Technically Legal - A Legal Technology and Innovation Podcast-logo

Technically Legal - A Legal Technology and Innovation Podcast


Technically Legal is a podcast about legal tech, legal innovation and the impact of tech on the law and legal industry. In each episode we interview an innovator in the legal industry. Guests discuss how technology is changing the practice of law and how they are implementing legal technology and innovation into their legal departments and law firms. The podcast is hosted by Chad Main, an attorney and founder of Percipient, a tech-enabled legal services provider. Chad launched Percipient on the belief that when technology is leveraged correctly, it makes legal teams more effective.


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Technically Legal is a podcast about legal tech, legal innovation and the impact of tech on the law and legal industry. In each episode we interview an innovator in the legal industry. Guests discuss how technology is changing the practice of law and how they are implementing legal technology and innovation into their legal departments and law firms. The podcast is hosted by Chad Main, an attorney and founder of Percipient, a tech-enabled legal services provider. Chad launched Percipient on the belief that when technology is leveraged correctly, it makes legal teams more effective.




Where to Begin With Data Governance Frameworks and How Software Can Help (Brandon Wiebe, GC & Head of Privacy, Transcend)

Brandon Wiebe, General Counsel and Head of Privacy at Transcend, offers tips about implementing data governance frameworks and how to utilize software in the process. Brandon’s company is a privacy platform that helps legal and compliance teams automate data compliance tasks. Brandon explains that most data privacy laws, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and U.S. state laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), generally require similar things of companies: Despite the many data privacy laws already enacted and new ones on the horizon, Brandon is quick to emphasize that data privacy teams should not let perfect be the enemy of good. They must get started somewhere in their data privacy policy journey. He says the best place to start is an organizational data map detailing all the places in a company’s tech stack holding data subject to privacy regulations. Once a company has its data mapped, it can more easily comply with customer requests for information as permitted under data privacy laws and can also ensure it is not keeping more data than needed. Brandon also touches on why AI can complicate data privacy efforts, but also notes that artificial intelligence can also assist with data privacy efforts.


Why the FTC’s YOLO Antitrust Strategy Against Amazon May Not Actually Be Good for Competition (Adam Kovacevich – CEO Chamber of Progress)

9/14/2023 Kovacevich, the founder and CEO of the Chamber of Progress, explains why he thinks the United States Federal Trade Commission’s recent efforts to curb what it believes to be anti-competitive activity by large tech companies may not actually foster competition and could impact innovation. Most recently the FTC has targeted Amazon to reign in what the FTC perceives to be anti-competitive power over online sales and fulfillment. The Chamber of Progress describes itself as a new tech industry coalition devoted to a progressive society, economy, workforce, and consumer climate. The organization promotes public policies that “build a fairer, more inclusive country in which all people benefit from technological leaps.” The New York Times describes it as “one of the most powerful tech lobby groups”. Adam and the Chamber of Progress believe that the FTC’s change in philosophy under its current chairperson, Lina Kahn, could stifle technology innovation and actually harm consumers and sellers on the Amazon Marketplace. Under Chairperson Kahn, the FTC’s focus is less on the impact a company’s market power has on the consumer (i.e. pricing) and more on the structural and market power tech companies have over their respective industries. Prior to founding the Chamber of Progress, Adam worked at Google for many years as a Senior Director for the company’s US Policy strategy. After Google he took a similar role at Lime-the e-bike and scooter company. Right out of college he was a staffer for his local congressman and ultim handed press duties for Senator Joe Lieberman.


How Foundation AI is Harnessing Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision to Classify and File Documents for Law Firms (Vivek Rao / Co-Founder & CEO)

Vivek Rao, talks about his path from workers compensation attorney to co-founder and CEO of Foundation AI, an app that automates the manual process of collecting, categorizing and filing documents and unstructured data. The software is used by law firms and insurance companies and utilizes a combination of artificial intelligence, optical character recognition (OCR) and computer vision to process incoming documents and email by type, time-sensitivity, and matter or claim. Vivek, a native of Los Angeles, figured he would get into entertainment law, but ended up as a lawyer working in real estate and finance. Later on, he started helping a workers compensation firm handle case files. In that role, he saw an opportunity to use AI and natural language processing (NLP) to automate the manual work of processing and filing the thousands of documents his firm received every week. After the acquisition of a medical AI company he represented as corporate counsel, Vivek started wondering if a similar technology could be employed in the legal and insurance industries and after some ideation, Foundation AI was born.


Why Effective Legal Operations Management is Good for Business and Frees Up Lawyers to Practice Law (Stephanie Corey & Liz Lugones – UpLevel Ops)

8/17/2023 Ops Founder Stephanie Corey and COO Liz Lugones visit the podcast to tell us why a good legal operations program is a crucial to managing the business side of law, so lawyers can focus on practicing law. Stephanie and Liz break down what legal ops is and what it entails. They say it boils down to managing the business aspects of law–from the people and processes to the technology used. Stephanie and Liz also fill us on why the right people in the right roles improves efficiency and productivity and how well-defined processes can help ensure that everyone knows what they need to do and when. Liz and Stephanie also emphasize that organizations just can’t just throw tech at a problem to fix it. To make any improvement in legal operations, whether it be adding technology or tweaking a process, the first step is understanding the current state of what is being improved, specific legal department needs and the needs of the clients it serves. They explain why legal ops is not not a one-size-fits-all approach, and that tailoring solutions is crucial. To figure out what their clients need, UpLevel uses thorough assessments to understand the current environment of a legal department and its goals and current processes. The episode closes out with a discussion about why legal operations is an ongoing process rather than a one-time project and the importance of being ready to adapt and evolve as needs change.


How to Build a Low-Code Legal Tech Start Up (Chad Sakonchick – BetterLegal)

Chad Sakonchick is a serial entrepreneur. After a stint selling computers for Dell, he launched his first technology company: an early SaaS platform that allowed users to easily create websites. From there, he launched an app that took online orders for food truck owners and then he launched Spacesift, which he describes as Airbnb for event spaces. Spacesift did fine, but he didn’t find startup traction until a few years ago when he convinced a lawyer buddy to let him automate the creation of LLC documents. Using automation apps like Zapier, project management software like Asana and online form apps like Webmerge, Chad built the automation and his friend loved it. It worked so well, the two decided to launch BetterLegal and while they have graduated to a more sophisticated backend, as we will hear, they are still building the company on a low/no-code philosophy using platforms like Bubble. After hearing Chad’s backstory, you would think he most certainly would end up pursuing a career in law. While in college at the University of Texas he worked as a paralegal at his dad’s law firm. After that, he landed a job with an early legal tech company that digitized deposition transcripts. But alas, his heart was not in pursuing a career as a lawyer. His passion is entrepreneurship.


The Tech Stack Law Firms and Legal Professionals Need to Succeed (Adriana Linares – LawTech Partners)

Legal technology guru Adriana Linares visits Technically Legal to discuss the the tech and software law firms (and all legal teams really) should be using to run a successful legal practice. Adriana is a legal tech OG. Fresh out of college in the late 90s, a large Florida law firm hired her to train its lawyers on how to use technology and to help the firm figure out what tech to buy. Fast forward to the early 2000s, and she started her consultancy LawTech Partners to help legal professionals use technology to maximize their skills, run profitable businesses, and deliver great client service. At a minimum Adriana advises that lawyers and their teams utilize at least three specific pieces of software: 1) A productivity suite like Microsoft 365; 2) a PDF tool; and 3) case management software. Adriana explains the differences between case management software, document management platforms, and practice management software. She also touches on the importance of document assembly software and how to maximize the use of data captured during the various stages of a legal matter. She closes out the discussion explaining why many in legal are missing out when they don’t use CRMs–Client and Customer Relationship Management platforms.


Why Legal Teams Should be Foxes (Agile) and Not Hedgehogs (Defensive) – Richard Jolly (Northwestern University/Stokes Jolly)

Professor Richard Jolly of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a co-founder of the Stokes Jolly consultancy visits Technically Legal to discuss the importance of motivating legal organizations to change even when they are resistant to do so. Professor Jolly also shares stories from his experiences as a chef and a psychotherapist and explains how he draws upon them in his organizational and executive consulting practice. Professor Jolly also discusses the common psychological make-up of lawyers such as high skepticism and frequent reluctance towards change. These traits remind him of an essay by Philosopher Isaiah Berlin called the Hedgehog and the Fox, which is a reference to an idea from the Greek poet Archilochus: “a fox knows many things, but a hedgehog knows one big thing”. Applying it to the legal profession, Professor Jolly explains that legal subject matter experts are like hedgehogs with deep expertise in one area, but in a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt like a fox is increasingly important. Traditional law firms are full of hedgehogs, but organizations such as startups lean more toward foxes because they are better at adapting. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change, and law firms need to be open to these changes to survive and thrive. Along those lines, Professor Jolly points out that education and training of young lawyers is more important now because of remote work and the new generation of lawyers want to practice differently than their older colleagues. Specifically, his research has shown that most new lawyers do not plan on spending a whole career at a single law firm. He also points out that law firms may have to adapt to the new reality that more work may have to be done by partners because associates are increasingly harder to come by.


How to Land That In-House Counsel Job at a Tech Company (Emily Witt – Whistler Partners)

In this episode, Emily Witt discusses how to transition from law firm life to in-house legal work in the tech industry. Emily is a legal recruiter with Whistler Partners specializing in health law, life sciences and tech. She is also a podcaster and hosts Beyond the Legal Lens which focuses on career advancement and how to get jobs in health law and tech. Before she joined Whistler Partners, Emily worked as a recruiter for the Wachtell Lipton law firm in New York, but she did not have aspirations to get into legal recruiting right out of college. Her career path took some twists and turns. After receiving an English degree from Colgate, she thought she wanted to be a journalist, but ended up finding a career in publishing. However, her publishing stint ended when she headed out on a European vacation. When she came back, Emily started trying to figure out what she wanted to do professionally. Around this time, she found a new rock climbing partner who was a lawyer at a large New York law firm. Her climbing partner suggested she look into legal recruiting. The twists and turns of Emily’s career ultimately informs the advice she gives to candidates searching for a job with a tech company after working at a law firm or in a different industry. She explains that to find a job with the legal department at a tech company, you need to be flexible. Specifically, she says you need to be willing to jump to a different firm if you are not getting the type of experience that tech startups are looking for. She also says it is important to work for a firm that is already servicing technology companies. Emily also recommends networking through LinkedIn, social media, and listening to relevant podcasts to find an in with a tech company.


Copyright Law & Artificial Intelligence: Is Training AI With Other’s Data Fair Use – Professor Mark Lemley (Stanford Law)

Do AI developers need permission to use copyrighted works and other IP before using it to train artificial intelligence? Professor Mark Lemley of Stanford does not think so. He believes using copyrighted works to train AI should fall under the fair use exception to copyright law. Professor Lemley is the Director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology, an author of seven books and more than 130 articles on intellectual property, antitrust and related areas of the law. He is also a co-founder of Lex Machina and most recently Of Counsel to Lex Lumina, a boutique IP law firm. Professor Lemley argues that AI companies should be permitted to use copyrighted works to train AI models without first getting permission from owners because of the benefits AI will yield and the impossibility of tracking down millions of copyright owners to get permission. He also believes that it is a fair use for AI developers to use works protected by intellectual property laws to train artificial intelligence models because such a use is transformative and the more data available to the AI, the more accurate it will be.


How (Legal) Organizations can Achieve Thoughtful Adoption of New Technology and Innovation (Erik Bermudez VP of Strategic Partnerships – Filevine)

Erik Bermudez, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for legal practice management software Filevine, visits the podcast to discuss the importance of having an internal champion to drive software adoption within an organization, as well as ongoing training and metrics tracking to ensure the software is being used effectively. Erik also emphasizes that successful implementation of new technology requires top management’s understanding of the problem and pain points that the software is solving. Without buy in from the top, the odds are stacked against successful adoption.


Innovation as a Team Sport: The Importance of Collaboration in Legal Teams (Dr. Heidi Gardner - Harvard Law / School of Business)

Dr. Heidi Gardner of the Harvard Business and Law Schools joins the podcast to talk about about latest book Smarter Collaboration and the importance of collaboration in legal teams and in all organizations generally. Smarter Collaboration is Dr. Gardner’s second book and a follow up to Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos. Both books are helpful to those in law because much of Dr. Gardner’s research is based on the many years she studied collaboration in professional service firms, including many law firms. Why is collaboration across different disciplines and business units important? As Dr. Gardner explains, most importantly, it creates better client outcomes which improve revenues and profits. But collaboration doesn’t just help make clients happy and improve the bottom line, it also fosters diversity and reduces enterprise risk. Dr. Gardner has cold hard data that supports her conclusions: Back in the 1970s, 60% of US patents were awarded to individual inventors. Nowadays, that numbers has reversed. The vast majority of patents are issued to teams and the more diverse the backgrounds of those teams, the more successful their innovation.


Using Data Science for Judicial Analytics (Dan Rabinowitz, Founder, Pre-Dicta)

A conversation with former Big-Law lawyer turned tech entrepreneur, Dan Rabinowitz. After stints with law firms, the Department of Justice and time as general counsel, Dan tells us how all of that led to the founding of Pre/Dicta. Pre/Dicta is an app that uses data science to tackle judicial analytics, but unlike other similar software, Pre/Dicta does not just look at a judge’s opinions and track record, but also looks at other factors that influence court opinions. The app looks into data like the judge’s net worth, political affiliation, education, work experience, and other biographical data points. You may have read about Pre/Dicta recently in the legal tech press because it acquired Gavelytics–another judicial analytics company founded by Rick Merrill–who was a guest on the show way back in 2018. Pre/Dicta originally focused on federal courts, but by joining forces with Gavelytics the company acquired a trove of info about state court judges and opinions.


Why Attorneys Should be “Crypto-Literate” and the Evolving Crypto Regulatory Environment (Hailey Lennon & Preston Byrne – Brown Rudnick)

In this episode, lawyers Hailey Lennon and Preston Byrne discuss the current state of crypto regulation in the US and explain why being “crypto literate” will benefit lawyers. Hailey and Preston practice with Brown Rudnick’s Digital Commerce group. Hailey counsels fintech and crypto companies on regulatory requirements and Preston advises technology companies on corporate and commercial law issues. Both Hailey and Preston have deep crypto experience from both private practice and also as in-house counsel for crypto and blockchain companies. This episode touches on the SEC’s enforcement actions against crypto players and the importance of decentralized tools. They also discuss the potential loss of talent and innovation in the US due to lack of guidance and the importance (and difficulty) of educating others about the industry. The duo also explain why it is important for lawyers in many practice areas to be “crypto literate” and possess a working knowledge of blockchain concepts. They point out that crypto is not a legal discipline, but is a market sector needing the same type of legal work other businesses do.


Using Virtual Reality (VR) to Enhance Client Consultations (Felipe Alexandre – AG Immigration Law)

In this episode, Felipe Alexandre, a founding principal of AG Immigration, talks about his experience growing up as an immigrant in South Florida, his journey into law, and his passion for helping newcomers to America. He also discusses his firm’s services, including business-related visas, humanitarian work, and asylum. In addition, Alexandre talks about his firm’s move to the metaverse and the benefits of using VR consultations with clients.


Building Turbo Tax for Law – Leveraging Legal Document Automation (Dorna Moini CEO Gavel)

Since she was a kid, Dorna Moini, the CEO of legal document automation company Gavel, knew she wanted to be a lawyer–specifically a human rights lawyer. So, right after she received an accounting degree from NYU she headed to law school and even took an internship with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. After talking to a trusted professor, she decided that before pursuing human rights law, it might be best to get other types of legal experience and she ended up working in big law for several years. Even though corporate clients and large employers were her clients, Dorna never lost her desire to use her law degree for the greater good and took on a bunch of pro bono work–especially in the area of domestic relations. While doing that work she figured out pretty quickly that a lot of it was repetitive, form based tasks that took time away from other work that actually required her legal skills. She asked a friend to build her an app that would automate the form creation process. Basically she wanted TurboTax for domestic law. They called the app Self Help Law and it was a success. So much so that people within and without her firm started using it. In fact, it was so successful that people from other countries started asking her to design apps to fill out forms for the legal work they were doing. It was at that point that she figured maybe she should start a company and take her app to the masses. In 2018 she quit her law firm job and became a full fledged legal tech entrepreneur. She changed the name of her company to Documate and the company began building a platform that would enable the automation of all kinds of forms. Ultimately, the company turned into what is now known as Gavel and it helps its users automate the creation of all kinds of legal forms. It also automates documents related to running a law firm or legal department like intake forms and billing documents.


Building A Legal Tech Start Up With Nicole Clark (Co-Founder of State Court Analytics App Trellis) (Replay)

We talk to Nicole Clark, Co-Founder of Trellis, an AI-powered state court research and analytics platform. Like many entrepreneurs before her, Nicole came up with the idea for Trellis to “scratch her own itch”. She was burning the midnight oil on a pleading she needed to get on file for a client (prior to launching Trellis, she was a litigator). She was unfamiliar with the judge that would hear the motion so, that night, she sent an email to colleagues at her firm to find out if any of them had been in front of the judge. In a stroke of luck, another lawyer in the office had been in front of the judge and with the very same legal issue. Needless to say, she was now armed with important background information about the judge that would help her notch a win for her client. It was that night that Nicole, said to herself, “there has to be a better way.” Why isn’t there a database of background information on state court judges she wondered. It was then and there that the idea for Trellis came to be. Eventually, Nicole hired a developer to create a bare bones app and used her law firm colleagues as testing guinea pigs. And it worked…Trellis became a reality and started attracting users outside of Nicole’s law firm. Nicole and the Trellis team got into Tech Stars LA and started raising money, and the rest…as they say is history…well…history in the making. Nicole and the trellis team have a lot of big plans they have yet to execute.


On Taking Typing out of Litigation (Automating Legal Drafting with AI) Nathan Walter (CEO Briefpoint)

Nathan Walter, founder of Briefpoint, joins Technically Legal to explain how his company is using technology and artificial intelligence to automate routine legal drafting tasks. A good portion of lawyers’ time and those helping them is copying or re-using prior work. This is especially true in litigation and especially in discovery. Thankfully more and more apps have been developed that help automate the creation of legal documents. Historically, these programs have been form based and users populated documents by selecting choices from a menu. But with advances in generative AI maybe form based software is unneeded. That’s what Briefpoint is banking on. Briefpoint uses tech to analyze legal documents, like interrogatories and document requests, and then generates preliminary responses to give legal teams a head start on drafting. As Nathan explains, if more legal processes are automated and augmented with AI, it will bring legal fees down and free up lawyers to focus on the complicated stuff rather than cutting and pasting prior work product.


Will Generative AI Expedite Legal Tech Adoption? (Zach Abramowitz – Killer Whale Strategies)

Zach Abramowitz makes a repeat appearance on Technically Legal to talk generative AI (like OpenAI) and its impact on legal technology adoption. Zach is a keen observer of legal tech and its trends. If you want to keep tabs on up and coming tech geared for legal, Zach is a good person to follow. He started is career at a large New York law firm where he worked on mergers and acquisitions. From there he launched his own tech company called Reply All and his latest venture, Killer Whale Strategies, is a consultancy that works with law firms and legal departments to find and utilize technology to disrupt the way traditional legal work is done. Zach has always been a strong proponent of using artificial intelligence in the legal industry, but after the release of ChatGPT and the growth of other generative AI platforms, he believes it might be the catalyst that finally expedites legal tech adoption. Zach explains why he thinks generative AI could make legal services cheaper, less profitable for service providers and on a timeline that is faster than most might think. Oh…and he also has a great music video.


Using Tech to Manage Litigation Risk and Evaluate Outcomes (Len Hickey, Founder Litigaze)

IP lawyer Len Hickey joins the show to discuss Litigaze, the legal tech start up he founded that helps legal teams evaluate litigation risk, make smarter settlement decisions, figure out which claims to pursue and budget for litigation. Len has worked both in-house and at law firms. Over the course of his practice, to answer questions posed by his clients about the value of their cases, he developed sophisticated spreadsheets to analyze his clients’ odds and determine what expected outcomes might be worth. After awhile, as many tech founders do, he said to himself, “there should be a better way to do this.” So he taught himself to code and put together a beta version of Litigaze–software that enables users to build graphical decision trees of stages in a legal claim. Using Litigaze, lawyers and their clients can estimate chances of success and determine potential monetary values for outcomes. After he built the beta version, Len tested it out on friends, they liked it so he took the next step and hired developers to make a real app. In January 2021, Litigaze went live. Using Litigaze, lawyers and clients can make better decisions about litigation and determine the best courses of legal action to take.


Disrupting Personal Injury Law With Purpose, Tech and Innovation (Joshua Schwadron Mighty)

Joshua Schwadron Founder and CEO of Mighty visits the podcast to discuss how his company and law firm are disrupting personal injury law. Even though Joshua has a law degree, he knew he did not want to practice law in the traditional sense. Instead, in 2010 the entrepreneur in him founded Betterfly, a marketplace where consumers found service providers to help with projects like home remodels, yardwork or wedding plans. Betterfly was acquired by a company ultimately purchased by Microsoft and Joshua found himself with time to move on to a new venture, and that would be legal related. After Betterfly, he launched a litigation finance company and worked on it for a few years, until 2015 when he launched Mighty. At first, Mighty also had a litigation funding component and tried to pair plaintiffs with funders by having them compete for cases. Gaining traction with that model turned out to be a little harder than Johsua expected, so Mighty started building tech to help plaintiffs and their lawyers track liens against recoveries in their cases held by medical providers and other attorneys. As you will hear from Joshua, Mighty is a purpose driven company and its goal is to make the practice of personal injury law more efficient so plaintiffs can take home better settlements. That’s why he decided to found Mighty the law firm. A firm that requires lawyers to abide by a code of conduct and work to put the most money in plaintiff’s pockets.