Catherine Bamford is CEO and Founder of BamLegal. Find her on Twitter @BamLegal.
What are three points that describe you?
How is telework/quarantine going for you?
Going great! I have been freelancing for seven years now and the BamLegal team all work flexibly and remotely. We once had a team member work from Bali and my current executive assistant, Tara, lives in Saudi Arabia! We use Notion and other tools to collaborate and communicate, so it’s not been a problem. We miss team catch-ups in person though!
How did you become involved in legal tech?
I was working as a busy junior lawyer in the Commercial Real Estate department of Pinsent Masons. I spent my days drafting lots of Leases, Licenses, and Rent Deposit Deeds manually. The firm invested in Legal Document Automation software and I was chosen to learn how to automate documents. My inner-geek loved it, and the rest is history!
What projects have you been focused on recently?
We are working on lots of things at the moment but one exciting new thing is the BamLegal Academy which will be aimed at helping the next generation entering the legal profession get some understanding of legal technology and how it can help lawyers deliver legal services. We aim for this to be free to law students.
Is there a legal tech resource of any kind that really helped you when you were starting out in the field?
Back then, there were very few resources available to learn about legal technology, legal innovation, and knowledge management. Richard Susskind’s and Mitch Kowalski’s books were a godsend, and the Re-Invent Law channel with videos of talks—by, for example, Alex Hamilton—was inspiring.
What do you see as the most important emerging tech, legal or not, right now?
There are many tools and technologies now that can help with all stages of a legal transaction but to date, there had not been much to improve the big part in the middle: negotiation. Finally, I am seeing some good solutions coming through and I look forward to the days where negotiation gets out of email and Word redlines and comments and onto a beautiful platform, making the whole process much easier for all.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
They should recognize that if anything, being a woman makes you more memorable, as you will often be one of only a handful of women at legal technology conferences and events. With a personal brand and being a woman, you will be much easier to remember than 1,000 guys called David.
Being a woman in this market is a strength. Often my thinking and the way I addressed problems was different from others and this was an advantage; I brought new ideas to the table and disrupted the “echo chamber.”
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
Nicole Bradick, founder and CEO of Theory and Principle, is my absolute idol. I want to be like her when I grow up!* Her drive, enthusiasm, passion, and energy are infectious and some of Theory and Principle’s work—in particular in the access to justice space—is the best in the industry. Truly inspiring.
*Nicole and I are actually the same age :-)