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In today's fast-evolving legal landscape, the distinction between a review contract lawyer and a general counsel has become increasingly significant. With the advent of legal AI and technological advancements; so has understanding these roles and their usage of LegalTech. This article aims to demystify these positions, highlighting how both play pivotal roles within the legal ecosystem of a business, albeit with different focuses and tools at their disposal.

The legal profession is undergoing a transformation, largely driven by the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and innovative software solutions. These technologies are reshaping how legal services are delivered, for companies that have to regularly review, negotiate and analyse contacts. Two such critical roles are the review contract lawyer, who specialises in scrutinising contracts, and the general counsel, who oversees a company's entire legal framework.

Whilst not all companies are in the position or require both roles, and some merge into one, they are still integral to the legal health of an organisation but differ markedly in their focus and day-to-day responsibilities. When considering the LegalTech space; knowing the key drivers for each role is crucial for optimising legal teams and leveraging technology, such as AI contract review and contract management software, to its fullest potential.

Role and Expertise of a Review Contract Lawyer

A review contract lawyer specialises in the examination and analysis of contracts to ensure they serve the best interests of their client, identifying potential legal issues and negotiating terms to avoid future disputes. Their role is highly specialised, focusing narrowly on contracts' legal soundness and compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

The emergence of AI to review documents and contracts has significantly impacted this role, enabling lawyers to conduct thorough reviews with greater efficiency and accuracy. By utilising contract review software and legal document automation, these professionals can streamline the review process, ensuring that contracts are not only legally robust but also aligned with the client's objectives and risk profile.

Role and Expertise of a General Counsel

In contrast, a general counsel serves as the chief legal officer of a company, providing guidance on a wide range of legal and strategic issues. This role encompasses overseeing the organisation's legal compliance, managing risk, advising on corporate governance, and leading internal legal teams. General counsels must possess a broad knowledge of law and business, enabling them to make decisions that affect the entire organisation.

General counsels increasingly rely on technology, such as contract analysis and legal AI, to inform their decision-making processes. These tools allow them to manage contracts effectively, automate routine legal tasks, and focus on strategic legal considerations that require their expertise.

Key Differences Between the Two Roles

The roles of a review contract lawyer and a general counsel are distinct, each contributing uniquely to the legal health and strategic direction of an organisation. Understanding these differences is crucial for leveraging their skills effectively.

Specialisation vs. Generalisation

  • Review Contract Lawyer: Specialises in contract law, focusing exclusively on reviewing, drafting, and negotiating contracts. Their expertise lies in ensuring that every contract adheres to legal standards and serves the client's best interests without exposing them to unnecessary risk.
  • General Counsel: Has a broader remit, overseeing all legal aspects of the company. This includes compliance, litigation, corporate governance, and advising on strategic business initiatives. Their role requires a comprehensive understanding of various legal domains beyond contract law.

Use of Technology 

  • Review Contract Lawyer: Past processes of reading and redlining page by page, are being noticeably overtaken by new trends of AI contract review and contract management software to enhance efficiency and accuracy in contract review and analysis. These tools allow them to perform in-depth reviews at scale, identifying potential issues and inconsistencies that may require renegotiation.
  • General Counsel: Utilises a wider array of legal technology tools, including legal document automation and AI to review documents. These technologies support a range of functions, from simplifying document drafting to managing the company's entire legal database, facilitating better decision-making and strategic planning.

Focus and Objectives

  • Review Contract Lawyer: Primarily concerned with the micro-level details of contracts, ensuring that each clause serves the client's needs and protects their interests.
  • General Counsel: Focuses on the macro-level impact of legal decisions and strategies on the company's overall health and success. They must balance legal considerations with business objectives, often making complex decisions that affect various parts of the organisation.

The Impact of AI and Technology on Both Roles

The introduction of AI and technology in the legal field has significantly impacted both review contract lawyers and general counsels. AI contract review, legal document automation, and contract analysis tools have become indispensable, offering unprecedented efficiencies and insights.

For Review Contract Lawyers:

  • AI Contract Review and contract management software streamline the review process, reducing the time spent on manual reviews and allowing lawyers to focus on more complex negotiations and strategic aspects of contract drafting.
  • Legal AI tools enhance accuracy in identifying potential legal issues, minimising risks, and improving contract outcomes.

For General Counsels:

  • Legal document automation reduces the time and resources required for routine legal documents, allowing the legal department to allocate more attention to strategic issues.
  • AI to review documents and contract analysis tools provide deep insights into contractual obligations and risks across the company, enabling better risk management and compliance strategies.


Understanding the nuanced differences between a review contract lawyer and a general counsel is vital for any business aiming to navigate the complex legal landscape effectively. As AI and technology continue to evolve, these roles are looking to leverage legal tech to its fullest potential. By recognising the unique contributions of each position, companies can ensure a robust legal framework that supports their strategic objectives and mitigates risk.

As legal AI technologies like AI contract review and legal document automation become more sophisticated, the potential for these roles to collaborate and drive legal innovation becomes increasingly significant. Embracing these advancements will not only enhance the efficiency and accuracy of legal processes but also empower legal teams to contribute more strategically to business success.

Frequently asked questions

What is AI contract review?

AI contract review refers to the use of artificial intelligence technology to examine and analyse contracts. This technology automates the process of identifying key clauses, obligations, and potential risks within contracts, significantly improving speed, accuracy, and efficiency compared to traditional manual review methods. By leveraging AI, businesses can ensure their contracts are compliant with relevant laws and regulations, minimising legal risks.

How does contract management software benefit legal teams?

Contract management software streamlines the entire contract lifecycle, from creation and execution to analysis and renewal. For legal teams, this means reduced administrative burdens, improved compliance tracking, and enhanced ability to manage contractual risks. It facilitates better collaboration, version control, and access to critical contract data, enabling legal professionals to make informed decisions more swiftly.

Can AI review documents with the same accuracy as a human lawyer?

AI can review documents with remarkable accuracy and to a consistent standard, especially for standard contracts and routine legal documents. It excels in identifying patterns, standard clauses, and deviations from norms. However, complex legal reasoning and nuanced judgment still require human oversight. AI serves as a powerful tool to augment the capabilities of human lawyers, allowing them to focus on strategic decision-making and complex negotiations.

What role does legal document automation play in legal operations?

Legal document automation plays a critical role in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of legal operations. It automates the drafting of routine legal documents, reducing the time and potential for errors associated with manual drafting. This allows legal teams to allocate more resources to higher-value activities, such as strategic planning and complex legal analysis. Automation also ensures consistency and compliance across all legal documents.

Why is contract analysis important for businesses?

Contract analysis is crucial for businesses to understand their contractual obligations, rights, and the potential risks associated with their agreements. It enables businesses to make informed decisions, manage risks effectively, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Through thorough contract analysis, businesses can identify opportunities for negotiation, cost savings, and performance improvement, ultimately supporting their strategic goals and protecting their interests.