Why law firms in the energy space should use sector-specific technology

The U.S. energy sector is currently undergoing a period of seismic change. In oil and gas, a major Alaska oil project has been given the green light, and drilling rights are again being auctioned in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. In the renewables space, landmark federal legislation in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is providing major incentives to spur a renewable energy boom across the country.

This rapid growth and regulatory complexity — including new power sector pollution regulations — present new legal challenges for operators. Herein lies an opportunity for law firms in the energy space. But as 50% of buyers have adjusted their legal firm roster in the last 12 months, this is no time to be complacent about a boom in business.

To truly compete and add value to energy clients, firms should harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) within Document Intelligence to differentiate themselves.

Prebuilt AI models allow bespoke solutions around energy law

Energy law firms could soon expect to handle a substantial uptick in contracts. In the past, small numbers could be done manually on individual spreadsheets, but associates could soon become overwhelmed.

“The energy industry is becoming really open to AI-powered tech and all its potential,” says John Gottshall, Senior Subject Matter Expert at Thomson Reuters. “At a recent event, I heard one panel member saying, ‘We can’t be managing thousands of contracts in an Excel spreadsheet.’ Companies need tools designed to manage contracts and extract value from them. This is a huge opportunity for firms.” 

But not all AI is created equal. “A key pain point for many firms is having to train their own models,” says John. Document Intelligence is designed specifically for energy practice groups, trained in energy law, and constantly improved. 

Thomson Reuters Practical Law editors and energy experts train Document Intelligence’s AI models — and in the past year, we’ve quadrupled the number of attorneys training those models.

Energy law-specific models are already built out and work right out of the box.

Oil and gas models recognize over 1,000 provisions across energy agreements, including:

  • Leases
  • Right-of-way agreements
  • Operating agreements
  • Deeds and assignments
  • JV agreements

Renewable energy models recognize over 800 distinct elements from contracts, such as:

  • Power Purchase Agreements
  • Interconnection Agreements
  • Renewables leases
  • Other renewables contracts

Because Document Intelligence recognizes over 1,000 energy law-specific contract terms — and Optical Character Recognition can also scan drawings or permit documents, for example — you can start your due diligence analysis with preset common terms and build out your analytical framework in bespoke ways for your clients.

What does Document Intelligence allow lawyers to do?

Document Intelligence enables lawyers to efficiently access, understand, and advise on the critical information of a client’s governing document. It underpins best practices that enhance the client experience in a variety of situations:

  • Consistent interpretation of clauses
  • Streamlined review of large contract sets during transactions and beyond
  • Class action and litigation response

That means you can confidently advise your client during transactional due diligence, regulatory counseling, and in many other situations, with the ability to surface crucial information in a matter of seconds.

This technology also recognizes contractual areas that aren’t typically captured but can soon become important, such as executive and cumulative limitations. It can ensure all clauses are populated correctly in a set of documents. With a Microsoft Word plugin, it can review documents to reduce risk during the negotiation stage, isolate comments in the sidebar, and jump to the relevant section to update or amend text.

How are energy companies using Document Intelligence?

Our 80+ customers typically use this technology in asset management to keep documents organized and enable quick access and queries, and in due diligence to scan and identify any fatal flaws or reasons not to acquire an asset.

Below are some specific examples:

Imported solar panels

Energy companies must know the exact terms of supply agreements and the impact of tariff changes or legislation such as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

Trusted document data

Spreadsheets can become detached from sources of truth with stale, static data. Using Document Intelligence, data is much more reliable and dynamic.

Emergency response

Energy companies can review and send out force majeure notices faster, which enables quicker focus back on crews on the ground and getting back online.

One emerging area is companies realizing the importance of mutual success as they work together towards a goal of a cleaner energy future. This goal drives more collaboration and shared risk in the face of hard-to-quantify challenges such as Panel Tariffs, UFLPA, and interconnection difficulties.

“Knowing what is in contracts allows for you to better have discussions and negotiations with the other companies you work with in order to reach a mutually successful outcome,” says John. Document Intelligence makes this process fast, efficient, and scalable.

Benefits for your energy law firm

  • Join a group of over 80 energy corporations that trust our technology
  • Reduce unbillable hours
  • Get deals done faster
  • Save time and money while passing the savings on to your clients
  • Handle much bigger caseloads
  • Harness energy law-specific models
  • Get up and running straight away

AI that works on day one

With an increase in the pace of trade and the extent of legislation in energy, now is the time to onboard energy-specific tech in your firm. See what Document Intelligence could do for you and your clients with a live demonstration from one of our subject matter experts.

Leverage energy-specific AI

Learn how Document Intelligence can help your firm confidently navigate the energy sector while offering expedited and more comprehensive services