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  • Diego Flores

Legal Geek Takeaways

Actualizado: 26 nov 2020


Legal Geek conference is without a doubt our favorite event in the legal tech scene. More than an expo of shiny new legal tech products, Legal Geek harvests a community where we find collaborative like-minded legal tech enthusiasts and experts generously share their thoughts and experience. We could go pretty deep exploring the values and more cool things this community stands for, however, in order to make this article short, we will limit ourselves to share with you a handful of key takeaways from our favorite six talks that we were able to assist in the conference which took place earlier this week.

Taken on June, 2019

“Create A Winning Mindset” | Maggie Alphonsi (former England rugby player with an impressive list of achievements):


  • Pressure is a privilege. Embrace it.

  • A couple of tips to fight impostor syndrome:

    • 1. Write a positive list of things you´re good at and read it to yourself.

    • 2. Write positive affirmations and stick them in the wall and read them.

  • Celebrate success and milestone achievement.

  • Live constantly stretching out your comfort zone.


“The Future Skills of Lawyers” | Dr. Anna Elmirzayeva & Simon George (University of Law)


  • Lawyers need to speak the same language as the tech department.

  • Written skills and soft human skills remain necessary.

  • Flexibility and adaptability will be the most valuable skill in law firms for the next ten years.

  • Other valuable skills and behaviors: Resilience, problem solving, strategizing, emotional intelligence, opportunistic, embracing risk, encouraging feedback, innovative.


“The Butterfly Effect: Applying Design Principles With Legal Technology” | Steve Wong (Google)


  • Design is about a human centre approach to problem solving.

  • Design is about shaping journeys and telling stories.

  • Whether you are designing a new product, implementing tools, or rolling out a new process, you are shaping a journey that must be navigated through the following steps:

    • 1. Empathize how the user would navigate through that process.

    • 2. Understand the why. What blocks the user and causes her to take the path she took?

  • Couple of techniques used to reduce the friction change produces on the user when moving from the old to the new:

    • 1. Create a connection between new and old features.

    • 2. Create an affiliation with something else that the user is already familiar with such as layout, color, or placement of interactions.

  • Just like product managers navigate user journeys, data scientists tell data stories, and like any good story, a technical project should be designed around a great conflict.


“Turning 3 Critical Issues Upside Down To Succeed With Document Automation” | Michael Bjerg (Green Meadow)


  • An automated template needs to have much more variation than a traditional template, which is why it is fundamental to understand the limitations of the traditional square bracket template.

  • You should think about the questionnaire first and think of it as a separate product. Among other benefits, this will let the questionnaire serve as an outline of the variations that the template will possess.

  • Lawyers should drive the process since legal tech projects are knowledge projects, not IT projects.


“Pilot Projects: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly” | Rik Nauta (Donna)


  • Most important factor is people.

  • If you choose volunteers, they are not volunteers. Pilot users should be people willing and able to use the product. 

  • If you want your firm to be more innovative, ask yourself how is IT incentivized? If you add employees a bonus for every time they participate as pilot users, then you are communicating what is important to your firm.

  • Key metrics regarding the use that has been given to your MVP must be established and shared with the vendor.

And last but not least...


“The Elephant in the Room: How Often and Why Legal Tech Projects Fail” | Catherine Bamford (BamLegal)


  • Lack of incentives in lawyers to find new ways of working is a problem that must be addressed. Billable hours model don't incentivize employees to dedicate their time to innovation. “Innovation hours” or “knowledge management hours” are a couple of strategies against this. 

  • It is necessary that the subject matter expert plans properly and dedicates time to feeding and testing the developed tools in order to provide useful feedback to the legal engineers.

  • Good senior sponsorship backing the project is a must. 

  • In order to avoid the “too big too fast” failure, start small, running a pilot in one department, and making sure that stakeholders are supportive. 


We strongly recommend anyone interested in any of the previously listed topics, staying tuned and signing up for future Legal Geek events. At Cactus it is our passion and responsibility keeping ourselves up to date in the legal technology scene in order to offer our clients the tools and practices that best fit their needs. 

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