Talking Legal Ops Software With Jodie Baker, CEO of Xakia

In what started as a research project in 2015, Jodie Baker was asking in-house legal teams one question: what irks you the most in your job?

And the answer was pretty consistent: "I have to do manual reporting, but I don't really know what my team is working on. That when somebody leaves, I don't know how I capture all of that IP."

Fast forward to 2017, Jodie and her team at Xakia now client over 30 in-house legal teams as clients, across Australia, Singapore and the US including some big names like Virgin Australia, Boral and Transurban.

We sat down to talk about her journey so far...

Using JIRA to Manage Your In-house Legal Matters

Using JIRA to Manage Your In-house Legal Matters

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that Megaport's legal team were using a project management tool, called JIRA, to manage their workload.

This is a tool that's super popular with software developers and associated with agile methodology. So when I heard about a legal team using this software, it immediately piqued my interest so I thought I'd get them share their experience using the software with you.

Here's how it went down: 

GC Launches Bootstrap Legal

Amy Wan is the former General Counsel of a real estate crowdfunding platform, Patch of Land, and a real estate securities attorney.

Her clients faced two common problems: #1 they needed their legal documents quickly and #2 the legal fees couldn’t be justified for smaller deals.

Her solution: use automation to help draft legal documents for small real estate projects up to $2 million.

Clients can now complete a form and receive a private placement memorandum (PPM) and other legal documents within 48 hours, signed off (for now I suspect) by Amy.

In her words:

“I didn’t understand why no one was automating the creation of PPMs… I felt like we could do it cheaper, faster and better.”


Analytics for Your Legal Bills

Anyone who has pored over legal bills striking out time entries might appreciate this piece of kit.

After 2 years beta testing with banks and insurance companies, IBM Watson has released it’s Outside Counsel Insights engine into the wild (although I’m yet to actually find this elusive creature on the web).

So according to the PR folks, here’s what it does:

it reads “every single word of text in every single line item of every single legal bill” to “see very quickly where a firm had deviated from the spirit and letter of the [company’s billing] guidelines… no more hiding inefficiency in a dense mass of billing data.”


Hype vs. Reality of Artificial Intelligence in Law

I’m a big fan of anything that cuts through the hype when it come to AI in law.

And Ron Friedmann has done a sterling job of it, summarising the sought-after views of Professors Katie Atkinson and Daniel Katz, who presented at Lexpo ‘17 in Amsterdam this week.

For example, if you’re a fan of expert systems based on rules, here’s some food for thought:

“Dan is bearish on rules-based systems (expert systems). History is not favourable for this approach. Some successes in other fields but not that many. These systems lack common sense. These systems are static but the world changes. Success requires constant updating. Until recently, rules based systems beat data-based systems. Now, however, data beats rules.”


Are You a Legal Engineer?

If you're a lawyer working in-house or in private practice and having a constant nagging feeling that there must be a better way, then perhaps this is for you...

In this call to action, co-founder and chief legal engineer at Wavelength, Drew Winlaw explains his epiphany moment which led him away from practising as a lawyer towards troubleshooting and fixing processes for legal teams.

In his words:

"That transition started with basics like teaching someone how to extract data from a legal practice management system in the right format to reduce their downstream administrative effort. That was the tip of the iceberg, and after that a lot of my work started with the question “Why can’t we do that?”.


The Evolution of the Contract Stack

Here's a neat summary of what's in store for the evolution of contracts.

It sees three major technical phases affecting contracts: (1) PDFs > (2) e-signature > (3) NLP/AI/DLT.

But I'd argue that the more efficient victory awaits by letting APIs / IoT jump ahead of AI to take position #3 – a problem that the folks at seem set on solving with its 'Contract Stack'.

In their words:

"We firmly believe that the contract must transition from a static, manually managed, entity that to one that is dynamic, self-managing, and seamlessly integrated into business processes. This will only occur by enabling contracts to interface with data, auto-reconcile with other systems, perform transactions, provide real-time feedback and analysis to users, and integrate with other enterprise data." No AI required.