementation of AI can do for employees. In the future, it will be crucial to process large volumes of contracts efficiently. I see enormous potential there, especially because skilled workers are scarce.
Therefore, Legartis is recommendable to any company that can no longer invest a large number of resources and manpower in checking standard contracts.
The interview was conducted verbally.