Shieldcast: Episode 008

Hosted by Geoff Dunnett

Modern Law: Daniel Porus on building user-centred products and scaling a legal tech company globally

Daniel Porus, Chief Commercial Officer at Legatics joins Geoff to discuss legal tech ecosystems and scaling up a successful legal tech business during a global pandemic.

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Prior to Legatics, Daniel worked as a corporate solicitor at leading New Zealand and Australian firms. 

His frustrations with the inefficiencies of his day to day practice ultimately led him to Cambridge University Judge Business School and, following business school, Daniel has been combining his interest in technology and knowledge of the working practices of lawyers at Legatics to address what had driven him away from the law and help to improve its practice for lawyers of the future.

Daniel holds an MBA from Cambridge University and an LLB/BA Economics from the University of Auckland and has turned six years of experience as a legal professional to building one of the leading lights of legaltech.

 

In this Modern Law episode of Shieldcast, Daniel and Geoff discuss:

  • What insights and challenges of the legal industry can influence technology and innovation
  • Why ‘billable hours’ is a false KPI, now clients and users increasingly demand more from the legal industry
  • When firms are most likely to be open to change and how legal tech can collaborate with stakeholders on solutions
  • How legal tech innovators can penetrate new markets and scale up for increased demand in challenging times.

Listen to this Modern Law edition of Shieldcast to find out more!

Read the transcript of this podcast

Geoff: What is considered the cutting edge of legal tech is broadly synonymous with discussions around the use of AI and machine learning for e-discovery and document automation and robot lawyers. But the often overlooked part of legal tech ecosystems are the tools that help with legal transaction management. Today’s guest to Shieldcast is Daniel Porus from Legatics, and we’re going to be talking about just that. How attitudes to legal tech are changing and what it means to scale a legal tech business and anything else we can get around to. Dan, welcome to the Shieldcast.

Daniel: Thank you very much for having me, Geoff.

Geoff: Daniel is Chief Commercial Officer at Legatics. And prior to Legatics, Daniel worked as a corporate solicitor at leading New Zealand then Australian firms. His frustrations with the inefficiencies of his day to day practice ultimately led him to Cambridge to do an MBA. Following business school, Daniel has been combining his interest in technology and knowledge of the working practices of lawyers at Legatics to address what has driven him away from the law and helped to improve its practice for lawyers of the future. Something that is also very close to my heart, making the practice of lawyers better for the lawyers of the future, so I’m very excited to be talking to you about Legatics and about all things legal tech today. So, to kick things off, please give us your elevator pitch, your 30 second pitch on Legatics and who your clients are.

Daniel: Excellent, thanks so much, Geoff. So, essentially Legatics is an intuitive transaction management platform. And we simplify and automate the management and conclusion of legal transactions. What we do is put users at the heart of our design to improve legacy working methods and thereby increasing collaboration, efficiency and transparency. Our customers are a lot of the world’s top law firms. Some of our customers include firms like Allen and Overy, Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills. Something that I thought might be worth doing is just to help conceptualise it a little bit, just give a bit of an example as to how we’re used and the pain point that we’re addressing. So essentially lawyers are still very heavily dependent on very large lists and manual processes when they organise their transactions.

If we use an example of financing a wind farm or a power station, what lawyers do is they have the underlying loan agreement but then they’ll have a checklist which they’re using to manage the process. And this is typically done using Microsoft Word. This table in Word is sent out to the various parties and the second it’s sent out it’s out of date. Emails are flying back and forth, nobody really knows what’s going on, they have to sit on very lengthy all-parties calls. Then it’s a junior lawyer’s job typically to go through to update the checklist, recirculate it round and repeat the process again. So, what Legatics does is it provides a platform to automate these processes, providing a central store of truth for the transaction documentation and real-time visualisation of the transaction status for all the counter-parties via the Legatics dashboard.

Geoff: Daniel, if only that had been available when I was still in private practice, I think I might have been able to stay a bit longer. It’s a tool that I’ve watched you guys grow over the last few years and I’m very excited to see how well it’s been going. What’s interesting for me is that you really are dealing with a pain point that is for lawyers particularly around doing those transactions. Does your position or your previous career as a lawyer give you that unique insight? Is it essential to the success of Legatics that you and your co-founder were lawyers?

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