Jackie Donner is a legal tech leader and co-founder as well as CEO of Lawflex. LawFlex is a leading global Alternative Legal Service Provider (ALSP) providing legal departments, law firms, financial institutions, and other corporations with high-quality vetted lawyers, on a flexible basis and at competitive rates.
The LawFlex model allows businesses to access top lawyers from across the globe without the large overheads of traditional law firms, providing solutions in 18 languages and 24 jurisdictions around the world.
Tell me a little about your background and how you ended up doing what you do now.
I started my career as a corporate lawyer with a BigLaw firm in the UK and then moved to Israel, where I worked at a top-tier firm. The rigid structure of a law firm no longer suited my lifestyle when I became a mother. I was looking for a different way of working for myself – and soon realized that I wasn’t the only one seeking the same. I recruited my first five lawyers to work flexibly alongside me within one month of launching LawFlex, and in just four years, we have grown to over 1,000 contract lawyers.
Lawyers tend to be skeptical of technology. What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree and why?
Usually (and this is a huge generalization), people who choose to study law are less technology-inclined. This is especially true of my generation, but it is changing fast as Gen Z enters the workforce. Today’s law firm leaders have been slower to adopt new technology. In addition, because of the structure of the law firm, where partners are focused on their share of annual profits, there is less incentive to build a sustainable future model of delivery. It’s an attitude of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” at many law firms. The change will come, however, from the client side. Clients are asking their law firms now which tech they are using and how they are leveraging it to lower costs. Lawyers will soon no longer have the luxury of being technology skeptics.
What role does technology play in legal resourcing and how has that role evolved?
Every business today is made more efficient by technology. It is hard to find a business that does not require the services of a programmer. Legal resourcing relies on technology for three things: scale, matching and speed of delivery. Competition between different legal resourcing companies will play out in the tech battleground – whoever has the best technology will provide the best service to clients and to their contract lawyers. It also means investing in the right hires. Recently the former CTO of Fiverr joined us as an advisor to our tech team. This is a crucial addition as we focus on improving our backend and platform to propel us forward.
How have law firms and law departments adopted resourcing providers like LawFlex?
According to a Thomson Reuters report from 2021, 79% of law firms are using outsourcing. Although no new study has been published, I assume that the post-COVID numbers are much higher than this and likely similar for in-house legal departments. What was once an alternative has now become absolutely mainstream. Law firms and legal departments worldwide are facing a tougher than ever fight over talent – both retention and recruitment. Using legal resourcing providers is one way to cope with this difficulty.