The importance of dogfooding: why everyone should be their own client at least once

20 September 2018

When I first started this business, I wrote my own service terms and conditions. And, wow, was it a weird experience. I sat there, both lawyer and client within the confines of my own skull, gaining large doses of sympathy for my former clients – where previously there had only been surface understanding.

What I was discovering, in those moments of doubt, was the benefit of “dogfooding”. It’s a tech world term, coined within the development teams of Microsoft all the way back in 1988.

Why the off-putting analogy with dog food, you ask? Who knows. Whatever you call it, it’s worth chowing down on your own outputs every now and again.

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The road to success is paved with coffee

3 September 2018

I’ve been working on a formula to predict career trajectory. It may not be mathematically sound, but the underlying point is valid: the more we actually talk with our colleagues, the more value we provide over our career. It’s hard to do, for something we call a ‘soft’ skill.

What do ‘soft’ skills have to do with technology in the workplace? It’s tempting to think of technology as just another tool to give us more time to do other things. However, technology is fundamentally ingrained in the operations of every business.

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Six ways legal technology can solve in-house legal pain

20 August 2018

Life as in-house counsel has many benefits. Working closely with internal clients, building an understanding of the business, operating with greater autonomy, developing a sense of acceptable risk. But any in-house counsel knows that those upsides come with a unique set of frustrations to be managed on a daily basis.

A survey in 2017 shows that there is a huge opportunity for corporate counsel to tackle those frustrations with legal technology. Only 21% of respondents reported having e-contracts, and only 5% use intelligent contract software. 17% use no technology whatsoever.

Here are six ways that legal tech can help in-house teams tackle strategic issues and build the strong, embedded relationships that allow them to add tangible value to the business.

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You be the judge: adding value in an AI world

18 June 2018

In the midst of intense Cold War hostilities, the Soviet system monitoring US activity sounded an alert. Five nuclear missiles were on their way; the onset of World War III was in the hands of Soviet Air Defence Forces Lieutenant-Colonel Stansilav Petrov. Petrov’s judgment of the situation – based on the nature of the detected threat and the severity of the consequences of retaliating – held him back. The alert turned out to be a false positive. Disaster averted.

As we head towards 2020, it is both anachronistic and telling that this story – from 1983 – so effectively demonstrates both the potential and limitations for automating human judgement.

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What lawyers can learn from the world of software

7 March 2018

There's a common acronym in the world of software development known as "DRY", or Don't Repeat Yourself. It's a pretty simple concept. All it means is that you should never write something twice when writing it once would suffice.

The idea is that the more complex something is, the greater the chance for error. By minimizing the number of "moving parts", you minimize the risk of something going wrong.

This isn't an overly esoteric concept. In fact, most lawyers are probably applying the practice already.

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