Should you sign that NDA? This AI law-bot has an answer


Originally published at:


“Can I sign that NDA?”



and…Futurama is a rather prescient TV show.



New question to ask prospective business partners:

Did you get the NDA I asked you to sign vetted by:

a) a qualified lawyer with relevant professional experience;
b) your mate Barry down the pub;
c) a piece of software;
d) no one. NDAs don’t matter anyway.

If your answer is anything other than a) I don’t think I want to do business with you.


This doesn’t surprise me. Most NDAs are short and simple. If you can’t read it in 2 minutes and be pretty confident of what it means even without legal training I wouldn’t even bother getting it vetted. Just reject it. There are definitely some issues you might miss if you haven’t looked a lot of NDAs, so getting a legal opinion is a good idea before you agree, but I would totally trust a program to reject bad ones.


To be fair, simply setting the bot to “reject everything” would probably be fine.


Your statement sounds good in theory, but unfortunately that’s as far as it goes. Speaking from experience here, the reality is that many non-lawyers are just as good or better at reviewing and understanding contract language than those that have the official seal of approval. What it really takes is someone that actually (really for realz) reads the text and is thoughtful enough to understand the implications, and then capable of negotiating the difficult points. It has nothing to do with a degree. If someone can handle that, and is a good enough software writer to implement the process in code, then you’d have a powerful combination. Unfortunately what we’re going to eventually end up with is a whole lot of contract bots that are half-ass, just like their human counterparts.


Your statement sounds good enough in theory but unfortunately that’s as far as it goes :slight_smile:



So which of options b, c, or d in my post provides those? :slight_smile:

And do any of those come with a built-in insurance policy meaning that if they get it wrong you can sue the crap out of them in the reasonably sure knowledge that your losses will be covered?

Tell me, were you bitten by a lawyer as a child? I jest, but seriously, lawyers are there to help and protect you. If they’re doing a bad job, say so, fire them and hire a better one. If appropriate, sue them and/or complain about them.


The info for my labor lawyer of choice is a permanently in my contacts on all devices I own and on a piece of paper in my wallet.


Needs more likes :slight_smile:


I was wondering if NDAs were enforceable in the UK (turns out, yes) and found this government page which is actually really helpful.
So thanks mystery civil servant, for providing actually useful and relevant advice to citizens.

(Non-compete clauses are the one I was thinking of that’s much less enforceable in the UK than the US)


They did a massive revamp of the pages a while back. Quite a lot of them are now actually quite useful.

Although as always if you knew where the information was before the revamp, you have no chance of finding it now…


Work for government. Can confirm.


Agreed, though I’d qualify it a bit and say that some are there to help and protect you. There are plenty working against the individual, whether knowingly or not, often in the corporate setting.


I’ll grant you that I look askance at many of the big corporate firms - I consider a lot of them to skate far too close to the edge of their ethical duties. Over the edge in many cases. Especially with regard to conflicts of interest.


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