Why I joined Catylex. It’s the data, stupid.

I’ve had a twenty-year obsession with translating legal language – specifically, contract language – into data.

I’ve had a twenty-year obsession with translating legal language – specifically, contract language – into data.  It’s a problem we started to solve at Exari, but it’s a big and complicated problem, so we didn’t quite finish the swing.  Nonetheless, it’s a problem worth solving, and it’s a solvable problem. 

The need is beyond question. Business and legal teams know that many of their contracts contain hidden risks, errors, gaps and surprises.  They just don’t know which ones and how much damage will be caused if those particular deals blow up.  As stressful as this may be, the cost of having experts read every page and track every risk is prohibitively high, so they suck it up and hope for the best.  Maybe that scary indemnity will never be triggered.  Maybe those uncapped sales contracts never come to light.  Maybe that rogue MFN clause never hits your revenue projections.  Maybe that missing amendment was totally harmless.  

If a machine can find all these risky contract terms quickly and at a fraction of the cost, everyone wins.  The lawyers don’t lose sleep waiting for bad contracts to blow up.  The business can mitigate and manage the risks that come to light.  And the weak contract haircut doesn’t spoil your financials.  

Easy to say.  Very hard to do.   

Many of you have heard about magic contract AI.  Some of you may have tried it.  Most of it has been disappointing.  This does not mean the idea was doomed from the start.  It just means it wasn’t fully baked yet.  It takes plenty of science and art to get this bread to rise.   

One secret to building a contract data machine that works is a team with deep experience, knowledge and skills, spanning the legal, business and technical domains.  This is probably the most important ingredient.  Many will claim to have this multi-disciplinary depth.  Catylex has it.  A rare bunch of legal-language-business-data obsessives who are solving complexity so that you don’t have to.  You can just eat the results.  

So, I’m excited to join Catylex, where the dream of building a fully functional contract data machine is a shared obsession, and where the promise of such a machine is now becoming reality.  This might just be the best thing since sliced bread. 

Jamie Wodetzki, Chief Product Officer


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