How did you become involved in legal tech?
In 2015, I was fortunate enough to launch Lawyers for Equal Justice, a legal incubator teaching newer lawyers how to launch socially conscious law firms. I was charged with teaching attorneys how they could create firms that practiced law differently. Mainly, how could they serve underserved communities by offering lower-cost alternatives? I realized fairly quickly that it wasn’t a great business model to just practice law the same way lawyers had been doing it for the past 100+ years. I started reading and learning everything I could about building a better business model and the role technology played in that endeavor. There are so many ways technology can make our lives easier, our work faster and better, and ultimately create better experiences for our clients. It is a no-brainer! Technology tools continue to evolve and so I’m still always looking at what technology is available and how we can use it to make our work easier and our businesses more profitable.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
I just published a book, The Small Firm Roadmap: A Survival Guide to the Future of Your Law Practice, with three amazing co-authors, Aaron Street, Sam Glover, and Marshall Lichty. The book helps lawyers think about building a future-focused firm that is client-centered and tech-enabled. I tell everyone that I hit the professional lottery because I spend my days helping solo and small firm lawyers design and create better businesses!
Is there a legal tech resource of any kind that really helped you when you were starting out in the field?
So, it sounds a little self-serving now, but when I first started at Lawyers for Equal Justice, the Lawyerist resources (website and podcast) were super helpful to me. I eventually attended their TBD Law conference, met Sam and Aaron, and four months later, officially joined the team! (You never know where a conference will take you!) We work really hard to curate great content for lawyers and be a one-stop-shop on what products and services solo and small firms should consider using.
Another great resource is going to conferences like the ABA TECHSHOW and the Clio Cloud Conference. In addition to hearing great speakers, I love walking the vendor floor and talking to everyone who provides tech tools to lawyers. It is a great chance to talk to the people behind the products, learn what is new, and give them suggestions on what they could create to help the user experience.
What technology do you think lawyers could look at in a different way that would benefit society?
DIY tools and unbundled legal services. I think many lawyers still give them the stink eye and somehow think they are the worst thing that has happened to the profession. The reality is that many people who take advantage of these tools and resources were not very likely to hire you in the first place. We need to shift our perception and realize that we have the ability to help people and that any and all help we provide is needed and valuable.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
Don’t be afraid! I know I’ve been guilty of getting stuck in my head and thinking things are harder than they really are. I have never fancied myself as “tech-savvy”, but many of the tools available on the market are really intuitive and easy to use. I’ve impressed myself with the automations and work-flows I’ve created without any real coding skills. Although it is easy to get into it once you get started. I’ve even figured out a few pieces of code to make a few of my tools work better! It is so gratifying and I’m not ashamed to admit I was pretty proud of myself!
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
Just one? That’s tough because we have such a wonderful community of women legal-tech pioneers! I have to give a shout out to Erin Gerstenzang because she introduced me and connected me to this community. She has been a mentor and a cheerleader. She is helping me feel confident and happy saying “no” because I definitely love helping people and tend to take on too much.