Much of what I am about to say is likely well-known by readers of this blog. However, having read it before does not make the information any less salient. The legal profession has long been one that has adhered to seemingly rigid rules, processes, and practices.As this blog and many others have noted, this is becoming no longer the case. New technologies, new processes, and new players have entered the field. These new players include ones offering legal analytic services to those offering bespoke solution development services. Moreover, the number of types of legal jobs has increased as well, if you know where to look. Legal departments have often been at the forefront of these changes due in part to their closeness to the business and because of their historic reputation as a cost center.

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Today’s post is a love story. It involves unrequited love. It involves seduction. It involves money. It involves legal technology. I call it the technology seduction.

Before getting to the story, a little background information in the form of three facts. Fact 1: Legal technology continues to attract a lot of attention. Fact 2: Legal technology continues to attract large investments of money. Fact 3: There continues to be a lot of hype about legal technology. Unfortunately, this hype also distracts attention away from the reality of legal technology.

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Ed Sohn seeks to “advance change in the legal industry by delivering practical scale and quality through legal technology and managed services.” He and Pangea3, now a part of EY, has a longstanding “record of pioneering legal managed services and now, with the global reach and power of the EY platform, is uniquely positioned to lead our clients into the next legal working world.”

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I had the pleasure of speaking recently with Kevin L. Miller, the CEO of LegalSifter. He had a lot of useful insights regards the relationship between lawyers, technology, and the future of the practice of law.

Tell me a little about the impetus behind starting LegalSifter.

LegalSifter was born of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city at the heart of the artificial intelligence evolution. The company knew a few things when it got started:

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Nir Golan is General Counsel and Head of Global Legal Operations for attenti. He is a frequent voice in the legal innovation world and brings a unique perspective focused on bringing humanity back to the practice of law.

Tell me a little about your legal background. What drew you to practicing law?

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Karl Chapman is a legal innovator and a thought leader in the legal technology space. He joined Riverview Law, a legal services business, as Chief Executive in the summer of 2011 following its creation by AdviserPlus a company he set up in 2001. Riverview Law was acquired by EY in August 2018 and he is now a Strategic Adviser to the company. EY Riverview Law aims to be the trusted advisor, the safe disruptor, to Corporate Legal Departments globally – “via a combination of people, processes, technology and data we help large organisations evolve their operating model.” Karl also serves as a Non-Executive Director of Kim Technologies. Kim is a leading no-code, configurable Automation-as-a-Service platform that helps organisations automate their workflows, processes, case management and documents.

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Maya Markovich is a “multidimensional product and innovation leader with roots in legal, change management, behavioral science and tech industries.” She has a passion for transforming the practice of law and, as head of product for Nextlaw Labs, is currently focused on building momentum for innovation within the ecosystem of Dentons, the largest law firm in the world, and across the industry.

Tell me a little about your background and how you first developed an interest in legal innovation.

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Lawyers are not magicians. Lawyers do not perform magic. The time has come to open up the curtain. To share what we know. To share how we do what we do. To teach others and to learn from others. To innovate.

Over the course of the past few years, I have been very lucky and honored to have been able to interview so many key leaders in the legal innovation field. They are all dedicated to improving the practice of law. After hearing and reading others’ reactions to the thoughts of those that I have interviewed, I thought that it made sense at this point to take stock of those conversations. This post is intended to be an exploration of some of the key themes of the interviews. I frame these themes as lessons. I strongly encourage and welcome others’ thoughts on these lessons.

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I had the pleasure of talking to Mark Deuitch. Mark is an entrepreneur and the founder of two web-based startups, PeopleClaim and Rhubarb, both of which I asked him about in this interview. Mark is devoted to solving “societal issues that are not sufficiently resolved by the existing system.” Right now, that means fixing the legal system through crowdsourcing on the blockchain.

Tell me a little bit about your background. How did you get involved in the legal tech world?

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I recently spoke with Tunji Williams, a truly inspiring legal tech founder and entrepreneur. He describes himself (and accurately, I would say) as “a dreamer, entrepreneur, technologist and former mergers and acquisitions attorney building a team to help revolutionize deal process technology and service delivery for corporate transactions, and beyond.”

Tell me a little bit about your background and the impetus behind DealWIP.

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