Kathryn DeBord is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Global Chief Innovation Officer and co-leader of Cantilever, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s...
Daniel W. Linna Jr. is a Visiting Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Dan is also...
Sometimes new legal solutions can be developed by reframing the way lawyers look at a problem. In this episode of Law Technology Now, host Dan Linna talks to Katie DeBord about how her role as chief innovation officer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner helps the firm stay aggressively relevant in solving problems for their clients. They talk about how her multidisciplinary innovation team works to provide resources and training to lawyers to help them improve their legal service delivery. Coupling innovative technology with legal expertise brings law practice to a higher, more competitive level.
Kathryn DeBord is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s (BCLP) global chief innovation officer and co-leader of Cantilever, BCLP’s legal operations consulting group.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Thomson Reuters.
Law Technology Now
Legal Innovation: Imagining Creative Solutions for Clients
Intro: You are listening to the Legal Talk Network.
Bob Ambrogi: Hello. I am Bob Ambrogi.
Monica Bay: And I am Monica Bay.
Bob Ambrogi: We have been writing about law and technology for more than 30 years.
Monica Bay: That’s right. During that time we have witnessed many changes and innovations.
Bob Ambrogi: Technology is improving the practice of law, helping lawyers deliver their services faster and cheaper.
Monica Bay: Which benefits not only lawyers and their clients, but everyone.
Bob Ambrogi: And moves us closer to the goal of access to justice for all.
Monica Bay: Tune in every month as we explore the new legal technology and the people behind the tech.
Bob Ambrogi: Here on Law Technology Now.
Daniel Linna: Hello. This is Dan Linna. Welcome to Law Technology Now on the Legal Talk Network. My guest today is Katie DeBord, the Global Chief Innovation Officer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Katie is also the Co-leader of Cantilever, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s legal operations consulting group. Katie, welcome to the show.
Kathryn DeBord: Thank you Dan.
Daniel Linna: But before we get started, we want to thank our sponsors.
Support for this podcast and the following message comes from Thomson Reuters Westlaw Edge. Thank you Thomson Reuters.
Alright, well Katie so you’re the Chief Innovation Officer at Bryan Cave Leighton & Paisner or should I say BCLP, I guess that’s a little bit mouthful, I don’t know what the —
Kathryn DeBord: BCLP seems to be easier for most people.
Daniel Linna: Okay, Chief Innovation Officer at BCLP. Can you just tell us more about that role? What your responsibilities are? What you’re doing?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah and it’s funny because I originally took this role for legacy Bryan Cave in 2015 and if you were to see a job description that I would write in 2015 as to what my role was, I guarantee you it works about every month if not every day but on a global level what I would say is that, I think as innovation changing your products and services, figuring out better ways to solve your clients’ problems really is becoming more of a matter of strategy and when people ask what I do, I find myself more and more saying that I am part of building the firm strategic vision for how it should be working, how it should be delivering client services.
And frankly, how our attorneys should be thinking about that client service delivery, so I touch those — the solutions end of things, I obviously co-lead our entity that works with law departments to solve legal operation solutions and think forward about where we should be operating and how we should be doing it.
Daniel Linna: Well how would you describe your kind of your mission and vision as the Chief Innovation Officer? Right like what are you aiming to accomplish for your firm?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah I think very simply our firm needs to stay aggressively relevant in solving our client’s problems and understanding how to do that first of all understanding the problems as they exist today, not two years ago, and knowing the best way to solve those problems is really helping our clients meet their objectives. And at a high level, that’s what my role is.
Daniel Linna: Okay what would you say are some of the key initiatives that you have going on? Right, now you have mentioned a couple of those in just describing your role but what are the kind of the things you’re really focused on moving the needle on?
Kathryn DeBord: So the firm back in 2015 launched a Legal Operations Consultancy Division that you referenced, it’s now renamed Cantilever and that launch was really the recognition that for a long time the firm had been through isolated engagements, working with law departments to solve legal operations problems. And the firm had been doing that before I think legal operations was even a term.
And over time, we developed the technical expertise, we developed the technical expertise to build the proprietary technology for our clients but also just the understanding of law departments, where their challenges were, what their objectives were.
So that ultimately became that we branded entity Cantilever through the merged firm. And where we are now is we have if you’re thinking about a pyramid, we have legal operations at the bottom and then the next layer of legal service delivery really is that routine legal work, where most of our clients have a lot churning, a lot to manage where efficiencies are most needed, where technology frankly can be most relevant. And then at the high end, you have that complex advisory work.
And having built out the legal operations expertise what we are really trying now is to create a streamlined end-to-end service offering for our clients so that we can help them from the legal operations challenge, through the routine legal work all the way to the complex advisory work in a streamlined, highly efficient fashion.
Daniel Linna: Well I think this idea of having an affiliate organization that works with legal departments is really interesting and there are a couple of firms doing things like that.
Before we dive in that a little bit more, I think an interesting question is, we have kind of viewed for a while it seems like legal operations in corporate legal department says different than legal operations in law firms, I mean it kind of seems there’s convergence there, or do you think there’s a difference really in the way we ought to think about what is legal operations?
Kathryn DeBord: So it’s interesting because I agree that some people think of legal operations in law firms as really the operational arm of the law firm. The COO, at least that’s what I’ve come across. When we talk about our legal operations solutions division, we are truly talking about working directly with client law departments and helping them solve their most common problems.
So contract management, lease management, matter management, discuss that law departments over and over say, this is out of control or this is interfering with my relationship with the business or this is preventing me from being part of revenue growth for the business because we have these sticking points. That’s where our division works.
I have heard the term legal operations used in a different way that’s not how we use it.
Daniel Linna: Okay. So there’s more and more talk about innovation really across the legal industry and I think a lot of people have different ideas about what should or shouldn’t count as innovation inside of law firms. I mean how do you go about really defining it or using that terminology and maybe even thinking about how you use that terminology in different settings?
Kathryn DeBord: That’s a good question because I do think that the term innovation, it can do one of a couple of things depending on who is on the receiving end of that term. One is that it can spark creativity and excitement because it can note thinking about things in a different way and solving problems in a different way and applying creativity.
To another person, it sounds trite and cliché and like a word they hear a lot but they don’t really know what it means and to another person, it sounds wildly intimidating because they think it means really big things. They think that in order to innovate, they have to develop the Uber for legal service.
And so, what I try to do a lot is change the vocabulary depending on who I’m speaking with because if you start talking to people about how they can reframe their conversations with their clients to understand their clients’ problems in a different way, and then think about different ways they can solve those problems, that’s innovation. You don’t have to use the word in order to do it, and that’s the kind of conversation that really I found resonates with certain lawyers and is a good way to think about it.
To answer your question very bluntly, I think innovation is anything where you are making your products or service delivery better.
Daniel Linna: Yeah that makes a lot of sense to me. I mean I do hear people sometimes say that well, one of the problems is that there is maybe hype around certain things where people are even just project management for example, some law firms saying oh well, we’re doing project management but when you look into it you find out, well they scope matters at the beginning but is there really actually project management through the process.
Kathryn DeBord: Right.
Daniel Linna: No, right, different examples like that. And so calling out the hype but I still think that doesn’t diminish the fact that in the legal industry, it is innovative to think about improving processes, think about using project management. The fact that they have been doing that for a long time into other verticals doesn’t make it less innovative; well maybe it’s a little less innovative, but it’s still, it’s innovation, it’s work that needs to be done in our industry.
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah and I think people really get stuck, not all people, but I do think that some people get stuck when they think in order to be innovative I have to do something big or it has to be something that involves technology. And it doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to involve technology.
Daniel Linna: Yeah. Katie, can you tell us a little bit about your team? There’s lots of talk about the need for allied professionals in the legal industry to help us innovate, how about your team, well what does it look like?
Kathryn DeBord: Sure. And I think our team has evolved overtime and certainly, since the merger we’ve been able through the merger to have a lot of expertise augmented through with the combined firm. We have on the one side, we have the Cantilever team, which was part of what we consider our innovation teams and Chris Emerson and I co-lead that team. That team is — it has data analysts, it has software developers, it has people who are highly skilled in understanding legal operations and challenges, the common legal operations problems and working with clients to solve those problems.
And then, we have what we kind of colloquially call our core innovation team, which is a group of about six people who work directly with our attorneys across the world to help them understand what we’re doing, that internal engagement and communication is absolutely critical and I want to come back to that in a second. But help them understand what we’re doing, work with our attorneys to identify solutions to their client problems, help stitch together maybe a solution that is the potential Cantilever solution and get everybody talking and working together.
And so that’s really how at a high-level how we are structured.
Daniel Linna: Well, you’re at an interesting spot to think about kind of maybe the way legal services delivery might differ here in the US versus say in the UK, because of the merger. There’s this kind of general consensus that some of the UK firms are out in front of US firms. I mean what would you say about?
Kathryn DeBord: You’re right and it’s been interesting and really cool in some ways, because I think in some ways the UK market is — because it’s so congested, it has forced the UK law firms to do things differently and to innovate at a more rapid pace and a more pressured pace than I would say historically has been foisted upon the US firm.
What has been interesting is that the both legacy firms had a strong history, really strong history of innovation and commitment to it, and I would say from the legacy DLP side and just the UK side, we were considered kind of an anomaly in the US market by them in terms of how much we were doing and where we were focused on. I think it was naturally — the merger was a naturally good fit for a lot of reasons, but one of them was because we really were focused from the US side on these issues and on legal innovation.
Daniel Linna: You mentioned also Katie that part of your role is training lawyers. Can you tell us a little bit about the training that you’re providing to lawyers around innovation?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah, yeah it’s funny because in about an hour I’m about to go talk to our new associates about innovation and so the firm has a Learning and Development team that’s amazing, and I work closely with them on innovation and helping to think through, what our associates need to be trained and when and offer new partners.
I think it depends on the level of the associate, how you get them thinking about these issues. I would say that not every associate comes in the door having a working understanding of legal innovation, what’s happening in the marketplace and so there’s some build up that needs to occur with developing that groundwork.
I think it’s important to get their brains — when you’re a new associate, you’re drinking from a fire hose and you’re busy, and you’re solving typically a partner’s crisis, that is typically a client crisis, and so getting them even little nuggets to think about beyond their immediate crisis to the ultimate goal of solving — identifying and solving a client’s problem is probably the most important goal that I have when I’m talking to the new associates.
When they get a little bit older or down the line, we have what’s called the Business Academy, which has been around on the Bryan Cave side, for some amount of time and the Business Academy really is a combination of teaching legal operations principles, understanding the clients’ perspective principles and also teaching these concepts of multidisciplinary legal service delivery.
What does it mean to use process technology and people to stitch together a solution that better solves the client problem that you have and depending on their seniority, the coursework and what we do during that training program varies a bit, but those are at a high level what we try to teach them.
Daniel Linna: Well Katie, I noticed you said that not all new associates have a background on legal innovation. I would guess that probably most new associates are kind of surprised when you start talking about the need to innovate in the legal space. What do you think law schools ought to be doing in this space to prepare their graduates?
Kathryn DeBord: It’s interesting because I asked this question of our new associates every year since I started in this role, and I would say that the numbers have gone up modestly, but you are absolutely correct that the majority really haven’t — had the kind of coursework that we’re talking about or these ideas exposed to them that the way that law is delivered to clients can and should change.
Yeah, and it’s a lot, if you think about it, trying to lay the groundwork or tell them everything in one day is impossible. It really is something that needs to be stitched into them. I don’t know how to say it. It needs to — they need to become part of the way that they think and it would be from a law firm perspective having a more coherent curriculum that infuses some of these principles into everyday teaching, right.
If you’re thinking about property, a property course and you’re thinking about how to think about this from the client’s perspective and what problem what might you be solving through this and how could you solve it beyond just using your brain, what kind of people, kind of expertise that they need. It would prepare them I think a lot better for coming out into the real world and solving the real client problems.
Daniel Linna: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, because even where at schools we are getting assent, we’re doing some of this or still may be a sense for some that well, first of all, that maybe students at top schools don’t need this and we’re seeing that start to change, but even then that will not all attorneys will need to have this. I mean my sense is that we’re going to need to see all attorneys have some understanding across a space and then there are opportunities for others who can really develop greater and greater expertise. I don’t know, is that consistent maybe as some of what you’re seeing or?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah, I totally agree with that. I mean look I’m a lawyer by background and I loved complex legal issues. I loved taking them apart. I litigated during the wave of challenges to arbitration clauses with the class actions, that went all the way up to the Supreme Court. I litigated a lot of those cases underneath and I love piecing apart legal principles.
And so, I’m not saying that that skill set is no longer relevant; of course, complex advisory work and complex analytical ability is going to be always relevant, but I think now about sometimes it’s easy to lose the ultimate goal, which is to be focused on what is the client’s problem and how do we solve it, how do we mitigate this so it doesn’t happen the next time around? How can we use data in technology to force shadow the new type of consumer claim that’s going to hit the company or whatever it is.
Even on an access to justice level, we as lawyers have an obligation to be thinking about constantly iterating how we’re delivering legal services and how we are advising our clients and again, how we’re improving society from the access to justice standpoint.
So I think it’s really important.
Daniel Linna: Yeah, well I tend to agree definitely on all those points. Well you know Katie, I also want to get your input on thinking about legal technology and where we’re really going with artificial intelligence, but before we continue our interview with Katie DeBord, we are going to take a quick break to hear a message from our sponsor.
Monica Bay: Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw Edge is the most intelligent legal research platform ever. Powered by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, Westlaw Edge delivers the fastest answers and the most valuable insights, providing you with a clear strategic advantage. The advanced features on Westlaw Edge allow legal professionals to practice with a greater degree of certainty and confidence, never before available. Visit westlawedge.com to learn more.
Daniel Linna: And we are back. Thank you for joining us. We are with Katie DeBord, The Global Chief Innovation Officer at Bryan Cave Leighton & Paisner. Well Katie, we’ve been talking about innovation and I’ve talked in before, we’ve spoken before a little bit about artificial intelligence of where it’s going and there been maybe some missed darts where some technologies were a bit overhyped but I think we’re both kind of tend to agree that AI is going to have a bigger impact than maybe a lot of people understand and the practice of law.
I mean how are you taking that kind of into consideration on and not to put words in your mouth, you tell us I mean how are you taking that into consideration in the work you’re doing at Bryan Cave?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah, no I agree. I mean I think you need to be careful to not create tech fatigue, right among attorneys because they are busy, again they are in the trenches doing what they do and overhyping technology and creating skepticism in them is not what we want to do.
What they understand, what our attorneys I think really do understand partly because of the conversations with the innovation team and realistic conversations about where AI is heading is that we are in a data world, right, and they can see their clients using data. They can see data as an incredibly valuable commodity and they understand that artificial intelligence, machine learning, isn’t real, it’s just as technology assisted review, profoundly changed the world of litigators ten years ago however long the web to go now.
AI is and will change how we are able to synthesize information, how we are able to start seeing patterns that we may have not seen before, how we’re able to use data to give clients a better ability to make data-driven decisions.
And so, I certainly think that well sometimes, it’s dangerous to use the word artificial intelligence. If you put it in the right context, people get it and our firm’s goal is to number one, understand what artificial intelligence does and does not do, right, both the rule-based and statistic-based AI. And two, to get us into a position within the firm so that we have our data organized in a way that we can effectively use AI.
And number three, make sure our attorneys understand what these tools look like today and what they are going to look like tomorrow and why it’s important. I mean these conversations with our attorneys go all the way to knowledge management and explaining to them. It’s important for you to have good paying practices because this is how you are going to be able to do cool stuff and they get that.
Daniel Linna: Yeah, I’d really like to try to get more people excited about how to use innovation and technology, be more proactive and think about what you mentioned access to law, access to justice, I think there’s huge gains that can be made in that space, if we leverage technology. But inside the law firm like I think back to when I was at Honickman, I partnered at Honickman trying to keep building a book of business and a tool like LegalMation, for example, as a litigator, a tool I could use to feed in a complaint and have it automatically generate an answer in discovery requests.
And thinking about why aren’t more law firms being a bit more proactive in adopting technology like that, why is it more, it does seem like the corporate legal departments are the ones more so, there are a couple law firms getting on board now. But, how do we get more practicing lawyers and firms excited about being proactive in using these tools and not seeing as a race to the bottom but an opportunity to improve their practice, improve the quality of their practice, get better outcomes, generate greater value and build more profitable books of business?
Kathryn DeBord: We had a lot of partners in this space who get it and are excited and what they get excited about is being able to deliver more for their clients faster. They’re excited that they’re able to say yes when their clients ask them if they can do certain things in 72 hours.
It gives them a different ability to be that full service partner to their clients and once they get that, once they get the augmentation of technology to their practice, allows them to really deliver on what their clients are needing, they get excited about it.
Daniel Linna: Yeah and so there are a growing number of tools out there. One of the things I hear folks like you grappling with is well do we buy tools, do we buy point solutions that are available —
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah.
Daniel Linna: Do we need that — what do we need to develop in-house, how do we decide, there’s so many shiny toys out there in directions that go, how do we get focused and how do we decide whether we build or buy in this data analytics machine learning, artificial intelligence world?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah. I mean I think for us, it’s a question of where we want to be create scalability from a strategic level, when you can create scalable solutions even for a specific industry. It gives you the ability to learn from those solutions to iterate and to do more with them and provide more back to your clients. I am not a huge fan of point solutions just for the sake of saying that we brought them in. I’m always — my first question with any new software company is what does your API look like and can you integrate and how good of a partner will you be with being flexible with doing new things with your technology.
We also have our own in-house developer team that’s our R&D Guru for our skunk work and we do believe that some stuff we do need to build ourselves and that’s mostly because we need to have the flexibility to configure quickly or to customize quickly and we don’t have that same flexibility when it’s a third-party software.
Daniel Linna: Katie I want to go back to something else you said and I think this relates to getting lawyers and law students and law faculty, others engaged and I think sometimes we have this disconnect between some of the things you are talking about earlier like project management, process improvement, data analytics, we tend to think of it as back office things.
But I think we are seeing more and more now that these disciplines, they help make people better lawyers they go to the core of solving legal problems and delivering better quality, better outcomes on the substantive legal parts of what we are doing, I mean would you agree with that?
Kathryn DeBord: Totally. I mean we’ve had many clients say one of them on a PLI CLE that having people with the legal operations expertise or the process expertise is absolutely critical and it has in a few instances, we have had clients say this is why you are going to work is because you had people at the table who speak our language and you only get it. Our process improvement team they are commonly sitting at the table with clients.
I think that the reality and when they see these interactions between these multidisciplinary teams and the clients, the lawyers really do get it that the practice of law is becoming multidisciplinary, that the way that we achieve value is by applying the collective legal operations process and technical expertise with the legal expertise to really ideate the best solution for the client, the best way to engage the client maybe even issues spot ways we can help the client but the client hasn’t thought of
Daniel Linna: Yeah. I want to shift gears just a little bit and talk about the evolving legal ecosystem and when we’re in law firms, we tend to only look to other law firms as our competitors and we have really seen the landscape start to change. I mean what do you think, where should we be looking as the most likely source is a competition that ought to, that we ought to be thinking about and it’s looking outside from law firms?
Kathryn DeBord: What I tell people is a bit that areas of competition are the clients themselves who are — if we don’t innovate they will. The Big Four obviously more so in Europe but I wouldn’t say that’s going to stay that way forever. The LPOs like United Labs elevate and obviously to some extent the technology providers but I think I would consider, not consider them direct competition but they are certainly taking away some market share.
The one unique factor about law firm is that we do have this — the expertise. We have the complex advisory capabilities that none of those other entities have across the range of legal issues.
So as law firms, what we need to do is understand how our clients need their legal services to be delivered, understand why if they’re breaking apart matters, sending some to law firms, some, some to an LPO, understand why that is instead of brushing it off as look that the law firm doesn’t want to do, and really recognize that as a law firm we have an opportunity to be a full-service partner to our clients, we will be all right.
Daniel Linna: What about inside of the law firms getting more lawyers engaged in innovation, one of the challenges frequently seems to be the misalignment of incentives where then to the year one compensation is determined, it’s all about billable hours and revenue generation and I mean we’re seeing some firms now give credit for time spent on innovation and there’s always a question of whether that was actually credited when the computation was undertaken, but how do you inside of law firms try to drive for better alignment between the behaviors say you want, let your lawyers innovating and the way you compensate them or the other incentive structures in place?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah, I mean that’s a really complex problem, and something that I think must be solved. The incentive structure has to be aligned, you’re absolutely right about that. And the smart law firms out there are thinking about that.
I also think that, I mean it’s certainly important to give people credit for innovation. We do that at BCLP, but I think even more important than that is just that information sharing component, getting law firm attorneys and partners aware of the opportunities that they have, aware of what the clients, what the GCs are saying and giving them the ability to address it, to giving them talking points to speak with their clients in a way that they are confident.
Right before this podcast I was reading an article that J.M. posted, and she was essentially saying, partners are adversarial to legal innovation, they’re just not at the table. They’re busy in the trenches, fighting for their clients.
And I think that’s absolutely right, and so I think no doubt incentive alignment is important, but equally important is just figuring out ways to have conversations with partners that give them tools to behave differently, to work with their clients differently and to make different kinds of offerings.
Daniel Linna: To what extent do you think that — I mean are you seeing a different in the attorneys that you hire who have had some training in legal innovation technology? I mean you’ve spoken to my classes at the University of Michigan and Michigan State at Northwestern here, I mean do you think, because part of the culture problem seems to be that, I mean that starts in law school and so if you don’t have an appreciation.
I mean if you don’t have — if you don’t understand leadership and management and this idea of like the — the problem of always being focused on just the seemingly important urgent stuff in front of you today and not being able to see the bigger picture, it seems like it’s hard to maybe cause that mindset shift later on inside of the law firms. I mean to what extent do we — is it really the law schools that need to make change and make a contribution here?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah, I mean I do see. I would say the most profound difference I see is partners who come from some sort of background that’s given them an understanding of process engineering, sometimes that’s technical, sometimes it’s not, but I definitely see a trend of the partners who I would say are the most — have the most ingenuity in terms of their practice and how they’re thinking about their comfort level with iterating the way that they practice.
I think that it absolutely starts with law schools. No doubt about it. And if they start teaching that iterating how you practice, iterating how you’re solving your clients’ problems as part of being a lawyer, that’s one of the core foundational skill sets of being a lawyer is constantly rethinking how you are actually delivering your services to your client whoever your client is, that would take us a long way.
Daniel Linna: What other disciplines, competencies do you think are important to have whether we’re teaching them in law school or whether you’re teaching them as kind of like part of your training program, specifically around innovation and leveraging technology as the lawyer?
Kathryn DeBord: I mean it sounds really simple, but having that mental check-in of what’s happening within your clients’ business, what are your clients’ objectives. Do where your clients’ objectives are?
If you don’t, go have a conversation with your clients about their objectives, that kind of client centric mindset I think sometimes especially for associates, not as much as partners. When you’re again, when you’re kind of in the trenches, it’s easy to lose track of the client, and that’s one of the main things that we try to teach at the BCBA is even as associates, let’s focus on those clients, think about what they need, what is their ultimate goal to make money typically.
And what is the legal department’s ultimate goal to help the business make money. What am I seeing? What are areas of improvement that I could recommend to my client to help them achieve their goals? How can I have conversations with them about what their goals are so that I can be a more meaningful contributor to their business objectives?
I don’t know if that’s like a background, that you can teach, but I suspected it is. I mean I suspect that law schools could figure out a way to kind of reboot in some ways law students to say, okay, let’s remember at the end of the day no matter where you go to practice, even if you’re a professor, I would submit, you have to remember your clients’ objectives.
Daniel Linna: Yeah. What about like you — a couple of my classes that you’ve come to we’re building expert systems, you spoke at my Northwestern class last semester, AI and Legal Reasoning and demystifying AI, building expert systems, do you think, I mean you talked about building expert systems at Bryan Cave, I mean is that something if lawyers have an understanding of that. I mean is that, do you think that’s a valuable skill set to have?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah and well, part of yes, I do, and part of the reason why is because lawyers you can — once you know that something like that exists and how you might use it and how a client might benefit from it, you can issue spot opportunities, right.
So if you’re familiar with a tool, if you’ve worked with the tool, you can down the line identify more opportunities to use a tool. If you don’t know it, you can’t issue spot, the opportunities for it, just like if you don’t know a certain area of the law, you’re not going to be able to issue spot problems pertaining to that area of law.
And so there’s no doubt that having exposure to legal technology that you can use to stitch together a complete solution is important, just like having background and process improvement. Knowing when a process of engineer would be useful, is half a battle.
Daniel Linna: Well, we are getting close to wrapping up here, Katie, but I wanted to ask you, you and I have spoken a little bit about and there’s been a fair amount of attention as there should be about lawyers’ lack of work/life balance frequently and episodes of depression, suicide, alcoholism in the profession, lack of gender diversity, lack of other types of diversity and spotting this kind of like overarching problem, but maybe not enough analysis of what’s causing that, and I think we’re in some agreement maybe around the opportunities for thinking about innovation, and process improvement, project management things like that, being something that can help us solve in some of those areas. I mean what are your thoughts on that?
Kathryn DeBord: Yeah, I mean it’s a big question and a big problem and a fat problem, and one of the things that process improvement and project management and frankly, technology helps us do is that, it helps make our lives easier, it helps us feel more in control of what is happening, it helps us understand the steps that we’re taking, it helps us identify problems before they arise, it helps us make adjustments to course adjustments, this if we’re going down the long track, it forces us could you check-in, when sometimes we just go into avoidance mode.
And I think all of that, that feeling of getting control and putting in measures to kind of prevent avoidance is part of the possibilities around mental health in the legal profession and how the process and tech can help people feel more in control. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think that’s the only answer, but it’s certainly an interesting question and it’s an interesting proposition that could process improvement and project management improve the lives and work/life balance of lawyers. My bet is yes.
Daniel Linna: Yeah, well, I mean, I think part of it is too is what we learned. So it’s applying these disciplines directly, but it’s also in solving those problems, but then using these disciplines in the process of solving these problems in a methodical sort of problem-solving way, which seems like a lot of times we don’t kind of get to that stage in discussing the problem.
Kathryn DeBord: Yes, absolutely, great. An interesting one.
Daniel Linna: Well Katie, thank you very much for joining us today, and can you just let our listeners please know how they could contact you?
Kathryn DeBord: Yes, and Dan, thank you for having me, it was fun. So you can contact me either at [email protected] or (303) 866-0337.
Daniel Linna: And you are also on Twitter, Katie?
Kathryn DeBord: I am also on Twitter @DebordKatie.
Daniel Linna: Yes, as every legal innovator should be, all right.
All right, well, thanks again, Katie. It was really great to have you as a guest today. I appreciate you spending time with us. This has been another edition of Law Technology Now on the Legal Talk Network.
If you liked what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcasts. Join us next time for another edition of Law Technology Now. I am Dan Linna, signing off.
Outro: If you would like more information about what you have heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com, subscribe via iTunes and RSS, find us on Twitter and Facebook or download our free Legal Talk Network App in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Law Technology Now features key players, in the legal technology community, discussing the top trends and developments in the legal technology world.
Casey Flaherty talks about what it means to be the director of legal project management and if the community has been successful.
James Lee and Thomas Suh, co-founders of LegalMation, talk about how artificial intelligence can transform the practice of law.
Katie DeBord talks about how her role as chief innovation officer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner helps the firm stay aggressively relevant in solving...
Zach Warren talks about what Legaltech News will be focusing on at the show, what’s different about this years Legaltech and if LegalWeek has...
TJ Johnson talks about what technology projects law firms are implementing today and whether or not law firms are generally successful with new technology.
Jason Barnwell talks about the Trusted Advisor Forum and how his team at Microsoft is working to build the practice of the future.