Technically Legal - A Legal Technology and Innovation Podcast-logo

Technically Legal - A Legal Technology and Innovation Podcast


Technically Legal is a legal tech podcast about legal innovation and the impact technology is having on the law. In each episode we interview an innovator in the legal industry about how technology is changing the practice of law, about the companies they are building and how legal tech is changing the way legal departments and law firms work. 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 legal tech podcast about legal innovation and the impact technology is having on the law. In each episode we interview an innovator in the legal industry about how technology is changing the practice of law, about the companies they are building and how legal tech is changing the way legal departments and law firms work. 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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Why Entertainment Lawyer Chris Edgar Founded Filmtracts: Legal Tech for Indie Film Contracts

Attorney Chris Edgar talks about founding Filmtracts- a DIY platform indie film makers can use to create entertainment based contracts for their projects. Chris’ career path started with a clerkship for a future U.S. Supreme Court justice and then long hours as a Big Law litigator. After a few years of legal battles in and out of the courtroom, he realized that maybe his current career path wasn’t for him. That’s because the world of entertainment law and independent film production was calling him. In 2010, Chris threw out his own shingle and founded an entertainment law practice. A few years later he and a partner launched their own indie film production company. When other indie filmmakers figured out he was an attorney, he was often peppered with legal questions, but most of the time, those asking could not afford his services as an attorney. That’s when he decided to launch Filmtracts. A self serve repository of film related contracts that users can tailor to fit the needs of their project–and depending on the subscription they buy, they can also get a few hours of legal consultation from Chris.


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Affordable Legal Help: How a Non-Profit Law Firm is Answering the Call (Kamron Graham, Executive Director, The Commons Law Center)

Studies determined that at least one litigant does not have a lawyer in 75% of civil cases in the United States. The number is even higher when it comes to family law, domestic violence, housing, and small claims matters. But organizations like Oregon’s Commons Law Center are doing something about it. On this episode, Kamron Graham, the Law Center’s Executive Director, talks about the not for profit law firm’s efforts to provide affordable legal assistance to people that make too much to qualify for legal aid, but don’t make enough to hire a lawyer. The Commons Law Center helps out people facing evictions, have family law issues or need help with wills and estate planning. Kamron initially planned to pursue a career in finance but pretty quickly figured out that her empathy and concern for others probably might not jibe with a Wall Street career. After returning to Oregon after college in the Northeast, Kamron started her career working in group homes, homeless shelters and served a stint with the United Way. These experiences made clear to her that a professional degree might help her have a greater impact on people's lives and give her even more of an opportunity to use her education to help others. So, in her 30s she decided to go to law school. After law school continued her career helping the underserved, including work for Legal Aid Services of Oregon and work as a public defender. Eventually she landed at the Commons Law Center, starting as a tenant defense attorney and ascending to the role of executive director. The business model of the Commons Law Center is not free legal work, but charging a sliding scale fee based on a client's income. Currently 70% of the firm's budget comes from fees. The firm is working to become 100% self-sufficient, but in the meantime to fill the gap, the firm leverages tech to streamline their processes and keep costs down. It also relies on donors, foundations, and grants. ** Thanks to former Technically Legal Guest John Grant for making this episode happen and connecting us to Kamron. Learn more about Kamron.


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Investing in Legal Tech and the Ingredients of a Successful Start-Up (Zach Posner, The LegalTech Fund)

Zach Posner discusses the LegalTech Fund, an investment fund he helped start that focuses on legal tech businesses and offers insight on what it takes to build a successful start up. The LegalTech Fund has a solid track record and, if you have listened to a few episodes of this podcast, you’ve probably heard from founders of companies in which the Fund has invested–including Scott Stevenson from Spellbook, Otto Hansen at Term Scout, Tom Dreyfus at Josef, and also Zach’s colleague at the Fund, Mike Suchsland. Zach brings a unique blend of experience and insight to legal technology investing. Among other things, prior to starting the LegalTech Fund, he helped build an education tech company that was ultimately acquired by McGraw Hill. The LegalTech Fund has a couple of main areas of investing interest: Companies building tech that harnesses information from contracting processes and companies that are working to make legal services available to more people. Zach also offers insight and advice for those trying to build a company–including the importance of investor updates because the most successful companies often have the highest frequency of reporting to stakeholders. He suggests that entrepreneurs should be open and honest about challenges, allowing investors to assist in problem-solving. Zach also says it is important for entrepreneurs to demonstrate their products in a quick, iterative manner. He stresses that frequent engagement with customers can provide invaluable insights guiding the product development process. He further suggests that entrepreneurs should be tenacious with their vision, but flexible in their approach to achieving it. Learn more about Zach.


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If Data is the New Currency, Where Does Law and Regulation Fit In? (Michael Clark - Head of Digital Transformation & Futurist, Mastercard)

This episode is a conversation with Michael Clark the VP Global Head of Digital Transformation and Futurist at MasterCard. He discusses his upcoming book "Data Revolution, The New Currency of You" and what he believes will be a new paradigm in data ownership–that we will actually own our own data and benefit from its value. He also examines what role the law and regulation should play in it. Michael and many others like him, believe that data is going to become a new currency and that to date, we have overlooked its value. Consumers have given up most of their control and access to this value because we have been too focused on what we were getting in exchange its use –i.e. The software tools we use. Michael is well suited to write a book about the value of data. He has long worked in banking and spent a lot of time in the open banking world which, among other things, is a practice that provides third-party financial service providers open access to consumer banking information through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs). For consumers to take back their data and capture its value, Michael says the focus needs to broaden from data privacy and also onto security, ethics, and bias in data usage He says it is going to also take a new way of thinking–specifically more cooperation between regulators and the tech industry to effectively manage and leverage the tech fairly. Michael also believes that the use of AI will play a big role in data management going forward because there is so much data, it will continue to grow and AI is the only way we are going to be able to understand what data tells us and harness its value.


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Colin Levy Discusses His New Book The Legal Tech Ecosystem & the Skills Needed to Succeed in Legal Tech

In this episode Colin Levy shares insights from his new book, The Legal Tech Ecosystem, his journey into legal tech, and his role at contract lifecycle management company, Malbek as Head of Legal and Chief Evangelist. Conversation highlights: Colin’s journey into legal tech: Colin shares how he first got into legal tech during his time as a paralegal at a big law firm in New York, his decision to work for a year before attending law school and his choice to work in an in-house legal department after graduation. Colin's role at Malbek: As the Director of Legal and the Chief Evangelist at Malbek, Colin's day-to-day tasks vary from traditional legal work to writing blog posts, participating in webinars, attending events, and assisting with marketing and sales efforts. The Legal Tech Ecosystem: Colin talks about his new book, which serves as an accessible, non-technical introduction to the world of legal tech. The book combines Colin's experiences and learnings with anecdotes and quotes from other legal tech leaders. Skills needed in legal tech: Colin emphasizes the importance of understanding data, meeting people where they are, and having a clear understanding of why you want to learn about legal tech. He also talks about the need for openness to risk, experimentation, and discomfort. Legal tech vs. legal innovation: Colin clarifies that legal tech is not just about AI and robots, it can be more mundane but still helpful tools like billing software. The focus should be on making people's lives easier and increasing productivity and efficiency. Learn more about Colin.


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Professor Tonya Evans (Penn State Dickinson Law) Demystifies Crypto and Debunks Blockchain Myths

Professor Tonya Evans of Penn State Dickinson Law School visits Technically Legal to talk about her book Digital Money Demystified. Professor Evans has pretty much held every job in legal from judicial clerk, to Big Law lawyer and now legal educator. She is also the host of the Tech Intersect Podcast which focuses on Web3 and how it will impact the future of work, wealth and creativity. In this episode, Professor Evans talks about her journey from risk averse crypto doubter to blockchain believer. She emphasizes the importance of lawyers staying ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving world of technology and the need for more education and awareness around crypto and blockchain, not only in law schools but also in other professional fields.To those ends, she founded Advantage Evans Academy, a platform designed for non-technologists to understand the new digital economy. Professor Evans’ book, Digital Money Demystified, is an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about cryptocurrencies. The book explains blockchain concepts in plain language and debunks many myths about crypto. Such as: Myth: Crypto is Mainly for Criminals. Fact: Blockchain data analysis firm Chainanalysis estimates that only .24 of all crypto transactions in 2022 were for illicit purposes. Myth: Crypto is untraceable. Fact: Blockchain transactions are pseudonymous, but, if recorded on an open blockchain, such as bitcoin, they are transparent and available to anyone to view.. Myth: Crypto is terrible for the environment. Fact: Not all blockchains are energy guzzlers, especially those based on proof of stake validation and it should not be overlooked that the energy consumed by traditional financial markets is much greater. Professor Evans also explains the need for clear crypto regulation and the risk of the United States falling behind if the regulatory environment is not clarified. Learn more about Professor Evans


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Will This Legal Tech Startup Kill the Billable Hour and Bring Transparency to Legal Billing? (Scott & Digby Leigh - AltFee)

Despite much ballyhoo and countless articles about them, alternative fee arrangements, or AFAs, have yet to gain widespread traction and the billable hour still reigns supreme for legal billing. Enter the Leigh brothers, Scott and Digby, and their new legal tech startup, AltFee. The company’s stated goal is encouraging legal professionals to break free of hourly pricing and move to AFAs by using the app to help scope and price legal projects. The brothers point out that the traditional billable hour pricing model doesn't provide certainty for clients and that AFAs will become more important with increasing use of AI which will likely reduce billable hours. They explain how Altfee offers a solution by providing a foundation for law firms to operate on an alternative fee model. The app helps users scope, price and audit their fees. Scott and Digby also delve into the concept of 'value billing', explaining that it involves charging fees based on the value of the service provided to the client, rather than strictly on the time spent. They underline the importance of taking both task-based considerations and value-based considerations into account while pricing. Learn more about Scott and Digby. Things We Talk About in this Episode Directory of Law Firms Offering Alternative Fees Episode Credits Editing and Production: Grant Blackstock Theme Music: Home Base (Instrumental Version) by TA2MI


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How a Start-Up’s Legal Bills Led to Spellbook, an AI Co-Pilot for Transactional Lawyers (Scott Stevenson – Co-Founder)

This episode is a conversation with Spellbook co-founder Scott Stevenson about intersection of technology and creativity. Spellbook is a AI contract co-pilot for transactional lawyers that plugs into Microsoft Word. Despite founding a legal technology company, Scott is not a lawyer but is computer engineer by training. As a kid Scott was into video games and in fourth grade he talked his parents into getting him a computer because he wanted to figure out how to create them. By middle school he was building websites and eventually landed an internship at Electronic Arts. Scott is also interested in electronic music and he launched his first start up, Mune, with a music professor, to create a whole new musical instrument that combined the power of digital music with an acoustic instrument. It was during his time at Mune that Scott started to think about building a legal tech company. After he got his first legal bill he figured there might be a more efficient and less expensive way to do legal work. So he and lawyer buddy founded Rally, a document automation and templating engine for law firms which later begat Spellbook, but he funny thing about Spellbook, it was originally conceived as a marketing idea to generate leads for Rally.


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Using Agile Project Management Methodology to ID Bottlenecks and Streamline Legal Workflows (John Grant, The Agile Attorney)

John Grant talks about how legal teams can adopt Agile and Kanban project management methodologies to optimize workflows, correct bottlenecks and increase client satisfaction. John is a lawyer and the founder of The Agile Attorney consultancy. As John explains, the traditional project management method is waterfall. A technique often used by technology companies, involving a sequential approach where each stage is dependent on the completion of the previous one. But John is a proponent of the newer, Agile methodology, which emerged from the software development community. It is a flexible approach where tasks are broken down into small increments with minimal planning, and processes are iterative. Agile is one of John’s favorites because he believes it is well suited for legal work. John also talks about the value of a Kanban board, a visual tool used to manage work at various stages of a process. It typically includes columns such as “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done”. So why is he so into project management methodologies? Because despite coming from a long line of lawyers, before he went to law school, he first worked in tech.


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How a Visual Impairment Led to the Founding of a Contract Drafting Software Company (Feargus MacDaeid, Co-Founder of Definely)

At an early age, Feargus MacDaeid, the founder of legal tech company Definely, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, which is a rare eye disease that breaks down cells in the retina slowly over time causing vision loss. Until he got to college to study computer science, Feargus’ vision was decent, but at university, it began to deteriorate and eventually went blind. After college he landed a couple of tech jobs but ultimately decided to go to law school. After law school, Feargus took jobs at two Magic Circle Firms in London, Allen & Overy and Freshfields where he was working on mergers and acquisitions. Because of his visual impairment, Feargus had to develop hacks in the software he used, like custom keyboard shortcuts, to get his job done. He met his Definely co-founder, Nnamdi Emelifeonwu, at Freshfields when the two of them were working on the same deal. As Feargus explains it, his soon to be co-founder was the first colleague that actually took an interest in how Feargus accomplished his work and marveled that he was getting it done. The two figured there had to be a better way for Feargus to work on contracts, but the duo figured out pretty quickly there really wasn’t and Definely was born. Definely is a suite of tools that helps lawyers accomplish the tedious tasks relating to the drafting of contracts. As the company describes it, they create legal tech solutions to free lawyers from frustrating, repetitive tasks, so they can get back to the work that matters.


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How to Include Design Thinking and Project Management Principles in Legal Work (Katherine Porter, The Resourceful Lawyer)

This episode is a conversation with Katherine Porter about her journey from practicing law to founding her own company, Resourceful Lawyer which is a consultancy helping legal teams implement project management techniques into their legal work. Katherine discusses her unique approach to problem-solving in the legal field, which involves design thinking and project management principles. Katherine explains the importance of lawyers understanding client needs, the process of workflow mapping, and the challenges of implementing new processes in law firms. Katherine also emphasizes that empathy and understanding the client journey is a must when designing effective legal services. In the end, she also gives some real world tips about where to begin working in project management principles into legal practice.


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Best of 2023: Copyright Law & Artificial Intelligence: Is Training AI With Other’s Data Fair Use – Professor Mark Lemley (Stanford Law)

As we close out 2023, we are replaying some of our most listened to episodes. Not surprisingly, AI was the hot topic this year and as its acceptance grows, so to tough questions, like whether AI developers need permission to use copyrighted works and other IP before using it to train artificial intelligence? In a very popular episode, Professor Mark Lemley of Stanford explained whey he does not think so because he believes that copyrighted works used to train AI fall should 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.


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Best of 2023: On Taking Typing out of Litigation (Automating Legal Drafting with AI) Nathan Walter (CEO Briefpoint)

In one of 2023's most listened to episodes, 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.


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Best of 2023: Will Generative AI Expedite Legal Tech Adoption? (Zach Abramowitz – Killer Whale Strategies)

In the most listened to episode of 2023, 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.


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The Future of Mediation, Dispute Resolution and the Law in a Web3 World (Mitch Jackson, Lawyer/Mediator)

In this episode, trial attorney, mediator and Web3 believer Mitch Jackson talks about the future of mediation, dispute resolution and the law in a Web3 world. Mitch is a long time litigator and a name partner at Orange County, California based Jackson and Wilson. He also maintains a busy mediation practice and is passionate about the positive impact new technologies can have on the practice of law. Mitch talks about how he uses AI to facilitate mediations and his use of virtual reality to engage with clients in the metaverse. He gives a glimpse of what dispute resolution could look like in the future. He thinks cases might converted into digital files that parties interact with on a blockchain and that AI could be consulted about potential resolutions.


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Crypto Lawyer Nelson Rosario on the Legal, Regulatory and Political Implications of Blockchain Technology (Replay)

Crypto lawyer Nelson Rosario discuses the legal, regulatory and political landscape of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. We also get an update from TurnSignl CEO Jazz Hampton about his company’s progress since he was last on the show. Nelson started out as an intellectual property lawyer but caught the crypto bug in law school. His boutique law firm Rosario Tech Law, focuses on servicing crypto and emerging technology companies that are working to change in the way we all interact with each other and deal with privacy and power. Although IP is still a significant part of his practice, Nelson’s firm provides those companies with strategic counseling, general outside services and assistance with privacy issues. Before he went to law school he was an election official in Florida and worked to streamline voter registration rolls and how his county processed absentee ballots. Nelson discusses the potential impact blockchain technology may or may not have on elections, the political and regulatory ramifications of the recent U.S. sanctions against crypto “mixer” Tornado Cash and how blockchain technology might change certain areas of the law.


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Don’t Believe the Hype? A More Practical View of Using AI in Legal (Stephen Embry – TechLaw Crossroads)

This episode is conversation with attorney and legal tech aficionado Stephen Embry. He is also the man behind the TechLaw Crossroads blog which is a great resource for practical and real world insight about legal tech and how technology is impacting the practice of law. Stephen discusses his journey from practicing law to becoming a technology advisor for legal professionals and firms. Embry emphasizes that good lawyers will embrace artificial intelligence technology to increase efficiency and serve their clients better, leaving more time for strategic thinking and advisory roles. But, he also points out that the legal market is highly segmented, with different firms adopting technology at varying paces. While some law firms are proactively embracing AI, he questions whether some of the claims are more hype than reality. Stephen also discusses the potential of AI handling back-office tasks in law firms, reducing overhead and freeing up time for legal professionals. He also suggests that a shift from hourly billing to task-based billing could allow law firms to benefit from AI’s efficiency. However, he noted that the adoption of AI in law firms largely depends on the clients’ demand and the industry’s readiness to depart from traditional billing methods. Despite the challenges, Embry remains optimistic about the transformative role of AI in the legal field.


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Should AI and Humans be Treated the Same Under the Law--Under a "Reasonable Robot" Standard? (Ryan Abbott - UCLA)

If a human uses artificial intelligence to invent something, should the invention be patentable? If a driverless car injures a pedestrian, should the AI driver be held to a negligence standard as humans would? Or should courts apply the strict liability used for product defects? What if AI steals money from a bank account? Should it be held to the same standard as a human under criminal law? All interesting questions and the subject of a book called the Reasonable Robot by this episode’s guest Ryan Abbott. In the book, Abbott argues that laws should be AI neutral and that the acts of artificial intelligence should not be judged differently than humans’. He calls this a “reasonable robot” standard. The book posits that inventions created by AI should be entitled to protection under intellectual property laws and, if AI causes harm, maybe it too should be judged under the same standard as a human. Abbott argues further that if AI is treated differently under the law, it may hamper innovation. Ryan is not often idle. He has dual degrees in medicine and law. He has practiced both and also worked in bio-pharmaceuticals. He moved into IP law, and nowadays, even though he still practices, he is a professor. He teaches at the UCLA Medical School. He is also a mediator and arbitrator and Co-Chair of the AI Subcommittee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).


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Will DAOs Become the New LLC?; or What Legal Professionals Should Know About DAOs (Nick Rishwain, Cougar DAO /

In this episode Nick Rishwain discusses decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Nick, a participant in several DAOs including Cougar DAO and TaterDAO, shares insights into the world of DAOs and their unique features. A DAO is a type of organization that operates on a blockchain, where members own tokens instead of shares and use these tokens to vote on actions the DAO will take. DAOs aim to achieve a common goal without relying on traditional business entity structures. However, DAOs can be complex and present legal challenges due to their decentralized and distributed nature. Nick explains that while DAOs have gained popularity in the crypto and blockchain space, it’s important to consider the legal implications and potential liabilities associated with participating in a DAO. He emphasizes the need for careful evaluation and choosing the right DAO legal structure, such as forming an LLC, to mitigate risks. Nick also discusses LexDAO, a legal engineering guild that fosters collaboration between lawyers, engineers, and other professionals interested in improving the legal system through code and software. LexDAO provides resources, community engagement, and advocacy for legal innovation. The podcast episode concludes with Nick sharing his experience with CougarDAO, formed to acquire real estate–specifically Cougar Island in Idaho. That deal did not come to fruition so the DAO bought property in Colorado, Memphis and most recently in Arizona. Because DAO legal frameworks are still in their infancy, Cougar Dao operates as a member-managed LLC with a code deference agreement that links the LLC’s activities to a DAO on the Kali platform. Overall, the discussion provides valuable insights into the world of DAOs, their potential benefits, and the legal considerations associated with participating in these decentralized organizations.


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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.