A legal technologist who can write

In May, I published Post 092, which provided guidelines for guest contributors.  My primary goal — or more accurately, highest hope — was to find a few professionals who possessed the communication skills to explain very technical but important topics to Legal Evolution readers, particularly in areas related to legal technology.

Much to my delight, this produced an inquiry from the perfect candidate, Kenneth Jones, Chief Technologist for Tanenbaum Keale, a highly successful litigation boutique focused on mass torts and product liability work. Ken is also the Chief Operating Officer of Xerdict Group, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tannenbaum Keale that delivers collaboration software products, case management systems, and case management support tools to corporate clients and other legal service providers. Ken is a law industry veteran, having served in these two roles since 2002. Prior to joining Tanenbaum Keale, Ken was Director of Information Management at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he worked closely with the legal department.

In Post 108, Ken explains the topic of legal technology platforms through the lens of Xerdict.  This format converts a complex technical topic — the evolution from “Client Hosted” to “On Premise” to “Software as a Subscription” (SaaS) to “Platform as a Subscription” (PaaS) — into a business narrative where the storyline is driven by the needs of clients.  Indeed, the plot is simple:  a handful of lawyers and allied professionals observed the bottlenecks experienced by their clients and came together for formulate a solution.  Eventually that solution turned into a business that serves a wider swath of business needs in areas connected to the practice and processing of law.

Xerdict is a interesting success story because it has given its law firm owners a significant competitive advantage in a highly competitive and price-sensitive area of law. How did that happen?  By being very business-minded a long time ago and being willing to collaborate in a sophisticated way with non-legal professionals. It also likely helped that the entire firm was focused on a particular class of legal problems — mass torts and product liability — thus making it easier (but probably not easy) for Tanenbaum Keale partners to agree on a strategy and share risk.

For our purposes, however, the result of the Tanenbaum/Xerdict journey is a great case study of the power of data, process, and technology to reign in legal spend and reduce overall legal liability. It is great to find specialist who are such great communicators. I hope you learn as much from Ken’s post as I did.