How did you become involved in legal tech?
By accident actually. I became involved in legal design to find a solution that did not yet exist to the divorce law access to justice problem. I wanted to build a legal platform that provided affordable—but meaningful—assistance to the millions of Americans who cannot afford a divorce lawyer and/or do not have access to quality legal help. I started with a design “sprint,” conducting interviews to determine what people wanted most in a divorce lawyer. That sprint led to learning and choosing technology that would best serve to cut down on overhead, personalize the experience, streamline the legal process and aid in the strategic preparation of complicated divorce forms.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
Hello Divorce has been live for about 1.5 years and we are now building out the app that will launch in Q2, 2019. I’ve also been working on a platform for couples to learn about the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage and to the extent they want to opt out of default marital laws, they can design their own prenuptial agreement. And finally, I’ve been building systems and gathering data with regards to the relationship between HD and my law firm, Levine Family Law Group. I will use this information to scale the platform.
Is there a legal tech resource of any kind that you find yourself returning to or that was particularly formative for you?
So many. Initially, Lawyerist piqued my interest. They not only gave me an intro into technology but provided a forum by which I could express my ideas without judgment—actually, with encouragement. The best resource has been the connections I’ve made and the relationships I’ve built in the community. They motivate me in heart and mind.
What technology do you think lawyers could look at in a different way that would benefit society?
When I first conceptualized Hello Divorce, I thought that technology would be the most important aspect of our platform. After interviewing hundreds of people and collecting data, I learned that (at least in my market, consumer-facing areas of law), technology was only one small piece of the puzzle. I think if we spent more time truly learning the technology we already have (everything from our practice management software and WordPress websites to Office 365), we’d find that we already have the technology we need to provide consumers with a better “user” experience. Each lawyer—solo, small, or corporate firm lawyer—has the opportunity to stand out from the crowd by shifting a few important things to create a much better user flow, and therefore, more satisfying experience. This is not terribly difficult in an industry that notoriously has low service expectations to begin with.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
It’s an exciting time to be involved in legal technology. Finetune what it is you like about legal tech and where your strengths lie. Is it access to justice? Building new technology? Helping lawyers adopt technology? Find your “niche” and begin reading articles, building relationships, and listening to podcasts. Take action. You don’t have to see the whole path, you just have to take the first step. Get active on Twitter and make connections. Build your tribe.
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
Billie Tarascio. Billie is a co-founder of Modern Law Practice and owner of My Modern Law and Access Legal. When I first became interested in legal technology, I sought out Billie for advice. Little did I know what a powerhouse she is! Billie has given me perhaps the greatest gift of all—the ability to slow down—to collect and analyze data before making any financial or strategic decisions. She is infinitely curious and can solve any legal, practice management, or entrepreneurial issue you send her way. And she does it with joy and passion. If you don’t know her, you are missing out.
Feature image by #WOCinTechChat