AI and Commercial Property: Are AI powered transactions the future?

The success of ChatGPT has catapulted casual artificial intelligence use into reality. With the platform boasting over 100 million active monthly users and, only continuing to grow, its development is forcing many industries to take AI seriously.

Up until recently, AI systems were relatively limited in their use. They were designed to automate existing processes, responding to X input in Y way with Y being determined at the development point. The advent of ChatGPT has caused a shift away from automation to a generative AI model, with AI systems now capable of creating their own outputs.

This, in turn, has had a drastic impact on the usefulness of AI to law firms. Commercial Property lawyers now have a vast array of new tools at their fingertips that have the potential to speed up tasks, reduce work costs and ultimately revolutionise transactions.

Relativity, for example, is a widely used platform. It is designed specifically to assist with e-discovery and document review – a crucial part of the ‘due diligence’ phase of a transaction. Relativity can review data sets for specific terms, flag material related to specific legal issues and identify ‘hot documents’, likely to be crucial to the transaction.

Following the worldwide shift in focus to GenAI, Relativity has developed its platform further. Relativity aiR can provide detailed reasoning for each result it produces, including supporting case citations and cross-links between other documents. It can, during a review, create its own search criteria, predicting what the user may want to see and pre-empting their input. By reducing the time burden of due diligence, Relativity undoubtedly has the potential to streamline property transactions, particularly in portfolio sales where there are significant volumes of documentation involved.

Avail is another platform that takes things a step further. It is specifically geared to assist with Commercial Property transactions. As well as having products geared towards assisting Title and Lease reporting, they are currently developing products to assist with analysis of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) documents and to generate break notices. AvailLease allows users to analyse leases for legal risk, extract key clauses for reporting, decipher handwriting and generate succinct summaries. It has reporting functionality (on both word and spreadsheet) and is integrated with ChatGPT. AvailTitle has the same functionality, with the ability to search and purchase Land Registry documents and automate daylist searching.

The use of platforms like Avail, which are specifically intended for use in the context of Property transactions, significantly reduces the time fee earners need to spend on traditionally more time-consuming tasks. Avail is also designed to clearly flag risk in documents, enabling lawyers to inform clients of potential problems, without the client incurring a hefty bill.

Orbital Witness is another platform geared towards Property lawyers and professionals. It has multiple functions that cover each phase of a Commercial Property transaction. The most significant of these are listed below;

  • Visualise – displays plans, maps and data layers, allowing lawyers to easily understand title boundaries, unregistered land, highway locations and any planning permissions.
  • Review – similar to Relativity in that it is geared towards document review and due diligence but differs in the sense that it is purpose-built for property due diligence. Like Avail it can check and summarise title documents, deeds and leases but it goes further, boasting an ability to reliably review any property document for red flags. Crucially it can go as far as identifying where mortgage lender requirements haven’t been met. With its ‘Explain’ function providing detailed citations and showing workings so red flags can be promptly reported with minimal investigation from the lawyer.
  • Summarise – key provisions of documents are automatically summarised into plain English, allowing lawyers to share information with clients without first translating.
  • Report – Orbital Witness can generate a customisable and editable report in a matter of minutes, identifying what information a Client may be interested in. If the report doesn’t cover something you think it should, for example, a table of all tenants, the Query function can generate additional information almost instantly.

Each of the platforms are used by Magic Circle, Silver Circle and industry-leading law firms. With testimonials highlighting their convenience, their contribution to greater efficiency and the positive impact use has had on client experience collectively they are disrupting the way Property lawyers carry out their work. As AI continues to develop in reliability and ability, powered Property transactions are no longer a ‘what if’ but a ‘when’.

If you have any questions about property transactions, Geldards Commercial Property team is happy to help.

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