City firm Travers Smith says it has created an app which identifies contracts with force majeure provisions that could be triggered by coronavirus.

The automated tool allows clients to send contracts in bulk to a centralised mailbox within the firm. The documents are then analysed according to pre-defined legal rules and a report is generated to help businesses decide which contracts they should prioritise for more detailed analysis.

The tool, which is free for clients, has been programmed to identify the key terms and phrases that are commonly seen in force majeure provisions. For example, it can pick out words relating to pandemics, illness and government action. The report will also extract relevant wording from the contract for review.

Travers Smith said the app is not guaranteed to be accurate in all cases, but can help businesses prioritise contracts which need further attention in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Commercial, IP and technology partner Richard Brown said: ‘We wanted to develop a solution that quickly helps prioritise areas of possible contractual risk or exposure triggered by the pandemic. The thinking behind this offering is to help them navigate through the next few weeks and months by accelerating their ability to assess which contracts require attention or further analysis.’

Shawn Curran, head of legal technology, added: ‘Clients simply email us their contracts, as they would their lawyer, and we provide a fully automated review using a combination of our legal expertise and internally developed machine learning capabilities. There is no messing about with portal logins and the question of “where is my data going”. We expect to re-use this delivery mechanism across many review processes.’

Travers Smith joins a growing number of City firms using technology to provide advice in the wake of the outbreak. Earlier this month, Hogan Lovells opened a ‘coronavirus hub’ with apps, quizzes and advice-generating tools to help businesses respond to the crisis.