Before joining Gravity Stack, Bryon Bratcher served as Reed Smith’s global Head of Client Technology Solutions, the group responsible for designing and implementing solutions around contract management, litigation & investigations and legal operations.
With over 25 years of experience in the technology services arena and 18 years in AmLaw 100 firms, Bryon has
handled the development, staffing, and management of legal technology solutions and has
extensive experience building and launching brand new business lines from scratch.
Please summarize your career journey and how you ended up where you are now.
I have spent my entire career working in legal tech and consulting, first in Washington DC and now in the Bay Area. My roots are in eDiscovery because that was the primary technological challenge facing the legal industry but, as technology has become more pervasive, my roles became more expansive. Today at Gravity Stack, we specialize in eDiscovery, contract management and business advisory consulting.
How would you describe being "data-driven"?
Great question, and it really depends on the situation and the use case. First, data driven (and this is especially true in legal) means that you can get access to clean data. This can be a lot trickier than you might think. The second key to being data driven is the mindset that, in all situations, you start by looking at the data. It doesn’t always mean you follow the data dogmatically, but it means that in every situation, you don’t make decisions without consulting the data.
How do you go about bridging the gap between the legal industry and the world of technology? Will this gap ever be fully closed?
I don’t see the gap as much as others. Reed Smith and by extension Gravity Stack are organizations that have always leaned in and embraced technology. It’s also important to align tech solutions with what the lawyers are specifically doing (that sounds obvious, but it’s not easy). I know it’s popular to talk about a gap between lawyers and technology, but it simply hasn’t been my own personal experience.
How do you help lawyers get over their fear of technology?
Again, I don’t see the fear. We present internally at Reed Smith to all of our practice groups regularly and they are quite enthusiastic about what we are doing. I never feel like we have to persuade them, we simply tell them what we are doing and show them how technology has advanced in their specific area. And that I think is the most important thing: the tech has to get better. I rarely see instances where the tech is there and lawyers are dragging their feet. What I
see a lot more are instances where the tech is not quite there and lawyers make the very rational decision to hold off until they see the advances take shape.
What would be your three tips to those seeking to find their way or make their way into the legal tech world?
Start. There are so many opportunities today and, unlike when I started, it’s not only about eDiscovery anymore. Gravity Stack is hiring for multiple positions at the moment as are our competitors in the Big 4. It is obviously better if you have some legal background, but that does not mean you need to be a lawyer. Our leadership team started their careers as tech consultants, engineers and paralegals, not lawyers.