Sacha Kirk

Sacha Kirk is a Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Lawcadia an Australian headquartered legal technology company. Winner of the Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 for the legal category, Sacha has also been recognised as a winner of the Women In Law awards in 2020, a finalist in 2021, and showcased as one of the "30 People to Watch in the Business of Law in Asia in 2020".

Sacha has 19+ years of marketing, brand strategy, innovation and professional consulting experience in Australia and the UK having built her marketing expertise with FMCG organisations including Unilever, Colgate Palmolive, HJ Heinz, Burton's Biscuits and Associated British Foods.

Sacha is passionate about innovation and transformation in the legal industry and applies creative thinking processes, strategy, and design thinking to identifying client pain points and developing solutions.

Why are you passionate about legal innovation and transforming the legal industry?

I spent the first 10 years of my career working in marketing and innovation roles at large FMCG organisations (including Colgate Palmolive, Unilever and H.J. Heinz) and I was involved in pioneering projects using design thinking and process mapping principles. I learnt the value of deeply understanding client insights by identifying and analysing their underlying functional and emotional needs. During my early career I also spent a lot of time with lawyers – my husband and best friends were lawyers – and I routinely worked with various in-house lawyers. Perhaps unsurprisingly I went on to consult to boutique law firms and management consultancies, and ultimately helped bring my co-founder’s ideas to life in the form of Lawcadia.

What really attracted me to the legal industry was the stark contrast to other industries I had worked in and I could see enormous opportunities for innovation and improvement in the way that law firms engaged with clients and in the delivery of legal services. I am passionate about finding new ways to solve problems and I love that I get to work with amazing clients, innovators and technologists every day solving diverse challenges in the legal sector.

Tell me a little about Lawcadia.

Lawcadia is a cloud-based platform that in-house legal teams and their law firms use for matter management, legal intake and triage and legal spend management. The entire legal function benefits from streamlined workflows, greater control of their legal budgets, accurate instructions, built-in document automation, collaboration tools, and actionable insights. The Lawcadia platform can also be used to solve different workflow challenges across legal, risk and compliance such as privacy, data breach reporting, regulatory reporting and freedom of information requests.
In October 2020 we announced the release of a new intelligent platform engine, Lawcadia Intelligence, which utilises no-code automation, logic-based processes and machine learning. Complex automation and customised applications are now possible whilst retaining the core infrastructure of an end-to-end legal operations system.

In terms of our product development, we have a client-centric approach where we start with the client’s problem, ideate and develop solutions, and iterate quickly based on feedback. This has resulted in some very innovative solutions that are easy to implement and provide an exceptional user experience

One example is our innovative approach to spend management which puts a structured and streamlined workflow in place to improve the quality of instructions, facilitate better scoping of legal matters, and focuses on matter-based fees instead of hourly rates. This delivers significant benefits to both the in-house legal function as well as their private practice counterparts.

How do you think the legal industry has evolved (or not) since you first began Lawcadia?

The industry has absolutely changed in the past 5 years. Law firms that were once incredibly fearful and defensive about change are now actively interested in innovation and looking for technology-based solutions to integrate their services with key clients. It is likely that some individual lawyers will always be resistant to change, however all things considered, I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has activated a willingness and necessity to solve problems in new ways such that technology will be a fundamental part of future practice and service delivery in the profession.

To those lawyers who fear technology, what would you say?

Keep an open mind and stay calm! The vast majority of new technology solutions simply involve a different way of doing something. You still have meetings, however they might be virtual using Teams or Zoom. You still sign documents, but use a digital signature. Legal matters are still instructed, but through a platform instead of email.

My advice is always to focus on the problem that technology is helping to solve and remember that, like people, technology will not ever be perfect. Technology and its implementation is best considered as an iterative process and one that is and should be continuously improved and evolved.

To a law student who wanted to learn more about legal innovation or legal tech, what is your advice?

Go for it! Get connected with legal technology companies in your region, reach out to founders on LinkedIn and try to attend events. Read widely, consider problems from multiple perspectives, and look at what can be learnt from adjacent industries. I would also recommend that they learn about design thinking as it is an incredibly powerful tool for creativity and problem solving and it can be applied in so many different contexts.

At Lawcadia we have a wonderful tradition of interns, university students, who have had a positive impact on the business - many of whom have gone on to be employees! Some have approached us directly and others complete placements organised through their university. Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to companies that you’re interested in, sharing your experience, goals, why are interested in them, and what you could offer.