Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!
Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.
Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.
Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.
Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.
Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe
COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of people across the United States and devastate families, with its enormous impact on Black and Brown communities. People of color are infected and dying at higher rates than white individuals. Unemployment soars for Black communities, while it is starting to fall for white individuals. A study from Brown and Harvard universities shows, as a result of the pandemic, Black children are further behind in school compared to white children. The pandemic continues to lay bare how pervasively racism has infected every aspect of this country: health care, employment, education, housing, wealth and the legal systems. Lawyers have a special responsibility for these systems.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd’s murder rattled our collective conscience. The confluence of COVID-19 disproportionately harming people of color, with a heightened awareness of murders, like Mr. Floyd’s, implores change and compels action. Lawyers have a special responsibility for these systems and a role to play in changing them.
Structural racism was created intentionally, it is perpetuated deliberately, and it persists because of both action and inaction. For example, although in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court held “separate but equal” schools unconstitutional, and in 1991 the Ohio Supreme Court found the state’s system of funding schools through property taxes violates the Ohio constitution, the Ohio Legislature has failed to comply.
This country needs a period of “deconstruction” to end discriminatory policies. The urgency is different than in the past. Yet the enormity of the task — dismantling four centuries of racist laws, policies and practices — still threatens to paralyze white people. Lawyers must resist the path of denial, avoidance and accommodation, and embrace racial justice now.
Racial profiling, drug laws, sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, prosecutorial discretion and socioeconomic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. People of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. The Sentencing Project has found that even though Black people are no more likely to commit a crime than white people, Black people are more likely than white people to be arrested. Once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted, and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. A racist “justice” system suffocates Black people through incarceration and collateral consequences. Black people who are unfairly trapped by the “justice” system face health threats, lost opportunities, and denials and rejections based on criminal background. For example, a person in prison is two and a half times more likely to contract COVID-19. A person convicted of a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana faces up to 227 collateral consequences. Despite seeking employment at rates higher than the general population, formerly incarcerated individuals are half as likely to get a job and face unemployment rates five times the national average.
Upon release, a person is poor in income, health and opportunity. And yet each person released must secure housing and employment, care for family, finish their education, and avoid the police. Policies and practices that discriminate against applicants based on their criminal record make achieving these goals a Herculean task and disproportionately affect Black people, despite being no more likely to commit a crime than whites. Lawyers must do more to remove barriers for those returning to the community. To avoid these barriers, some people start their own business. People of color face inequity in the process such as limited access to capital because of low appraisal values and credit scores. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans created in the pandemic relief legislation should be responsive to these realities. Instead, small business owners who have been convicted of a felony in the last five years, are currently incarcerated, are on probation or parole, or are under criminal indictment are excluded. Lawyers should challenge such discriminatory legislation that punishes people who have been targets of a biased system.
As Bryan Stevenson said in The New Yorker, and reiterated in a recent event hosted by the Cleveland Public Library, “The great evil of American slavery wasn’t the involuntary servitude; it was the fiction that Black people aren’t as good as white people, and aren’t the equals of white people, and are less evolved, less human, less capable, less worthy, less deserving than white people. … You can’t understand these present-day issues without understanding the persistent refusal to view Black people as equals…. The police are an extension of our larger society, and when we try to disconnect them from the justice system and the lawmakers and the policymakers, we don’t accurately get at it.”
Sweeney is managing attorney for community engagement at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
Despite all the setbacks, the legal industry is looking to be in good shape in the new year, and is looking to attract top talent.
Big Law summer associate recruiting:
The changes in OCI timing and format introduce uncertainty for students, many of whom feel like they’re in the dark. How will law firms view spring semester’s pass-fail grades? Has the pandemic affected firms’ hiring needs? How can I network and make connections when everyone’s confined to boxes on Zoom?
Recruiting chairs and hiring partners at some of the most prestigious Big Law firms, including Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins, share what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate, from strong communication skills to an ability to work as a team player. They also discuss what students should know about their firm to demonstrate genuine interest, and share their top tips on impressing interviewers in a virtual setting.
While law students aren’t expected to know what type of law they want to specialize in off the bat, a demonstrated interest in a particular area can help set them apart during interviews. Attorneys and recruiters lend some advice on what practice areas are especially in demand now, which can give students interested in those areas a leg up.
Criminal Minds may have come to a close, but it still hasn’t stopped fans from talking about the series and rewatching their favorite episodes. After 15 seasons, the monumental show about the Behavioral Analysis Unit ended with its final episode on February 19, 2020. However, it’s still a much beloved series, and fans can be found talking about the show on Reddit.
One of the main characters, David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), once referenced a Grand Theft Auto character, and it’s a hilarious situation to say the least.
David Rossi is an integral part of ‘Criminal Minds’
Rossi is a Supervisory Special Agent of the BAU. He works well with his fellow agents, and he’s been known to take the cases to heart. A former Marine, Rossi has helped lead the team to catching countless unsubs in the past. He’s an integral part of the team, and he always has interesting knowledge to add to the case at hand. According to the character’s Fandom page, Rossi took his retirement early, but returned to work at the BAU, and is now the Senior Agent of the team.
Fans have grown to love Rossi over the years, especially the way he interacts with his fellow team members. He’s proven himself to be a friend to each of the agents, and he is known to host his popular dinner parties with the team. The final episode even includes a dinner party at Rossi’s in a sweet and memorable moment.
Why Rossi once referenced a Grand Theft Auto character
In season 6, episode 5 called “Safe Haven,” Rossi references a Grand Theft Auto character in a hilarious moment. A serial killer is murdering families in similar attacks involving gruesome escalations, and it leads the team on a hunt for the killer. They soon realize that it’s a teenager named Jeremy Sayer (Sterling Beaumon) who’s committing the violent murders. He was dropped off at a hospital and abandoned there by his mother. When the team visits one of the victim’s homes, they hear a voice message left by a woman named Nancy Riverton (Mare Winningham) who found the murderer thinking he’s innocent and needing help getting home. He ties up her kids and leaves the house with a knife and Nancy.
One of the first victims, Monica Archer, called her friend at a children’s hospital about a boy who was abandoned. She was going to bring him in the very next day. Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) finds out and calls the friend who said the kid’s name is Niko Bellic with a hometown in Newton, Iowa. It turns out that’s the name Jeremy gave Monica, but it wasn’t exactly correct.
When someone asks Garcia to repeat the name, she tries to respond. “The thing about that, is that…” Garcia says as she is cut off by Rossi, who clarifies who Niko really is.
“Niko Bellic is the name of a main character in Grand Theft Auto 4,” Rossi tells them. When everyone looks at him with puzzled amusement, Rossi says, “What? I know things.”
According to the character’s GTA Wiki Fandom page, Niko Bellic is the main character in GTA 4. He’s from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and he has worked as a contract killer in Liberty City. He also was a part of the conflict during the Yugoslav Wars when he was only a teenager, fighting and flying a helicopter. The character is a notable one for fans of the game, who probably knew exactly who it was on first reference.
The team eventually tracks down Jeremy, who had Nancy drive him to his neighborhood where he stabs her, but she survives. He then heads to his old home where his mother, Kendra Sayer (Kerry O’Malley), lives. They track him down after his sister was hurt 10 days prior when Jeremy broke her arm. Kendra left Jeremy at a hospital, and when he gets his sister and puts a knife to her throat, Jeremy eventually lets her go and the team takes him into custody.
Fans recently discussed the interesting moment
The GTA reference by Rossi has obviously been talked about on Reddit. It might surprise fans that David Rossi would know the name of a character from a game like Grand Theft Auto, but he does. Maybe he’s a gamer? The series doesn’t explain it further, so we’ll never know. A Reddit post was recently shared with a video clip of the memorable scene.
“Rossi sass is the best!” a fan said about Rossi in the moment. “Him and Emily’s relationship is probably my fav.”
One fan points out that the “dramatic music” seems to stop just after Rossi makes the comment. “Isn’t it hilarious how the dramatic music stops when he says it, and everyone looks at him surprised? …” they wrote.
Another fan calls it a “great delivery,” and we’d have to agree. “So great. Wonderful writing. Great delivery. What? I know things,” a fan said.
The moment makes one fan want to “start watching” the series again. “This makes me wanna start watching again! …” they said.
David Rossi seems to know a lot of information, including when it comes to a GTA character. Criminal Minds has many surprising moments, and this is just one of them.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has released a statement in opposition of legislation urged by Governor Ron DeSantis that addresses “affrays, riots, routs, and unlawful assemblies,” saying it is “too broad an attack” on the First Amendment and the right to assemble.
The proposed legislation is a “solution in search of a problem,” according to the release.
The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says this legislation solves “no real crisis as current laws address the same concerns, without the attacks on due process and civil liberties.”
Per the press release, Chapter 870 of the Florida Statutes, already addresses the issues that Gov. DeSantis’ legislation covers.
The proposed bill includes provisions that disqualify persons from post-incarceration reemployment assistance and working with any state or local government entity. It also includes mandatory minimum sentences.
“This statute is unnecessary, overly complicated and will raise legal challenges that will require courts to decide for years to come,” the The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said. “In that respect, the legislation will create unnecessary litigation when the current laws have already been upheld as constitutional. The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers urges legislators to vote against this bill.”
For months, the lawyers and law firms representing President Donald Trump in efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election came under an intense wave of scrutiny uncommon for a profession whose members so often flock to the highest paying client rather than taking any stance on politics.
Lawyers at Jones Day, Porter Wright and Snell & Wilmer may not have worn MAGA hats, but they were still targeted online and by protesters in the street.
Now, in the wake of the January 6 assault on Congress by a mob of Trump’s supporters, many law firms are taking public stands against the president and his allies. While lawyers in Big Law firms have historically been big donors to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, it is rare for them to take organized, public stands on such matters.
For Richard Kendall of Los Angeles-based boutique Kendall Brill & Kelly, one of more than two dozen law-firm leaders to have signed a letter calling for Trump’s removal, it was an easy call.
“I think lawyers, who are trained to analyze facts and shine the light on lies and frivolous arguments, should speak out when they see outright falsehoods and manipulative propaganda being served up as fact in the halls of Congress by unscrupulous lawyer-politicians who seek to delegitimize a free and fair election,” he said.
Theodore Boutrous, a litigator at Gibson Dunn who has also sounded off against Trump, told Insider that he hasn’t been politically outspoken through his career, but what he observed of his fellow lawyers over the past two months made him speak out.
“For a firm to be associated with bad faith, frivolous assaults on the election process in our democracy, that just can’t be tolerated,” said Boutrous.
“Frivolous litigation is a terrible thing in any situation, but here where it was being used to try to undermine the public’s faith in the election process is simply outrageous.”
Boutrous has represented CNN and Jim Acosta in litigation against the Trump Administration for revoking Acosta’s press pass, and Mary Trump in her publication of “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
Like most businesses, law firms try to keep their reputations clean. Some firms decline to take on work for tobacco companies, and others won’t work for firearms manufacturers. While a top priority is a client that doesn’t create conflicts and can pay its bills, firms also often ask partners if a potential client will sully the firm’s image. (Whether lawyers answer accurately is a different story.)
For Seyfarth Shaw, Trump’s efforts to overturn the election were apparently the last straw. Seyfarth, a full-service law firm whose lawyers have represented Trump’s business in various civil lawsuits, decided last week to drop the Trump Organization as a client. Martin Grego, a firm spokesman, said it was “working with the company to secure new counsel….to ensure a smooth transition in accordance with our ethical obligations.”
Other firms that never represented Trump, and thus aren’t bound by ethics rules that prevent them from disparaging him, took a harsher line. The letter Kendall signed called Trump a “threat to the Constitution” and urged Pence to remove him from office. It was also signed by leaders of 18 other firms, including Crowell & Moring, known for its representation of government contractors, and DLA Piper, which has more than 3,000 lawyers around the world.
“Law firms are becoming more like public companies,” said Deborah Farone, a marketing consultant who worked at top firms like Cravath and Debevoise. “They are being watched. They need to have greater transparency about what they stand for.”
Law firms cut off political giving to Trump allies
Some firms have said they won’t support the representatives and senators in Congress who challenged the results of the 2020 election through their political action committees. Cozen O’Connor, which has historically favored Democrats with its PAC, has said it won’t contribute to the representatives who sought to stop the tallying of electoral votes. Squire Patton Boggs, whose PAC contributions have favored incumbents, has said it won’t give at all until it reviews its policies.
Trump is reportedly even having a hard time finding a lawyer to represent him in his second impeachment trial. Bloomberg reported this week that previous legal allies including White House Counsel Pat Cipillone, New York litigator Marc Kasowitz, his personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, and two lawyers who represented him in his first impeachment trial, Pat Philbin and Eric Herschmann, have all declined to take Trump’s side.
The last presidents to be impeached, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, had well-regarded legal counsel even in the depths of controversy. Clinton was represented by allied lawyers with backgrounds at Williams & Connolly and Covington & Burling, both respected Washington firms.
Nixon, himself a former partner at the defunct firm Mudge Rose, was represented by James St. Clair, a senior lawyer at a predecessor firm of WilmerHale, and after his resignation, by lawyers from Paul Weiss, according to a 1975 article in the New York Times.
Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics professor at New York University, said law firms have been raked over the coals before, targeted by both the left and right. Law firms that represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay were criticized by Pentagon official Charles Stimson, and student activists have taken aim at Paul Weiss for its representation of Exxon. But he said the extent to which firms have distanced themselves from Trump is unusual.
“Trump is becoming an untouchable client,” he said.
Reed Galen, a Republican consultant, said Trump’s actions after the election may have made it harder for a lawyer to justify representing him.
“At what point does the psychological switch flip from being conservative attorney — you know, limited government, rule of law, muscular foreign policy, conservative jurisprudence, whatever it is — to, ‘I’m going to advise the president of the United States that he should call a state official and demand that that individual actively change votes illegally to show him a victory that didn’t happen?'” said Galen, one of the principals of the Lincoln Project. “That’s a pretty significant psychological jump to me.”
That was indeed the better half of Shameless‘ favorite power couple Gallavich portraying the disturbed kiddo Jeffrey Charles in the 2006 episode of Criminal Minds. As a refresher, that episode (titled “The Boogeyman”) found the B.A.U. gang in a small Texas town hunting a killer who’s taken to bludgeoning youngsters to death in the woods. The team initially believes they’re looking for a methodical, murderous adult, but are shocked when they eventually discover the perpetrator is the freckled, ginger-haired kid played by Monaghan, who delivers a truly chilling performance as the violent pre-teen.
Criminal Minds was hardly the last time Monaghan played crazy, by the way. Throughout his run on Shameless, he’s plumbed the depths of bipolar disorder to play his character Ian, and he spent a total of 20 episodes playing the batsh*t crazy Jeremiah Valeska (essentially the Joker) on Fox’s gonzo Batman saga Gotham. But just to circle back to Monaghan’s Criminal Minds episode, if you count yourself one of those super-savvy fans, you likely recall Jeffrey’s would-be final victim in the episode was a little girl even younger than him. And you just might recall she was played by another then up-and-coming child actor. The character’s name was Tracy Belle, and yes, she was actually played by an 8-year-old Elle Fanning.
Like Monaghan, Fanning’s star has risen dramatically in the years since that Criminal Minds appearance, with Fanning now ranking among the most respected and in-demand actors of her generation. That status is in large part due to her lauded work in the likes of The Neon Demon(2016), The Beguiled (2017), and Hulu’s hit period drama, The Great. So even as “The Boogeyman” ranks as one of Criminal Minds‘ most unsettling episodes, it also offers a fascinating glimpse at a pair of legit stars in the making.
President Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Mount Kisco, New York, seen here Sept. 30, 2020.
Johnny Milano | The Washington Post | Getty Images
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has expanded its criminal probe of President Donald Trump’s company to include a sprawling property in Westchester County, New York.
A lawyer for the town of Bedford, New York, told CNBC that DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office issued a subpoena to the town for records related to the Trump Organization’s Seven Springs Estate site sometime “before Christmas” as part of a criminal investigation.
Bedford’s lawyer, Joel Sachs, said he believed that in addition to Bedford, the towns of New Castle and North Castle also had records subpoenaed by Vance’s office for the criminal probe, because the 213-acre property spans all three towns.
The company’s valuation of Seven Springs for a number of months has been the focus of a civil fraud investigation by the New York attorney general’s office.
Vance’s office already was known to be investigating hush money payments made to women who said they had sex with Trump, as well as possible tax, bank and insurance fraud. Trump has denied having sex with the women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a subpoena for years of tax and financial records from his accountants, which was issued by a Manhattan grand jury acting at Vance’s request. The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear Trump’s appeal of lower-court rulings that the firm Mazars USA must surrender those documents.
On Friday, The Associated Press reported that investigators in Vance’s office interviewed Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for hours on Thursday, asking him about the president’s business dealings, with particular focus on his relationship with Deutsche Bank, Trump’s biggest lender.
Cohen testified before Congress in 2019 that the president’s annual financial statement inflated to the values of his assets to obtain favorable terms for loans and insurance coverage, while deflating the value of other assets in order to reduce real estate taxes due on them.
New Castle Town Supervisor Ivy Pool declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. North Castle officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Vance spokesman Danny Frost declined to comment.
A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Eric Trump has run the Trump Organization with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., while their father has been president.
Donald Trump was impeached for the second time Wednesday by the House of Representatives.
He is accused in that proceeding of inciting a mob of supporters who rioted at the U.S Capitol, disrupting the confirmation by a joint session of Congress of Biden’s election. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer who was killed by the mob, died as a result of the incident.
Biden is due to be sworn into office on Wednesday.
Joshua Schiller, a partner at law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, was arrested this week on a domestic violence charge and is now on leave from the firm.
Police officers in California responded to a disturbance at a residence in the town of Ross, part of Marin County, and determined Schiller had committed an act of violence against his wife, according to a police report.
The report, which noted that the arrest took place on Jan. 13, at 10:58 p.m., said that when police arrived, the victim had “visible injuries that were minor in nature and did not require immediate medical treatment.” The charge is a misdemeanor.
Schiller, who has advised clients such as DraftKings and Salesforce, is the son of Jonathan Schiller, a prominent litigator in New York City and cofounder of the elite law firm Boies Schiller Flexner with the trial attorney David Boies.
Through his attorney, Schiller and his wife, Melissa Siebel Schiller, who is the sister-in-law of California Governor Gavin Newsom, said that the arrest was a “misunderstanding.”
“This is a private matter between us,” the couple said. “We love and respect each other. We are partners and will move beyond this together.”
Contacted Friday, Boies Schiller said in a statement that the firm would conduct a review “to better understand what happened.” The firm said that the Joshua Schiller asked for a leave of absence to focus on his family, which the firm agreed to provide.
Schiller’s tenure at the firm
Schiller started at Boies Schiller more than 12 years ago, one of a number of founders’ children employed by the firm.
One of the biggest cases he worked on included helping to overturn California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.
Insider previously reported that an internal complaint at BSF was lodged following comments made by Schiller in 2017, when he made what sources familiar with the matter described as inappropriate comments in front of a female associate.
At the time, the associate raised the issue with firm management and Schiller was taken off the case she was working on and reassigned to another matter, according to one of the sources who was directly familiar with Schiller’s reassignment.
Schiller, at the time, said via email that he was having an animated conversation with colleagues after a day of trial, and that he did not believe he said anything inappropriate.
Nicholas Gravante, who was then co-managing partner but since has left for another firm, had told Insider that he considered Schiller to be one of the firm’s next generation of “outstanding lawyers and business generators.”
Boies Schiller has undergone a major transformation in the last two years as Jonathan Schiller and Boies stepped back from day-to-day leadership, though they remain as managing partners. Over 2020, dozens of partners exited, including Gravante, and in December, the firm named three new managing partners.
Contracts — typically seen as dense blocks of boilerplate text for corporate lawyers to deal with — are having their moment in legal tech.
Ironclad, which digitizes and automates contracts to streamline the end-to-end contract process, said on Thursday that it raised $100 million in Series D funding, bringing the company close to a $1 billion valuation. Its lead investors include BOND’s Mary Meeker, previously dubbed “Queen of the Internet” by the New York Times, and its roster of existing investors also include VC titans like Sequoia, Accel, Y Combinator, and Emergence Capital.
The global CLM market is projected to have an annual growth rate of 13% to 20% over the next four years, bringing the total market to $3 billion by 2024, per several industry reports. Ironclad itself grew its annual recurring revenue by 192% from around $10 million 2019 to a projected $20 to 25 million in fiscal year 2020, which ends in January.
Unlike some other legal tech companies that are looking to grow their businesses through strategic deals in the market, Ironclad plans to use its fresh capital to turn inwards and hone in on its product innovation, including the first AI contracting tool that uses Google Cloud’s machine learning technology, Cai GoGwilt, chief technology officer and cofounder of Ironclad, told Insider.
Ironclad was founded in 2014 by Jason Boehmig, an ex-Fenwick & West lawyer, and GoGwilt, a former software engineer at Palantir.
Ironclad’s growth strategy has been accelerated by its partnership with Google Cloud
With its new $100 million Series D, Ironclad plans to double down on its “relentless focus” on contracting, said GoGwilt, expanding its AI contract tools to help advance its mission of utilizing contract data to help businesses and legal teams. As part of its growth, Ironclad will be hiring more people across all teams, including engineering, sales, and legal.
While it has no plans to grow its platform through strategic acquisitions or investments, GoGwilt said that they’ll consider that route if some solution to an unforeseen problem were to arise down the road.
Another crucial component of Ironclad’s growth strategy is its partnership with Google Cloud, which was announced in December.
“Even with the funding, we wouldn’t be able to field world-class solutions without Google Cloud AI,” GoGwilt told Insider. Ironclad is the company’s only official partner, and, in December, released the first Google Cloud-based AI product for contracting.
Ironclad’s team-up with Google is an example of the role that established tech behemoths can play in cultivating the broader ecosystem of innovation.
“Large institutions are absolutely necessary for fielding a credible AI solution,” said GoGwilt. A “world-class” natural language processing system can cost $5 million in computing power alone — let alone the costs for research and data needed to build a model, he added.
By employing the technology built by Google Cloud, Ironclad has been able to save on these costs. Plus, while other AI-powered CLM competitors are using pre-2019 technology, the new algorithms created by Google have an accuracy rate in the low- to high-90s, accelerating Ironclad’s AI roadmap by at least two years, according to GoGwilt.
‘A new way to think about software’: preserving and using data to speed up contracting
Ironclad’s aim is to provide an end-to-end contract solution fueled by artificial intelligence.
“Bit for bit, contracts have some of the most valuable information that any enterprise has,” said GoGwilt. “Having AI extract that information and provide the legal department with the data they need to make great legal judgments will allow them to be more proactive.”
That “valuable” data, however, is often being lost because there isn’t a comprehensive platform that focuses on contracting.
“Contracting has always been a second-class citizen,” GoGwilt said, because existing solutions are built in a way where their main focus isn’t contracts. Instead, contracts are “associated, but not central.” For example, sales agreements are made on sales platforms, while agreements related to accounting are made on another.
Even if a company does use contract-specific software, these are often point solutions that only offer e-signature or contract storage capabilities, only adding to a “disjointed” contracting experience and further data loss, explained GoGwilt.
By providing users with an end-to-end contracting platform that uses AI to locate important clauses and information, Ironclad not only minimizes data loss, but also speeds up the process.
“General counsel don’t have to be involved in every contract, which means you can close contracts way faster because the GCs aren’t bottlenecks,” said Jake Saper, general partner at Emergence Capital, one of Ironclad’s investors.
Instead, a lower-level salesperson can approve certain contracts using Ironclad’s AI, accelerating the process by 20%, Saper explained. Rather than targeting a specific person — such as an in-house lawyer — Ironclad targets a specific job: contracting.
“It’s a new way to think about software,” said Saper. “I’m extremely excited to see where Ironclad goes. There’s so much opportunity to unlock.”