LegalTech Soapbox: Make your digital contracts consistent with Summize.

On our LegalTech Soapbox is the dynamic Tom Dunlop. He tells us through his interesting journey into law and why he founded Summize. Let's get right into it...

1. Hi Tom, tell us a little about yourself and the story behind Summize.

My entrepreneurial journey is unique and, perhaps, unexpected. I started as a professional badminton player. I was part of the GB program and was on the way to participating in the Olympics. However, I studied law at university as a backup.

Ultimately, I decided to go down the legal route after hanging up my racquet, becoming a fully qualified lawyer. I worked as a General Counsel at several tech and SaaS businesses for most of my legal career.


Every day, I experienced the challenges legal teams face with manual contract processes. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t argue the case for shorter, simpler contracts, but the reality is that they are getting longer and more complex. I still remember the piles of paper and all the manual checks I’d have to carry out, and I just thought, “there must be a better way.”  


Summize was founded by me and experienced Software Developer David Smith for this very reason. We wanted technology to bring simplicity back to contracting and help businesses unlock the value (and control the risk) of what’s in their contracts.  


2. What are the services/products that Summize provides? What makes you stand out from the crowd?


Summize is the world’s first Integrated Contract Lifecycle Management solution. It uses familiar tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack as its user interface for internal business interactions with legal contracts. This makes processes smarter, faster, and more productive. It’s digital contracting, done differently. 


Since starting Summize in 2018, the initial idea and product has evolved significantly, reacting to the changing ways of working in the pandemic and focusing on integrating with the “virtual office” (Teams, Slack, Office365) rather than creating another all-in-one standalone platform for contracts. Summize has become a full Contract Lifecycle Management solution, with a unique and disruptive approach that has seen impressive results.

We have also recently integrated OpenAI to bring the power of the ChatGPT language model to our contract summaries.   The integration of ChatGPT alongside Summize’s technology can create a “super summary” of contracts, using the context from Summize and the power of ChatGPT’s natural language capabilities.  

3. How does it help optimise the daily operations of a legal team? 

Every business transaction requires a contract; it’s been that way for years. Large organisations manage an average of 350 contracts weekly, with in-house lawyers spending 85 working days a year reviewing them! In fact, the IACCM estimates that it costs up to $50,000 to create a complex contract. So, simplifying and speeding things up with technological innovation makes a big difference in business outcomes.  


Summize uses AI-powered technology to produce digital contract summaries, bringing to life what’s inside each document and making the entire contract process faster. In fact, Summize can save users up to 85% of their time when they use it to review contracts.


It is often described as a “game-changer” for businesses unaware of the risks and opportunities inside their contracts. Summize is solving a genuine business challenge smartly and innovatively.


4. What do you believe will be the most significant change in how legal teams use technology in the next 10 years?


As legal teams embrace and adopt digital transformation, they can become more data led. This lets them become a true powerhouse of strategic value, central to driving business efficiency and providing efficient commercial protection.


The value of spotting opportunities in commercial agreements should be recognised at a business level, particularly in the current economic climate. For example, it enables companies to negotiate more favourable payment terms to keep cash and improve liquidity. Therefore, we must move the legal department up the value chain if we genuinely want to benefit from their talent and expertise. By harnessing the power of technology, we can do this much more quickly and collaboratively.


We will also see in-house legal teams continue to diversify their skillsets and backgrounds. With widening entry to the profession and relatively new categories of Legal Ops, project management and legal engineers, legal departments will take a different shape. In doing so, they will become true business partners to the wider organisation. Legal will begin to be seen as enablers for efficiency and true commercial advisors, all in an efficient and automated way.