Shieldcast: Episode 014

Hosted by Geoff Dunnett

Jack Shepherd on the transition from legal practitioner to legal technologist

Legal Practice Lead at iManage Jack Shepherd discusses his experiences making the jump from practicing lawyer to building legaltech products and offers his key pieces of advice and learnings on product development, collecting data and how to incentivise lawyers to adopt new tools. 

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Transaction Management Podcast tiles (6)

Jack Shepherd is a legal practice lead at iManage. He combines his knowledge of legal technology with his experience working as a restructuring lawyer at an international law firm. He has a focus on the processes lawyers do in their day-to-day working lives, and how technologies and processes can feed into these and actually become adopted on the ground. He has particular expertise in transaction management, e-signatures and knowledge management. 

Learn more about iManage: 


LinkedIn: iManage

Twitter: @imanageinc

Jack contributed to our recent Transaction Management eBook. You can read his insights on whether technology has fundamentally changed how we close transactions by downloading the book here

In this Transaction Management episode of Shieldcast, Jack and Geoff discuss:  

  • Customers as the driving force behind iManage's recent acquisitions to expand their product offerings
  • Why the transition from legal practitioner to legal technologist was the "challenge of a lifetime"
  • How to incentivise lawyers to become interested in and adopt new tools
  • The tension between technology pushing standardisation and a lawyer's inherent want to offer client-centric services
  • What to do about data - the collection process and the insights to be extracted

Read the transcript of this podcast

Geoff: On today's episode of the Shieldcast, we welcome Jack Shepherd Legal Practice Lead at iManage. Welcome Jack.

Jack: Hi, Geoff. Good to be here.

Geoff: Jack is another lawyer turned legal techie. Having been trained and practiced as a solicitor at Freshfields, he jumped across the corridor to join the innovation team as a legal tech associate. It was in this role that I first met Jack, a long time ago now, but since then Jack has gone full tech and now is Legal Practice Lead at iManage.

Jack describes himself as being interested in the human side of legal tech and actually getting technology used. I want to delve into that a lot more, a little bit later. A career to date that spans Freshfields, a firm that sort of defines what precedent is in terms of how deals are handled to iManage, a legal tech company on a journey for being known as an email and document management provider to today, a company that touches pretty much every part of the transaction management life cycle.

So, you are absolutely uniquely placed to provide some insights on the topic of this series and I'm very much looking forward to one of our conversations finally being recorded so that posterity can listen to it…or maybe that's a bit too grand.

To begin with Jack, it'd be great if you could tell us a little bit about iManage in your own words and your role as Legal Practice Lead and kind of what you're doing.

Jack: First in iManage, as you say, you teed it up quite well. Most lawyers that have spent time in a reasonable sized firm will know iManage’s risk document management system, email, filing, all that kind of stuff. But iManage is an incredibly exciting company to work for.   It made the acquisition of Raven a few years back, which introduced some AI capabilities to the company, which is kind of where our contracts intelligence solution. It’s all about clause extraction, things like that and our Knowledge Unlocked solution which is knowledge searching. That's where some of those two solutions come from. More recently also with the acquisition of Closing Folders, which introduces a transaction management angles to what the company offers. So, you can really think of iManage now as sort of a full stack legal technology company that provides capabilities pretty much for every part of the legal technology framework that we should need.

My role specifically at iManage, as you say, Legal Practice Lead. I really bring with me my experience of being a lawyer from Freshfields. I think it's incredibly important in any legal technology company, and I don't think you necessarily have to have been a practicing lawyer to bring that experience in, you can do it by having conversations with people and asking the right questions.

But I think fundamentally what iManage's philosophy is about is getting really close to the end users. How can we produce technology that doesn't work in a vacuum, but it just works for the people that need to use it. And it's very much where the company positions itself -being, you know, for knowledge workers, being for people that who's primary asset is knowledge. How can we deliver solutions to them? That really transformed the way they work. That's what we're all about really.

Geoff: It's an interesting transformation, really. I mean, in a very short period of time, Raven was bought maybe a couple of years ago and Closing Folders even more recently than that. So, it's clearly jumping on an opportunity they see or demand from their clients. Do you think that progression for iManage, being driven directly from what their clients have been telling them, and so direct client feedback has been we want you to have everything?

Jack: Yeah, exactly. When we talk about law firms, it's from different people within these law firms and everyone's saying the same thing, from IT directors to innovation people to the end-users and the lawyers, is we want a software stack that speaks to each other nicely. We don't want to go to one vendor for one solution and another vendor for another solution. We want all of these things, surface stuff as package speaking to each other very nicely. That's why APIs are so important in legal technology. So look, knowledge is that the products don't just fit within a silo, but they fit within a framework and a set of processes that touch upon other solutions as well.

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