How did you become involved in legal tech?
I practiced law at top-tier firms for 17 years and was a partner for much of that time. So for most of my career, building legal technology was never part of the plan. But about five years ago, I began to realize that the legal profession urgently needed to evolve. Legal departments were facing immense pressure to reduce spending, forecast accurately, and increase outside counsel accountability. In a buyers’ market, law firms would have to do more to help their clients achieve their business goals.
It also seemed to me that this was a solvable problem, but one that would require a deeper understanding of costs, the ability to align resources very effectively, and clear internal and external communication around expectations. I saw an opportunity to build technology that would deliver these insights and promote trust and collaboration between attorneys and clients. When the cost expectations are clear all the way through the matter, there are fewer unpleasant surprises breaking down the trusted advisor relationship.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
For business, I am leveraging data to help customers understand legal costs at a task level and create alternative fee arrangements for complex work. Personally, I am helping my daughter with her upcoming international day presentation. I am passionate about both.
Is there a legal tech resource of any kind that you find yourself returning to or that was particularly formative for you?
When I started out in legal tech, I immediately joined Evolve Law. That was one of the smartest moves I made because I quickly met luminaries like Mary Juetten of Traklight (co-founder of Evolve Law), Joshua Lennon of Clio, Alma Asay of Allegory, Haley Altman of Doxly, Monica Zent of Foxwordy, Christian Lang of Blacklines & Billables (now at Renyan Court), David Kinnear of HipCounsel, Kristen Sonaday of Paladin, and many other phenomenal leaders in legal technology. The Evolve Law community is unbelievably supportive, and I am very grateful to Mary Juetten and Jules Miller for creating it.
In terms of legal tech guides, my go-to resource is the Artificial Lawyer’s AL 100. I have enormous respect for Richard Tromans’ ability to identify cutting-edge solutions, and he does the work needed to find and independently assess them.
What technology do you think lawyers could look at in a different way that would benefit society?
Artificial intelligence. Instead of being afraid of AI, lawyers should take the time to understand what makes AI solutions good or bad and how this technology may make legal service delivery more efficient and effective for clients.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
This is the hardest thing you will ever do, and you will be underestimated every step of the way. Know that going in, and do not succumb to others’ doubt. Instead, use it to fuel your passion.
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
This is a difficult question because there are so many, including the women noted above and all of the accomplished women on the LTRC’s Women in Legal Tech list. That said, Miriam Rivera of Ulu Ventures impresses the heck out of me. She was building legal operations capabilities at Google well before legal operations had a name, and she has a deep understanding of what can and cannot be done with data in law. Perhaps most importantly, I have seen her take precious time to share insight and give back to the legal tech community multiple times, most recently at a multidisciplinary AI = “bootcamp” class at Stanford Law taught by Dan Linna and Jay Mandal.
Feature image by #WOCinTechChat