Please give us three points to summarize you and your work in legal technology.
I am the CEO of Standd, an AI-native due diligence and deal review platform. Our vision is to provide a platform where lawyers, investors, bankers, buyers, and sellers work together to close deals with greater transparency, better insights, fewer fire drills, and more time to build the relationships that are critical to success.
Though only about a year old, Standd has been growing fast and gaining recognition. Last fall, Standd was selected out of 1200+ applicants for the AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders, where we received non-dilutive funding and incredible support from AWS. A few months later, we were selected for Techstars Seattle -- where we won best pitch at Demo Day in February 2023. Standd launched its MVP in March 2023 and the full due diligence platform in July 2023. We're currently piloting our software with law firms and financial firms.
I think legal tech, much like litigation where I began my career, is primarily about people. I love talking to lawyers all over the world about their work, what brings them fulfillment, and what causes frustration. I began my journey in legal tech just talking to lawyers in different roles to learn more about the problem I wanted to solve, and these conversations continue to be one of the best parts of my job.
How did you become involved in legal tech?
I came to legal tech from an unlikely part of the legal industry: the federal government. I started my legal career as a DOJ Honors Attorney in the Civil Tax Division, and later moved to the Civil Division, and the Federal Programs Branch. I spent over a decade working as a litigator for the department, where I was fortunate to work on some fascinating and impactful cases. But I never felt like litigation was the right fit for my skills and personality. I had always had an entrepreneurial streak: I wrote a blog in law school, and enjoyed growing my readership to impressive numbers, and at DOJ I co-founded the first department-wide gender equity affinity group, which now has thousands of members. To figure out my next move, I started having coffee with lawyers who'd left jobs at the government or top firms to start their own firms, and was so inspired by their gumption, creativity, and focus on personal fulfillment. I also saw an opportunity: many of these firms were trying to use technology to improve efficiency. That inspired me to make the jump to start building in the legal tech space.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
We built Standd to eliminate the time-consuming, manual work and provide greater clarity in the legal diligence process, and our early customers are lawyers. But as we've learned more about the diligence and deal review process, we see opportunities to solve problems for everyone around the deal table. We're focusing on learning more about the different players and personas by doing customer discovery, design work, and pilots with venture capital firms, investment banks, private equity firms, and sell-side companies. This research has lead to some exciting innovations that we'll be launching in the coming months.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in legal tech today?
I think generative AI is raising interesting questions about what is and isn't legal work. We as an industry may need to revisit some of our core assumptions about legal work, as they relate to both what constitutes UPL and how we value the services we provide to clients.
What legal tech resource helped you the most in your legal tech career?
The legal tech community as a whole has been a wonderful resource, especially the women of legal tech. I've had so many great conversations with entrepreneurs and leaders at AmLaw100 firms who were willing to share knowledge and feedback, and provide support throughout my time in the industry.
What do you see as the most important emerging tech, legal or not, right now?
I'm certainly excited about the advances in applied and generative AI, but I also think the innovation happening in climate tech is so important.
What do you see for the future of legal tech?
Traditionally, legal tech was more focused on serving institutional interests. Standd, and other new companies, are focusing more on solving problems for individual lawyers to provide greater benefits to the firm as a whole. I think this approach to problem solving is where future innovation will happen.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
Don't try to figure everything out for yourself. Any time I am blocked, I schedule coffees with people who might be able to help -- and every time, it ends up being more valuable than I could have imagined.
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
Michelle Crosby, the CEO and founder of Wevorce, has been an incredible thought partner, supporter, and champion as we've grown and hit our early milestones. She is a true trailblazer, and her determination, passion, and creativity have inspired my whole team.