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Legaltech Arcade Podcast

Legaltech Arcade Podcast

Summize
March 11, 2021

Legaltech Arcade Podcast: Finding Marginal Gains to Build Better Products

Transcript

Rob MacAdam:

Hello, and welcome to Legaltech Arcade with me Rob MacAdam, an independent podcast about tech-driven legal service delivery, and the people and products that make it all happen. Okay. So, welcome to the latest episode of the Legaltech Arcade Podcast. And this week, I'm really pleased to be joined by Tom Dunlop who's founder and CEO of Summize. Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, thank you very much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Rob MacAdam:

No, it's great to have you on, and I'm really interested to have the discussions today. It's going to be good. But I think you may have listened to some of the episodes, and it's becoming a little bit cheesy now, I guess, me asking this question, but everyone knows what's coming. But were you into video games as a kid? Are you into video games now? And if so, what were some of the favourites?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, definitely. I think, definitely whether this was biased by my sporting background was very much into the, I guess the FIFAs, certainly, Pro Evo in university just seemed to dominate my time there. But I think more recently, I'm less cool, I'd say. I'm very much take more of an interest in my five-year old's Nintendo Switch games, and things like Animal Crossing and Crossy Road was another one that she really enjoys. But yeah, it's interesting to see the development of how Minecraft and things are on the periphery of what the kids are looking at in terms of the kids that are slightly older than her. So, that's the next thing that will be occupying hers and my time. But yeah, less cool these days.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I sympathize. I spend many weekends in front of the TV playing Just Dance with my three daughters. So, it's a long way away from the days of Grand Theft Auto. But yeah, and I used to like the sporting ones as well. But I can remember having some sort of track and field game on the PC, and it's all about pressing the buttons to run as fast as you possibly can.

Tom Dunlop:

As fast as you can, yeah.

Rob MacAdam:

Just I used to really enjoy that.

Tom Dunlop:

Definitely.

Rob MacAdam:

Cool. Okay, so let's get into some of the more interesting topics for the podcast. But I'm really interested to hear a bit more about Summize. It sounds like a really interesting product. So I was just wondering whether you could tell us a little bit about Summize? What problems does it solve? What value does it deliver? Who are you delivering that value for?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, definitely. So, I think it is most basic, what we're trying to solve is essentially the low value just manual tasks, and I guess the frustrations associated around contracts. So, what it is centred around is the fact that we create these instinct contracts summaries. That's at the core of the product. But I think surrounding that, I guess we like to think of ourselves as just that lightweight platform with a really clear focus on that time to value and ease of use. And that's pretty much the approach that we take across the range of the product is really enhance and augment legal teams' existing working habits, and rather than, I guess, drive into a new system or a whole new platform to learn. It's more about that augmentation of existing practices. So, that in a nutshell is what we do.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. So those summaries that come back, are they summaries just purely of the content? Does it do any sort of summary of risk or key points within those contracts?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. So, we have, I guess, two different ways that we can present the summary. So the first way is you literally select the clauses that you want to extract. And what we can do is not just extract, I guess, data. We can give a very specific output. So we can almost interpret the clause. So, for example, on a confidentiality clause, we can understand whether it's a one way or a mutual confidentiality clause. So the actual result of the summary might say, "This is a mutual confidentiality clause or a confidentiality for both parties." And I guess alongside that, we can also trigger red flags automatically, so we can take into account key risks.

Another quite recent development is whilst we've got the full list of clauses, I guess, from the more legal people within businesses and the law firms. We can then flip that and actually turn it into a Q&A summary. So we actually have the ability to say, how do I get paid? What are my biggest risks? How do I get out of the contract? Because that's probably the question that someone asks of a contract. And we can display the summary and the answers to those questions as well as obviously, the full list of the clauses. So there's dual aspects. And I think that goes back to we're trying to augment lawyers the way they do it, but also really take into account practically how do people actually communicate with contracts? What do they actually want to know? Rather than a list of every single clause, if that makes sense.

Rob MacAdam:

Exactly. Yeah, no, it does. And like you say, it's what they want to know, and why they want to know it, and what decisions are they trying to make? I think that's a really interesting trend right now is moving beyond purely just taking data out and presenting it and saying, "Here's the data that's in the contract, or here's some of the clauses." And turning that into actionable insight to say, "What are you trying to do? And if you tell me what you're trying to do, I'll give you the information to go make the right decision." So, yeah, no, I really like that. I really like that. But I mean, you alluded to a couple of points a minute ago. What would you say are the key differentiators for Summize? I guess, there's a lot of good companies operating in the contract analysis space. So, what makes you distinct?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think most, I guess, listeners are using these platforms will probably relate to the fact that contract review tools or technology so far have quite a good use case for particular large scale contract reviews and DDs. But I think the day to day, and the smaller projects, it doesn't feel like there's a lot of tools out there. And I also think that there's a big push, I guess, to create the platform. We are the end to end platform for contracts. And so, what I think that certainly in terms of the differentiators, and how we position ourselves, it's more of a case of, well, rather than trying to draw you to a new platform, get the whole business to come to a new platform.

Really what we're trying to do is have this central repository, but actually, the way people interact with that is through tools that they already know. So the Slack, Teams, SharePoint, the VG Drive, Chrome, even things like that. So that's very much the differentiator between those and a lot. There's more modular contract management, go to whether users already are, and certainly focus on the more day to day lightweight ease of use aspects rather than we've got a huge project with thousands of contracts where we need to run them through and spot the patterns across them.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. So, keep it simple, keep it valuable, and just reduce that friction for people wanting to use it. And I know, we'll come on to talk more about that concept of platforms and one-stop-shops versus some of these more lightweight tools later in the episode. So that'll be really interesting. So what about your background then? So you're at Summize. I suspect you've moved around. You've had a few different roles before you founded it, but can you just highlight your background, your history and your journey from whatever you're doing before to founding and becoming the CEO of Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So, I guess a good place to start, and I still try and hold on to this as something that was in the recent past even though it's going further and further away was the sporting background. So, I mean, a lot of the time I went through the university, and prior to that, I guess my focus was, well, badminton, and being a GB badminton player. And very much to be honest my plan was all about the Olympics, the world-class funding program all leading up to the Olympics, and the legal route wasn't necessarily a primary race at all, actually. It was something that I guess fell into afterwards.

So, yeah, as I was doing my law degree, I was still essentially a full-time professional badminton player. And then it got to the crunch point of well, I probably need to commit doing a full-time badminton athlete or actually give this legal thing ago. So what I did actually end of my law degree I made the choice to... I actually set up a business, actually. It was a comparison site for solicitors when I left, I did that. I did my legal practice course. And then soon after that fell into the sports agency world. I felt like it was a good mix between obviously my sports background, but also the legal background. So, very much kind of a boutique law firm that also specialized in the commercial and sports field.

It was a newly set up firm through a very entrepreneurial lawyer who was previously an in-house lawyer at some big companies. And it was great because essentially I had that experience of, I guess, combining my sporting background, but it was a very entrepreneurial field to building something different, building a different type of law firm. I acted as a bit of a quasi in-house team to its business clients but also had a sporting edge to athletes as well. So, it's a bit of a... It's always baptism by fire, really being at the thick end of a very small firm, but still learned a number of skills that set me up well to, I guess, pursue an in-house career after I qualified and in that firm.

From there really to today it's been a case of being around a few different in-house positions. The most relevant of which are the last three, which were all tech or software companies. I was head of legal at a global software business called AppSense, which is relevant because we have a few of the, I guess, old alumni from that company in Summize. And we also then after that I was a leader at a company called Zuto. Again, tech enable business. And then the last one, which was quite an interesting spin on what software companies do in the modern day is a US company called UserZoom. UserZoom that was kind of a SaaS company. Very fast growth, had that kind of big scale-up phase looking to I guess IPO. It will be very much a unicorn in the next couple of years. So, a bit of a differential from a UK global software company to then finishing up in the kind of a Silicon Valley based SaaS company. Before very much setting up Summize, learning from those use cases, I guess.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I guess working as a lawyer within a tech business probably set you up quite well for setting up your own company and knowing some of the key factors that go into making a successful technology company.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, it definitely did. I think there's a couple of things that happen. I think, one, you get the book. I think you'd work in these highly entrepreneurial environments, you're there with the founders. And you hear about almost the way they started up. And they all start in a relatively similar way. They saw a problem, probably in their own domain. In UserZoom's case, it was UX research testing. Started out and developed something, pivoted a few times, and then when they hit that scale-up phase, they really got that product-market fit. And they exploded in terms of that growth.

But I think going along that journey, gives you two things. One, knowledge of potential how to replicate it, but two, not to be afraid of it. I think there's this big perception that you can't just go and create a company. You think of how these companies got there, but they all started with this quite basic idea, and pivoted and grew and just had the commitment and drive to do it. So, it definitely shaped my path.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I totally agree with that confidence point as well. I think, if I look back to when I was a lawyer, or even before that, looking at tech companies and startups, I would definitely think, "Wow, that's a big commitment. There's a lot of risk involved in that." And I'm not saying there isn't, but I think when you've worked in that environment and those startups scale up businesses that it does give you a little bit more confidence that you do have a good idea. You can make a success of it and is perhaps not the biggest leap that you might imagine it to be. But then, okay, so you were in-house in a tech company. And you mentioned then you moved on to Summize. What did that leap actually look like? Where did the idea for it come from? Where was that light bulb moment? What steps did you take after that to really start building the product and building the business?

Tom Dunlop:

So, I think, I mean, it goes back to the AppSense days. There was a few years ago when I basically went through an acquisition. This was the first in some ways the light bulb moment where we went through an acquisition. We were acquired by a US company. I personally had to review about 500 contracts. And what was interesting at the time was I did look at tech tools on the market. I was a GC at the time. And basically, I didn't get going within that week. The reality was like in all these things, someone presses a button that says, "We go." You then have the task of doing the review of the contracts or extracting information. And the reality was there was no one who would even come close to being able to be flexible enough or have that time to value that could have provided me any value to actually help me with that review.

And so, I did the manual review. Obviously, it was painful. And then some broken man went over to one of the senior software developers who was working there at the time and just said, "Listen, I've been doing this. There's got to be a better way of doing it. I know exactly what I'm looking for." And so, we started to trade ideas. But then I think as I went through my next couple of roles, really what I realized was that it wasn't just the project review stuff that had a problem. I think it was that day to day business people come up to saying, "What was the terms for this contract that we signed two years ago?" Well, I don't know. We have to go and manually read it and find it out.

Then there was another one, which was what GDPR. I mean, that was a prime example where you have to do a bit of a project review and quite unique parts of your contracts that was unprecedented, and you have to then action it. And I think there was a lot of that kind of day to day use cases as well as the more project-based use cases that made me think, "There's no tools out there that are flexible enough or certainly have the ability to get up and running quickly to help me with these quite diverse use cases." And so, we just started to create prototypes, basically, me and my co-founder, Dave just created some very, very ropey prototypes of just being able to upload a contract. And then you saw a summary pop out. And that concept of just creating a summary of a document was very powerful.

I think that really resonated with people that I knew. We test the market, we went to lawyers, and they were just really keen on just that concept. So, it was then, and I think the real turning point, I guess, was probably around March, April 2019, when we actually raised our first seed investment. And we got our chairman on board who was the former founder and CEO of AppSense. So the company obviously he sold. Charlie who founded that company then came on board as our chairman and as an investor alongside Maven. At that point, it became, all right, we're building out a development team now to make this a proper product, make this a product that we can commercialize. And it was after doing that and selling it, obviously, to prove now that we can sell it for different use cases and have some prior practice, and then that's when I went full-time. We raised to get the funds, and I guess, from there to where we are today to a certain extent fast forward a year.

Rob MacAdam:

So you actually got to building it while still working as an in-house lawyer. And then there was just that moment. The funding was almost a catalyst that you suddenly realized, okay, yeah, this is serious now, and I'm all in. Is that right?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. And I think which was in some ways, a lot of people talk about the kind of, I don't know, the side job, or something that you do in the background. I think for me I was very lucky to be in companies that almost encouraged it as well. I think that was a big factor of how I was probably able to do both side by side was they were very entrepreneurial companies. They had that mindset, which we've adopted a lot in Summize about if this was your last job because you want to create a successful software company, I would rather have you in the company today giving us your value before you go and become founder of a different company. I think they adopted that mentality.

So, that enabled me to get advice from people in the company, be very open about it. And when the time came right, it was very, I guess, amicable and I was able to construct this. And they wish me good luck. And I still speak to a lot of them today to see if there's advice I can get or bounce things off of them. And they're more than happy to help. So that definitely helped.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I guess that seed funding, that series A type funding is a pivotal stage for a lot of businesses. And I guess a lot of people listening will read a lot of the legal tech press and see companies getting that type of funding. What does it mean for a company like Summize when that arrives? What goes into sourcing that funding? And what did it mean for you and the business? And what did it allow you to then go and do?

Tom Dunlop:

Yes, it's an interesting one because I think funding... Historically, and particularly in the UK, there's this mentality that you need to have bootstrapped the business to a certain point. You need to have proven the model to X amount of revenue, and then you get a certain amount of funding that can maybe drive you to the next stage. But I think what I loved about the American mentality was well, look it's clearly a huge market. There's clearly a use case for it. So, to build what you need to build, and because the market's moving quickly, funding just enables you to do it quicker, and enables you to do it better. I think that it gives people that first-mover advantage. It gives people that ability to scale quicker, and ultimately, they're the ones who win.

And so, the funding was, I guess, validation of the concept, validation of the idea that we believe we're onto something. But I think more so it just gives you that real, sort of rocket fuel to make it happen. I think there's kind of a strange culture in Summize that there's almost an inevitability. Like with the people involved, whether it's from the sports background, and I'm sure there's a number of things we can go into on that in terms of the transferable skills. But from our perspective, it wasn't a case of, okay, we've got the seed funding. We could fail if we don't do x.

This was more, well, this is just stage one. We know exactly what we're going to do with this money. We know exactly where we're going to be. And then from that, we know exactly the next phase, and there's like an inevitability of where we'll be. I think that that helps with rather than I think some people get funding, for example, they think the funding is this kind of like almost event in itself that you should celebrate and then go on to the next part of the journey. For us, it was just one step that we need to overcome to get to where we know we can be.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, totally. You just alluded to it there about the lessons learned from your sporting career. And I'm always fascinated by this. My brother-in-law plays on the European tour, and I love talking to him about sports and sports psychology and performance. I ask a lot of questions about what he reads and how he operates. I try and take that sometimes into how I work on the business side, but what would you say are the lessons you took with you from that sporting career of yours into what you're doing? And has it had a big impact on the success of yourself and Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yes, it's huge. And I think, I mean, it is at the core of our culture. I reference this a lot when I, I guess, talk about the way that we work. And this is from onboarding to actual the culture itself is all about this continuous improvement Kaizen mentality. I probably didn't even turn it that way when I was in sport. The way that I looked at it was because at the time I was the European number one badminton to get there. It wasn't that I was necessarily physically stronger or more skilful. What you find is that plateaus when you get to a certain level. I think when you compete in that kind of like world's best, particularly Olympic level, to get the edge it's all about your, I guess, mental strength. Your being in the zone when you're performing. I think there's so many things that we used to do to get us into that zone, prepare us so that we had no excuse that we shouldn't be in that zone.

So you did the physical training, which is fine. But I see things like... This probably is an extreme example in some ways, but I can think of even getting up at half four and training in the morning. I didn't necessarily do more hours than other people training. But at the same time, when I went on court with someone, just confidence that I know that they wouldn't do that. So to me, it didn't really matter whether they put more strength training or anything else. I was just mentally stronger, and I would go in court, and they would know it as well. And so, I think that mentality of just finding those. We call them now the 1%. And it's obviously a very well-trodden path in terms of this continuous improvement. Clive Woodworth, Dave Brailsford, particularly from a sporting background obviously advocates a lot. But really, it is part of our culture.

I think, Summize, what we always try and do is say, well, rather than trying to find those silver bullets of transformative tech, for example, we just look at those small changes we can make both in the product, but also in the life of our users. I think that's part of the culture of how we operate, but also how the product solves the problem it does.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, and actually, it actually ties really nicely in with that product mindset, actually, about the fact that it's not just about throwing features and functionality and new newfangled technology into the product and just hope something sticks. It's actually about finding those marginal gains. Looking and talking to customers and clients and actually finding out what would move the needle? What would actually make a big impact for them? And I guess going back to your simplicity point, which is, it's okay just to focus on maybe that one key element because you know that that is what's going to make all the difference. All the other stuff, yeah, it's nice to have, but it's not essential. But if you know you absolutely nail that one area then you're going to deliver value, and you're going to have a big impact. I like the parallels there. That's really interesting.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, yeah. I totally agree. I think one of the things that you see, the consumer world almost moves faster than certainly the B2B software world. I think one of the interesting trends with just consumer technology is the advent of things like Alexa or even smartwatches. You think, well, actually, what's more, convenient by having a smartwatch on your wrist compared to looking at your phone are the same things? But there's just something about that extra level of convenience to your day to day that just drives people's imagination, gets them invested in these types of ways of working, and that becomes the new norm. And then there's something that's a little bit better, a little bit better. I think that's certainly the mentality that we're trying to bring to, I guess, contracts generally.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, no, totally. So, when you look back at your journey from... Well, actually really interesting journey from sportsmen through sports agency and law into in-house and now into as a founder and CEO. What advice would you have for lawyers maybe in-house private practice that want to move into legal technology maybe as a founder with their own idea, or maybe just as an employee in legal tech? Are there any pieces of advice you'd have for them?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think, I mean, for me the first thing to get into before even making a move just to straighten things, it's all about the mindset. I think just really trying to be a creative person and that sounds very vague. But I think what I found when I speak to a lot of lawyers that I dealt with when I... Obviously, colleagues, I guess, when I was practising was that lawyers are great problem solvers. And lawyers are great at understanding a number of facts, understanding subjective opinion, understanding risks, and then interpreting those, and then giving, I guess advice on the back of that. And it's usually risk-based. So you're looking at a lot of facts, you digest that, and you're giving some kind of output.

I mean, essentially, when you're in legal tech it's exactly the same thing. It's just that what you need to be doing is focusing on the creative, the value add, the how can I take you one step forward rather than the risk? And so, I think the first thing to do before even jumping headfirst into a legal tech role or becoming a founder is just really everything that you do having that same problem-solving approach, but thinking on that creative end. And it sounds quite basic, but actually, it's hugely valuable. I've always tried to make sure that whatever I was doing, there's one thing I did in a previous role as an in-house lawyer that I found that.

For example, I was sending out my contract to the other side. They mark the same clauses over and over again. I'd have a conversation with them over the phone. They understood my position, and then we go back to what I originally had. And I was thinking, that's three weeks of the contract lifecycle just wasted. So, I actually recorded a video of me going through the contracts that sales used to send out before I even spoke to them. And it said, "Hi, I'm Tom. I humanize the experience a little bit and said, "Look, this is why I've done this in the contract is because the product does X." And suddenly the contract lifecycle reduced by four weeks because that initial three to four-week negotiation where you don't actually speak to each other was gone because they understood it, and it actually humanized the process more.

So, it was quite a small change. The videos took me five minutes to record, but it was hugely valuable, and it was like a creative way of making a change to my daily life. And I think once you get into that path, you find there's so much opportunity and things like that across the board. And that opens up, maybe rolls into legal tech, whether it be that you've now found a very niche or specific use case that is actually not solved. And then that could lead to you becoming a founder. So I think it all leads from that mindset.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. No, I completely agree. Yeah, as you say, it's moving beyond seeing yourself as a person who's there to spot and mitigate risk, and accepting that it's okay to be a creative person. Someone who's spotting opportunities to create value and deliver new value and do things in a different way. But I absolutely love the example you've just given there. I think that's really interesting about actually filming yourself going through the contract. Because you're absolutely right.

When you think about what lawyers do with contracts, and it's almost an accepted process, isn't it? That you don't get face-to-face with someone straightaway. It's kind of like, let's get our head term signed. And then we'll do our first draft. And I'll give it over to you and you go and do your next draft, and we'll converse over email, then maybe we'll get on a phone call. And then maybe right at the end, we'll actually get in a room face-to-face and actually have a very human conversation about it.

But it's ridiculous because clients are paying for all of that nonsense back and forth, especially when you work... I guess you're talking about working in-house. But for clients paying lawyers to do that process, it's just so expensive. Why can't you just... Yeah, let's just be a lot more reasonable, a lot more human about it. We all know where we're going to get to and we've all got our conflicting priorities. So let's just be open and honest about it. And I'm sure we'll get to a better result quicker. But yeah, that's epic. Filming yourself going through a contract is brilliant. I love that.

Tom Dunlop:

It was really powerful. It was a small... I totally agree. I think the missing thing in the legal, whether it be negotiation or just the legal process, generally, whether it be litigation or contract negotiation, or a corporate deal is the humanizing it. I think technology these days if nothing else, we've now got the technology no matter where you are in the world, you can humanize the process. And I think there's huge value across the whole, I guess, legal services spectrum to actually introduce the human element. And I think it will make everything just that bit more efficient. So yeah, I'm a big advocate of that.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. Well, I mean, we see it a little bit on spend, legal spend that you get some approaches that are very adversarial like we want to have our law firms on spend and get the best possible deal. We get a different approach, which is actually let's try and... Let's find a way where we can actually try and get the best possible outcomes for both sides. We know law firms are trying to deliver their services, get their fees, and make things happen on their side. In-house teams are struggling with workload, limited resource maybe. They're trying to get results. Let's just find the best way of achieving that for both sides. It doesn't need to be so adversarial. It can be, as you say, more human.

Just on that actually, as we're talking about the in-house teams and what they're going through. As a former in-house lawyer and someone who's, I guess very still very close to some of the challenges facing in-house legal departments. What would you say some of the key factors that are impacting in-house teams are right now? And particularly factors that might mean that those teams are turning to technology?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. So, I think one thing that's been quite interesting over the last, I guess, 10 to 15 years, is I think there's been the advent or the very real consequences of risk really come to the forefront of a business' mindset. You've seen, obviously, financial cracks here. You've seen GDPR, you've seen COVID, I think those things on climate change probably come in. I think businesses rather than having this risk in a box in the corner of the room somewhere, risk is now a very real threat in terms of a proper business plan, and how are you going to grow? And regulation has obviously increased.

A lot of that has meant that legal, for me, has really been put in the spotlight to be a real seat around the table, a real business leader because it's now a business priority. I guess the pressure is on an in-house team is that the day to day stuff, or the service of legal is still very much there. So you've got this huge workload that exists. You've got now this increased expectation on being a very much business leader because it is now a top business priority. And then I guess the challenges and where tech can help is that from a headcount perspective, you're still probably considered the bottom. A support function that's probably at the bottom of the list in terms of getting headcount.

When you throw all that together, you've got this really quite stretched, but essential resource that when you look at what they do day to day, and I used to do this a lot particularly in the smaller in-house legal teams. I mean, there's just so much just low-value process-driven work that is just taking time, and time is the absolute most precious commodity for, I guess for anyone, but certainly for the in-house lawyer. So, yeah, in terms of tech and enabling it, I think that the problem that they've had is tech is very tailored to probably the more private practice like very, very, either use case-specific. Very kind of like, right, corporate lawyers do this. So, we need to develop a template that does this.

An in-house lawyer's role is so varied that to try and find something that can assist with, I guess, the extremely varied workload and extremely varied areas of law that you deal with day to day is also really hard. And so, yeah, it's just the melting pot of this stretch, but extremely essential resource really in the spotlight in the past 10 to 15 years, but struggling to scale headcount alongside the importance of, I guess, the role in the business function that been taken on.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I mean, you go to all these conferences, and it's been a bit of a cliche over the last few years. But everyone talks about this more for less challenge. And actually, interestingly, but I've had conversations with in-house lawyers and GCs. They push back against it in some ways. Not because it's untrue, but I guess if you look at it, more for less, a lot of people say, "It's not necessarily more of the same as you've alluded to, it's almost more by way of different types of work." Actually, different types of work in terms of the growing risk landscape. Maybe becoming more strategic as you said and joining more of the senior decision-making process. So there's that kind of not only more work, but actually a changing nature of the work that lawyers do.

And then the less piece, that's what gets pushed back against sometimes. A lot of teams say, "Actually, I don't necessarily have less. I'm just trying to achieve more with the same." Or even more with, maybe sometimes they do have slightly more resource, but the actual growth in what they're doing completely outweighs that. So, I think there are some really interesting challenges facing in-house teams at the moment in terms of how they're working in the changing nature of their role.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think it comes back to... I mean, because fundamentally, I'm a big believer that this whole concept of legal as a service is obvious that it will happen. I think there's this concept of legal has obviously been... I mean, even by the billable hour. By the way that a lot of legal operate in terms of the work they do. It's all been set up as quite a reactive more occasional use service. And I think that that's just a market thing that's just always, that's just the way legal has been set up, I guess, and historically. Whereas, you've got every other aspect of a business' function, and a consumer sense, as well in terms of the macro look at it that is as a service.

You've just got this type of either advice or access just all the time. I think that that's what legal is struggling With is that everything's surrounding legal, the work they do, how you prove the value, obviously even down to the billable hour is all set up to be this reactive occasional use. Whereas, everything around legal, and every business is really set up for their functions as a service. Even now with COVID, the fact that you can just have a video conference with anyone, chat any time of the day, you can never really switch off. Legal has to adapt to that, and we have to be able to provide that same service and that same advice, but in the kind of as a service way. So, I think that's the kind of... There's a huge market shift putting pressure on the way that legal interacts with businesses and clients alongside the internal pressure.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, that whole legal as a service concept is really interesting. You got organizations against that like Elevate who are trying to almost provide a solution for outsourcing, almost outsourcing your in-house department as well. And I think a lot about what the impacts of COVID and pandemic is going to be on in-house teams, and all firms, but predominantly in-house teams. Now you've got a remote workforce that is set up to work at home. Will we see a shifting landscape where you do perhaps outsource a little bit more of your legal work? Perhaps you have some key strategic people within the legal department that then leverage this network of suppliers and legal service providers and outsource legal support to get the best results. But actually, their role internally is much more managerial or strategic, and they're just leveraging this network. I think just the patterns of what we're going to see by way of team structures and makeup is going to really shift over the coming few months and years, I think.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I think the last 12 months has shown us that, that is on the advent. I mean, there's nothing stopping remote. Everyone working in the remote way. We're obviously still at that place of having you call HQ and the collaborative element, but it enables those types of business models, even more than ever. I think it's forced people to adopt, whether it be the tools and the technology, and there's the way of working that it just means you're set up to adopt that type of model. So, yeah, I totally agree.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. That's the reason there's remote workforce is why a lot of technology is now... I mean, you're seeing the explosion of the adoption of just the communication and collaboration tools, but then that will move into more of the work that lawyers do, I think, and people still need access to knowledge and know-how. They can't necessarily... They're not in the office. They're not having conversations. They're not checking in with people. So you need to find ways of plating and storing all of that, making it accessible. So, I think this is going to be a real... This whole thing is going to be a real driver for technology adoption, generally. But definitely, I think around what we would normally term legal technology.

Okay. So, just on that topic then to just looking back, when you mentioned one of the ideas for Summize came about you were looking for a tool to help you with these contracts, this contract analysis, and you couldn't find anything. But when you were an in-house lawyer, what technology did you use? Did you have... Were you using anything that would be normally termed legal technology? Was it more standard than that? What kind of tools did you use?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, it was very basic. I think still a lot of, I guess, corporate legal departments, you're literally dealing with email, Word, PDF, and Excel. I think that it was very low tech, but at the same time, that served the purpose. I think what you found was that you needed... Legal tech was great, but there were also very heavy systems for one part of the use case. And I think that was the biggest thing. It wasn't necessarily displacing a big system that was already in place or worthwhile. It was more just trying to be, I guess, flexible, and often varied enough that you could apply it to several different use cases that would make sense to work alongside your core tools that you have as a business. So, yeah, it was very, very manual.

Rob MacAdam:

I'll be interested to hear your perspective on this, but when you did look for tools, did you find... I mean, you didn't find what you wanted, but did you get the feeling that the legal tech market was it saturated? Was there too much choice? Was it too confusing to sift through what things did? Because I think I've had conversations on the podcast with others about this topic about how many legal tech vendors there are out there and how it's starting to become a little bit crowded, a little bit confusing, particularly for buyers. But did you have that experience? Would you say that the legal tech market is a little bit too crowded right now?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, yeah. There's no getting away from that. I think there's obviously a lot of noise. I think that's still the case. There's obviously a boom a few years ago where the initial wave came. And I think there is... I think there's just confusion. I think the reason is in my view that, and this is both from a buyer perspective, as well as a vendor perspective, is that everyone's searching for those silver bullets. And they're searching for... The vendors are advertising silver bullets. Automate everything today. And then you've got the buyer who's saying, "Oh, well, this tool I want it to replace my day to day drive into home from work, and then do my washing." I mean, that's obviously extreme. But there's this expectation that the products out there are just going to solve everything from day one.

I have seen a slight change in mindset if I'm honest. And I think when we speak to customers today, and obviously, it's a big part of our products, but that approach to saying, "Well, look, you're not going to find a tool that replaces what you do." You're a legal service. It's an advisory services. It's a subjective opinion. This isn't just a job that involves the processing of numbers or processing of information which a computer could do. You've got to take into account a lot of different factors. And essentially, you're paid for your advice or internally you are employed to provide advice on a set of topics. So, try and suggest that a tool could automate that, I think is quite a bold one to try and solve today.

So, this type of incremental improvement, and again, I always come back to it, but actually everything to do with our products, and everything to do with how we onboard. And it is a bit of an education piece. We say, "Listen, why search for those huge silver bullets when we could make probably 10 to 15 small changes that it's going to make a massive difference. But it doesn't actually feel such a big difference once we go through that process." I think that's the problem with the noise is there's too much... There are too many promises and too much expectation. I think that's the problem with the noise at the minute.

Rob MacAdam:

Exactly. You're right. It's the noise and the marketing that goes around that has created this expectation that there is technology out there that could absolutely revolutionize and transform every aspect of a lawyer's life and what they're trying to do. And you see that coming through in RFPs. It's a little bit like the whole when... In The Simpsons where Homer designs that car. It's a little bit like that. The RFPs you think, they can't possibly be a tool on the market that delivers this. This is crazy. I think they're wasting a lot of time in doing that, and there needs to be a much earlier, realistic requirements gathering and probably analysis done of... That goes back to your point about the 1%. But organizations looking to bring in technology should be doing that analysis and actually saying, "Where is our 1%? Where's our key gain going to be had?" And then minimizing their requirements, and just going after that first, and then building from there. It is really interesting that whole, yeah, the market and the requirements and expectations. Yeah, crazy.

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, if you think back to my story about the, I guess recording the video. I used at the time PointDrive on LinkedIn. It was an existing license I had because they had Sales Navigator as a tool. And they just allowed you to create basically almost like an interactive PDF, basically. You can insert media as well as content, so you can insert your contract as well as a video next to it. If I tried to sell it to someone they'd be, "That's a bit low tech. It's not very exciting." But if I told them the result of four weeks off the procurement cycle, I mean, every legal tech vendor in the market today would be clambering over to get that type of return on investment. And yet it was free, that was free. I didn't pay anything for it. I think sometimes just focusing purely on the problem. And also these vendors promising the world without really, really taking into account what effect those small changes can have is quite a dangerous game to play.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, totally. I mean, take something like matter management, for example, matter management of vendors. When you do your competitor analysis, you've got to seriously put in as a competitor people that are just exceptionally good at using something like Excel because it's you've got this big old singing-dancing matter management platform. But someone who can operate and be nimble around maybe Excel and some of the other Microsoft stack can actually pretty come close. Like you say, it's not exciting. It's not particularly sexy. It's a bit dull. It's Microsoft Office, but if it does the job, it does the job. So, yeah, it's hard for vendors to compete with some of those simpler options. And maybe one of the ways of competing is as you guys have done is just slim it back down. Identify the key value, keep it simple, but-

Tom Dunlop:

Just augment it.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly, augment it. Yeah. But just on that point, I guess, what have been your key learnings about selling to corporate legal teams and selling to law firms. what are the key factors that you've learned that help you sell and help your customers make a decision easily?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, the number one is, I guess, in some ways what we've just covered is really understand the use case. It still... Well, not amazes me, but we get... One of the biggest pieces of feedback we get is, you can tell it's been built by a lawyer, or you can tell it's someone who's had the use case. And that's almost the first bit of feedback we get, which makes me think that's not the norm. That's not what all the tools are doing. It is hard.

We've got an amazing development team. And sometimes they come and they say to me, "Well, we could do this." And I'm like, "Wow, that looks amazing." But then when you actually just go back to the use case and you start thinking, it would add no value. It looks great, but I wouldn't use it. There is no situation where I would actually use it. So, being absolutely nailed on to a very specific use case, and always coming back to it is one of the biggest learning points that we're still learning. I think our product's gotten more complex. And across a number of different, I guess, whether it be integrations or different verticals that makes you think, "Actually, how do we pitch this now?" I think it's always going to be use cases. That's number one.

And then I think the second is just reduce the friction or reduce that time to value as much as possible. I think there is change management is an interesting area because it goes back to the Kaizen mindset, but change is a fight or flight response from humans. I mean, humans just don't like change. It's natural. It's in our DNA to not like change. So, if we know that then presenting a solution that completely revolutionizes where someone is today, particularly people who are very time poor makes you think, "Well, that isn't going to resonate particularly well," because the instant reaction to that is going to be like, you just get nervous or anxious about what that will mean. So, reducing the friction, reducing that time to value, and obviously understanding the use case are by far the biggest lessons, I think.

Rob MacAdam:

Just on the first one then in terms of the value and identifying value and focusing relentlessly on delivering that core value. I mean, how do you go about that? In the product design and product development process, how do you make sure that what you are building is valuable? How much contact do you have with the market and your customers when you're building new things, or at least looking to build new things?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, what was interesting about that because I obviously did prior to joining Summize I worked for UserZoom. UserZoom is a UX research testing company. So, everything that they do is all about user experience, is all about basically researching and testing with your customers before you even release anything. So, I'd say that definitely had an influence on my mindset as well about what was important when building a product. So, we've carried that forward. I mean, we got a really easy to access feedback form literally in your... Not in your face, but in the products that you can just say, "Listen, I've got an idea for a product or there's a bit of friction." Submit it, it goes straight through to our dev team, and that forms part of our roadmap. We have given partners free... In the early days, we gave quite a few free licenses to people just to give us all bolts and all about what they liked and didn't like about the product.

It's a hard thing to do. I mean, I think when I look for that now even getting that really honest customer feedback is difficult because you've got people, some people just tell us that, "I just didn't really use it." And you can't help but get a bit offended by it. You going to start thinking, "But look how amazing it is. Look at how shiny it is. It's this great product." But they're like, "Yeah, but just don't use it." But the sooner you get over that, and the sooner just that becomes part of your day to day. And anything that you do is either customer-led or you've at least premise with customers before we move on to the final state is only going to improve your chances of scaling and successfully selling to those customers in the future.

Rob MacAdam:

That's just reminding me now of Silicon Valley in that scene where Richard's trying to explain... I think he tried to explain PiperNet or something to that user group.

Tom Dunlop:

To that user group, yeah.

Rob MacAdam:

He's got to get the board up. He's drawing diagrams, and he's just like, "You need to get this. You need to understand this." Sometimes it's just like, okay, we've missed the park, so fair enough. But in terms of then reducing that friction to buy, I mean, I guess what are the key factors? How can you reduce that friction to help someone who's got a problem recognize that you've got the right solution and onboard that all too quickly? Is it price? Is it trials, proof of concepts? I mean, how do you reduce that friction?

Tom Dunlop:

I think price obviously helps. I mean, more because I guess certainly legacy systems or certainly the way that I guess software companies were going were quite expensive purchases, and they were ultimately purchases that were premised on a cost-saving or a time-saving. So I think if your product costs a lot of money to get returns on that in time saved, naturally, it's a harder sell. So I mean, the cost is always something. But I think more importantly it comes back to the use case point. And the way that we have settled the system is that essentially, we modularize the system so you can take bits. If your use case is that you spend all day in Microsoft Word negotiating more bespoke contracts, well, you only need our Microsoft Word add-in. You don't really need our platform. So, we'll sell you that, and that's all you need.

Whereas similarly, if you spend your days, basically creating summaries, or doing reviews of contracts. Like summaries of contracts before they're stored or something like that, you're going to live in our web app. So that's what the use case is, that's what you'll have a license for, and that's exactly what we'll onboard you for. So, the use case is not only important just to actually sell the products and then get that initial sale, but actually in terms of adoption, in terms of reducing the friction, it still baffles me that we have systems where you know the use case is for 10% of the system functionality, but you sell them the whole partner almost like as a badge of honour. For me, that is just setting up for huge churn, a huge kind of almost resentment for the products. And I think that our very modular use case driven approach is very much to support that mentality.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, it's very similar to how we approach things at HighQ. I mean, HighQ is a platform that is incredibly powerful. It's modular. You've got clients that have got very sophisticated use cases, but you've got clients that are just using it for file sharing. I think it's one of the key lessons that I learned, which is recognize where someone is in their journey before you talk to them because you might be very excited about this new functionality or this particular module. Or you might really want to tell them about what this other client's doing that's amazing. But if that doesn't relate to the immediate problem they've got then actually even though you've got a great product, you could really turn them off. So, yeah, again, that kind of incremental approach of saying, "Where are you in your journey? What immediate value can I deliver value now? And not over complicating it, and also having a model that allows you to deliver that value without bringing in all the other bells and whistles is so important.

Tom Dunlop:

Oh, I'm sorry.

Rob MacAdam:

No, no, go ahead. Go ahead. Sorry.

Tom Dunlop:

Well, I was going to say, I mean, the way you've described it is exactly the way that we approach and we think that generally speaking, that's about how customers like to approach it, which is because they're at different stages of maturity in terms of tech adoption, or even technology. We have the fancy stuff. We have the chatbot in Teams. We have a mobile phone app. We have this stuff that really we could wow people within a demo, but reality is when we onboard, or when we talk to customers about how they should use the products, we would never mention them if we think realistically this is six months away.

We'd love to get you here. But actually, to start with let's just make Microsoft Word that a bit better. And then we'll show you the web application. And then from there, you might send someone a shareable link. And then from that, actually, they're used to the UI. So actually, the mobile phone app makes sense at that point. But prior to that, you've just done this huge change management project, and change of behaviour that is only probably going to fail. So yes, it very much resonates.

Rob MacAdam:

I mean, but as a vendor, then how do you on the onboarding process, I guess, you can reduce friction to buy, but then you want when a client's onboard they need to see the value. And one of the ways to do that is obviously to focus on their key use case. But as a vendor, I mean, how would you support post-sale clients to see the value from their tool?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, it is down to the use case we have... What we've got rather than having a very standardized you will get... We did do this to start with. So it's something we've learned. Again, a big learning point from our development was very much we started with a two-hour onboarding, or whatever it might be. We have certain onboarding sessions. And then we're very much like, "Here's this, here's this, here's this feature." And now we have different measures of success, basically. So we have a few different use cases. You prioritize the use cases, and then you have a clear measurement of success.

So, if you're using us as a bit of a lightweight contract management. Well, our measure of success is that you've at least got 50 contracts in the system. You've maybe got at least 10 dates in the calendar that have been populated. You've got your folder structure sorted, and the dashboards are working the way you want them, and you're set up. You know how to use the system. Whereas, if you're using us for that high volume, low-value type contract. Well, in that case, it's more about the journey of being able to upload instant summary export. That's what we need to get you to do.

So, the customer success and the onboarding that we do isn't generic. It is very much... And it's not time-limited to an extent. Obviously, you've got to be careful how much time you spend on it, but we've managed to get it down hopefully to quite a consultative way of saying, "We know this is the use case. This is the bits of the product you need. Let's get you up and running so that we've got a measurement of success for your use case." And then we'll look at other use cases later. So, that's how we approach it from, I guess that customer success respect.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I mean, the best... Well, the best tech companies or the best legal tech companies are the ones that have those types of customer success teams, or at least that approach to customer success that is very tailored, very empathetic, very hands-on and consultative. It makes an incredible difference having a good customer success function for both your success as a vendor, but also your customer success. And that's the way you see. I always see the role of customer success is about doing something, but doing it in a way that is going to drive success for the business, but also for your clients as well.

Tom Dunlop:

That's the kind of US, UK mentality as well. I think it plays into that. I think customer success is if not the most, and I think HubSpot have come out with some great stats about their journey on customer success and how they believe it's the fundamentally most important part of their team. And I think, in the UK mentality I bet if you said that to a number of UK lawyers or people generally in business, they think of it as customer service. They think of it as, well, this is someone that's on the end of the phone if you have a book, and the different mindsets about what that role should be doing is polar opposite from the UK to the US in my experience of working across both. It needs to play a much more prominent role, personally.

Rob MacAdam:

No, I agree, and you're right that it's a role that is neither a customer support nor account management. It's something entirely different. It's its own discipline. But I've seen that team operates. I've worked within those types of customer success teams in the past as well. And the hedge is worth their weight in gold. And you just foster such client loyalty and build some really top quality relationships because you become more trusted by your customers who actually think these guys are here to help me. They're not just trying to upsell me or sell me new stuff. They're actually here to try and help me succeed. That makes a huge difference.

Awesome. Okay, so I mean, we've spoken a bit about this earlier on, but I'd want to come on to this future of legal tech after the pandemic. You started discussing it earlier about this move away, I guess, from these single one-stop-shop large platforms that try and do everything. And that actually, we might be moving into a world that's slightly different. We're all using collaboration tools like Teams or Slack. We're communicating over new methods. We're a remote-first workforce. And so, people's productivity stack has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. I mean, what impact do you think that's going to have for legal tech vendors and their approach to building and selling products?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think... I mean, it's been a really interesting 12 months. I think it's 100% shaped our vision as a product. I mean, this was a big turning point personally for the company was for about nine months ago very much when the first lockdown was, I guess, opening up again. We were going to do the whole redline process, whole negotiation process in platform. That was all the plan. We'll design some dev, we're ready to go. And then it was a conversation between us that we were like, "Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams and Office 365, they're really onto something. They've cracked this whole virtual office, like everything in one place. Why are we trying to take people away from that?" So, I think we did our Microsoft Word add-in for that reason, and it completely changed and pivoted a bit of the way that we felt the product should work.

And so, I think what's interesting is while we speak to the vendors and the more established I guess, bigger, whether we got management companies or these bigger systems. You are finding themselves, they're starting to almost deconstruct their core platform to be interoperable with these other systems, which is a big problem. It's not easy to do. So I think the ones... I mean, in person when you see these other things like the examples are like Calendly and Grammarly and these tools that you think, "Well, actually, it's just a calendar. It's a spell check." But the way that they've done the products and the way that they're just everywhere that you need them to be. I don't mean that as an app. They're in Chrome. They're in your email, your Outlook. They're in whatever Microsoft Office, whatever office applications you use. They just follow you.

I suppose, and I think legal tech, and certainly the way that we see the future, and we're making that bet is very much on the we want to follow those users to where the technology is going. If you look further afield. I mean, I alluded to it earlier, but you look at the voice technologies of the Alexas, the Siris, that Q&A lead conversational style AI as part of... It's amazing how quickly that has become part of our day to day life without almost realizing it. And even Slack and Teams, the reason they're very popular in my view is that they have almost brought that type of conversational approach to the more formal business communications.

And so, if you can magnify that out to where legal tech can go, and where our vision is, it's like you'll be sat there on Teams, or you'll go to Alexa and say, "Alexa, how many of my contracts are going to renew in the next three months?" And it will give you the answer. That kind of Q&A very conversational approach into the front door to your contracts will be through the business communication systems. And that's very much what I see the future of legal tech as.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, no, I think we're going to see that approach 100%. I guess you've seen so many vendors trying to build those all-encompassing platforms. But in the background, you've had Teams and Microsoft, and I guess the Google suite slowly but surely build and build, see more and more adoption. I think it was just last week that Teams announced that they were going to enable collaboration externally. So you could work within Teams within your organization, but start to work across Teams channels with external organizations. That makes that ecosystem even larger. And it's got to the point now where you just think, "Why fight it?" If that's where people want to work, let them work there.

The way I see it is very similar to I guess, you mentioned the consumer point earlier. If you pick up your iPhone, and I had it recently with our girls and homeschooling. They were doing work that I needed to submit into I think Google Classroom. So I was using a scanning, my scanning app. I could plug in the Google accounts into that so that it seamlessly worked that I could get the work, scan it in, upload it to Google, then transfer it across Google Classroom. It's all about just plugging in the apps. And I do the same thing with things like when I'm working I send things into Notion. It's another app I do, and it's all there.

I think that's just where we're going to move to with legal tech, which is you'll be working in Teams, and you'll say, "Right, I need to pop something into this data room." Or I actually need to automate this document, or I need to... Someone's just shared something with me that I just want to get a quick summary in Summize, for example. And it's just there at your fingertips where you need it without saying, "Right, what's my login details to this big platform that I need to go and log into and then find?" I guess it does raise challenges for vendors as well who have got these platforms. Maybe they need to start to break them down in a way and deconstruct them and start to... Those that haven't taken an API first as well need to start thinking about that to get themselves set up for this new approach to the delivery of technology tools, I think.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. I think there's both from platforms that are aimed at the more in-house teams, but also, I mean, I think it's more just a way of working as well. I think you're already seeing it but from a private practice law firm perspective. The ones, I mean, I've seen some very forward-thinking firms. We work with a few that they only work with clients on their communication channel of choice. They'll only work with Teams and Slack and they won't try and bring you somewhere else into the platform. They will... And actually, a lot of clients are demanding it now know. If they're doing any sort of tender exercise it's a condition that you as our advisors come to where we work.

So, I think there's how tech vendors integrate with those products. But there's also just behavioural changes about how legal interact with both clients and the business is also going to change. So, I think there's a lot of change, basically, and a lot of different... People will approach it in different ways. And also people will potentially disagree with obviously that vision we're portraying, but I think certainly from our point of view that's a big focus for Summize is to be that provider that can enable that.

Rob MacAdam:

Just on that topic, I guess, back onto Summize specifically, and as we just wrap up this episode, but what does the next 12 months look like for Summize? What are the key milestones? What are you looking forward to?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, I guess there's a lot of things. It's a lot about scale. It's a lot about we've got to a point where we've got a very good product. We've got a very relevant product, and we are finding traction in, obviously the UK market. But also it's been very well received in Australia and the US. We want to prove that out, scale that up and really get some great proof points in those countries. And we'd love to be opening up an office in the US in Q1 of next year. And then I think alongside that we're really keen to explore different scalable models. We're working with some great law firms that are essentially where we'd be white labelling their products or using Summize as a way to enable businesses to be self-help.

So they're using our product to say, "Well, look, if you're reviewing these contracts rather than not come to us as a law firm, here's a self-help product that you can get instant summaries." It's branded as their own. And then it means to become a bit sticky with the clients, to become a bit more of a partner with them. And just prior that day to day help. So there's a few models like that in terms of what we call our partner program. But in terms of, I guess, scaling Summize through whether it be our law firm clients or business users through the in-house teams really getting Summize out there through our core legal users. It's definitely something want to scale up as well over the next 12 months.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I know. A few other vendors are actually looking at similar approaches. No, I mean, this has been really interesting. I think the way you guys have approached things, I guess, partly driven obviously by your mentality that comes from your background in sport, but just how you've approached things and keeping things very simple and thinking very carefully about things from the perspective of the buyer and the user and trying to reduce that friction, but trying to always focus on that core area of value. I think it's going to stand you in such good stead. I'm just really excited to see where you guys go over the next 12 months and beyond. So, I really appreciate you coming on the podcast, Tom, and talking to us about Summize and your background. It's been fascinating.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no problem. And get that from me, it's good conversation. I think there's a lot of shared vision there as well.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, definitely. Very well aligned. Just finally, for anyone who's, I guess, interested in a lot of the topics we've discussed on this or who wants to perhaps reach out or get to know Summize more, how can people connect with you and the company?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, we are very active on LinkedIn. I mean, that's certainly one of the most active channels we're on. I'll be on there. We've got a page, a Summize page on LinkedIn. I mean, similarly as well I think we've got quite a public email address in many ways with [email protected] It rhymes as well. So yeah, either of those, but LinkedIn is certainly our probably primary platform that we push content to.

Rob MacAdam:

Brilliant. Well, like I said, I really appreciate you coming on. It's been a great episode. And for everyone listening, the next episode of the Legaltech Arcade Podcast will be out very soon. But Thanks, Tom. That was great.

Tom Dunlop:

Thanks, Rob.

Rob MacAdam:

That's it for this week's episode of the Legaltech Arcade Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please go ahead and subscribe. Thanks for listening and see you next time.

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Legaltech Arcade Podcast

By
Summize
March 11, 2021

Legaltech Arcade Podcast: Finding Marginal Gains to Build Better Products

Transcript

Rob MacAdam:

Hello, and welcome to Legaltech Arcade with me Rob MacAdam, an independent podcast about tech-driven legal service delivery, and the people and products that make it all happen. Okay. So, welcome to the latest episode of the Legaltech Arcade Podcast. And this week, I'm really pleased to be joined by Tom Dunlop who's founder and CEO of Summize. Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no, thank you very much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Rob MacAdam:

No, it's great to have you on, and I'm really interested to have the discussions today. It's going to be good. But I think you may have listened to some of the episodes, and it's becoming a little bit cheesy now, I guess, me asking this question, but everyone knows what's coming. But were you into video games as a kid? Are you into video games now? And if so, what were some of the favourites?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, definitely. I think, definitely whether this was biased by my sporting background was very much into the, I guess the FIFAs, certainly, Pro Evo in university just seemed to dominate my time there. But I think more recently, I'm less cool, I'd say. I'm very much take more of an interest in my five-year old's Nintendo Switch games, and things like Animal Crossing and Crossy Road was another one that she really enjoys. But yeah, it's interesting to see the development of how Minecraft and things are on the periphery of what the kids are looking at in terms of the kids that are slightly older than her. So, that's the next thing that will be occupying hers and my time. But yeah, less cool these days.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I sympathize. I spend many weekends in front of the TV playing Just Dance with my three daughters. So, it's a long way away from the days of Grand Theft Auto. But yeah, and I used to like the sporting ones as well. But I can remember having some sort of track and field game on the PC, and it's all about pressing the buttons to run as fast as you possibly can.

Tom Dunlop:

As fast as you can, yeah.

Rob MacAdam:

Just I used to really enjoy that.

Tom Dunlop:

Definitely.

Rob MacAdam:

Cool. Okay, so let's get into some of the more interesting topics for the podcast. But I'm really interested to hear a bit more about Summize. It sounds like a really interesting product. So I was just wondering whether you could tell us a little bit about Summize? What problems does it solve? What value does it deliver? Who are you delivering that value for?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, definitely. So, I think it is most basic, what we're trying to solve is essentially the low value just manual tasks, and I guess the frustrations associated around contracts. So, what it is centred around is the fact that we create these instinct contracts summaries. That's at the core of the product. But I think surrounding that, I guess we like to think of ourselves as just that lightweight platform with a really clear focus on that time to value and ease of use. And that's pretty much the approach that we take across the range of the product is really enhance and augment legal teams' existing working habits, and rather than, I guess, drive into a new system or a whole new platform to learn. It's more about that augmentation of existing practices. So, that in a nutshell is what we do.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. So those summaries that come back, are they summaries just purely of the content? Does it do any sort of summary of risk or key points within those contracts?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. So, we have, I guess, two different ways that we can present the summary. So the first way is you literally select the clauses that you want to extract. And what we can do is not just extract, I guess, data. We can give a very specific output. So we can almost interpret the clause. So, for example, on a confidentiality clause, we can understand whether it's a one way or a mutual confidentiality clause. So the actual result of the summary might say, "This is a mutual confidentiality clause or a confidentiality for both parties." And I guess alongside that, we can also trigger red flags automatically, so we can take into account key risks.

Another quite recent development is whilst we've got the full list of clauses, I guess, from the more legal people within businesses and the law firms. We can then flip that and actually turn it into a Q&A summary. So we actually have the ability to say, how do I get paid? What are my biggest risks? How do I get out of the contract? Because that's probably the question that someone asks of a contract. And we can display the summary and the answers to those questions as well as obviously, the full list of the clauses. So there's dual aspects. And I think that goes back to we're trying to augment lawyers the way they do it, but also really take into account practically how do people actually communicate with contracts? What do they actually want to know? Rather than a list of every single clause, if that makes sense.

Rob MacAdam:

Exactly. Yeah, no, it does. And like you say, it's what they want to know, and why they want to know it, and what decisions are they trying to make? I think that's a really interesting trend right now is moving beyond purely just taking data out and presenting it and saying, "Here's the data that's in the contract, or here's some of the clauses." And turning that into actionable insight to say, "What are you trying to do? And if you tell me what you're trying to do, I'll give you the information to go make the right decision." So, yeah, no, I really like that. I really like that. But I mean, you alluded to a couple of points a minute ago. What would you say are the key differentiators for Summize? I guess, there's a lot of good companies operating in the contract analysis space. So, what makes you distinct?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think most, I guess, listeners are using these platforms will probably relate to the fact that contract review tools or technology so far have quite a good use case for particular large scale contract reviews and DDs. But I think the day to day, and the smaller projects, it doesn't feel like there's a lot of tools out there. And I also think that there's a big push, I guess, to create the platform. We are the end to end platform for contracts. And so, what I think that certainly in terms of the differentiators, and how we position ourselves, it's more of a case of, well, rather than trying to draw you to a new platform, get the whole business to come to a new platform.

Really what we're trying to do is have this central repository, but actually, the way people interact with that is through tools that they already know. So the Slack, Teams, SharePoint, the VG Drive, Chrome, even things like that. So that's very much the differentiator between those and a lot. There's more modular contract management, go to whether users already are, and certainly focus on the more day to day lightweight ease of use aspects rather than we've got a huge project with thousands of contracts where we need to run them through and spot the patterns across them.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. So, keep it simple, keep it valuable, and just reduce that friction for people wanting to use it. And I know, we'll come on to talk more about that concept of platforms and one-stop-shops versus some of these more lightweight tools later in the episode. So that'll be really interesting. So what about your background then? So you're at Summize. I suspect you've moved around. You've had a few different roles before you founded it, but can you just highlight your background, your history and your journey from whatever you're doing before to founding and becoming the CEO of Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, of course. So, I guess a good place to start, and I still try and hold on to this as something that was in the recent past even though it's going further and further away was the sporting background. So, I mean, a lot of the time I went through the university, and prior to that, I guess my focus was, well, badminton, and being a GB badminton player. And very much to be honest my plan was all about the Olympics, the world-class funding program all leading up to the Olympics, and the legal route wasn't necessarily a primary race at all, actually. It was something that I guess fell into afterwards.

So, yeah, as I was doing my law degree, I was still essentially a full-time professional badminton player. And then it got to the crunch point of well, I probably need to commit doing a full-time badminton athlete or actually give this legal thing ago. So what I did actually end of my law degree I made the choice to... I actually set up a business, actually. It was a comparison site for solicitors when I left, I did that. I did my legal practice course. And then soon after that fell into the sports agency world. I felt like it was a good mix between obviously my sports background, but also the legal background. So, very much kind of a boutique law firm that also specialized in the commercial and sports field.

It was a newly set up firm through a very entrepreneurial lawyer who was previously an in-house lawyer at some big companies. And it was great because essentially I had that experience of, I guess, combining my sporting background, but it was a very entrepreneurial field to building something different, building a different type of law firm. I acted as a bit of a quasi in-house team to its business clients but also had a sporting edge to athletes as well. So, it's a bit of a... It's always baptism by fire, really being at the thick end of a very small firm, but still learned a number of skills that set me up well to, I guess, pursue an in-house career after I qualified and in that firm.

From there really to today it's been a case of being around a few different in-house positions. The most relevant of which are the last three, which were all tech or software companies. I was head of legal at a global software business called AppSense, which is relevant because we have a few of the, I guess, old alumni from that company in Summize. And we also then after that I was a leader at a company called Zuto. Again, tech enable business. And then the last one, which was quite an interesting spin on what software companies do in the modern day is a US company called UserZoom. UserZoom that was kind of a SaaS company. Very fast growth, had that kind of big scale-up phase looking to I guess IPO. It will be very much a unicorn in the next couple of years. So, a bit of a differential from a UK global software company to then finishing up in the kind of a Silicon Valley based SaaS company. Before very much setting up Summize, learning from those use cases, I guess.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I guess working as a lawyer within a tech business probably set you up quite well for setting up your own company and knowing some of the key factors that go into making a successful technology company.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, it definitely did. I think there's a couple of things that happen. I think, one, you get the book. I think you'd work in these highly entrepreneurial environments, you're there with the founders. And you hear about almost the way they started up. And they all start in a relatively similar way. They saw a problem, probably in their own domain. In UserZoom's case, it was UX research testing. Started out and developed something, pivoted a few times, and then when they hit that scale-up phase, they really got that product-market fit. And they exploded in terms of that growth.

But I think going along that journey, gives you two things. One, knowledge of potential how to replicate it, but two, not to be afraid of it. I think there's this big perception that you can't just go and create a company. You think of how these companies got there, but they all started with this quite basic idea, and pivoted and grew and just had the commitment and drive to do it. So, it definitely shaped my path.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I totally agree with that confidence point as well. I think, if I look back to when I was a lawyer, or even before that, looking at tech companies and startups, I would definitely think, "Wow, that's a big commitment. There's a lot of risk involved in that." And I'm not saying there isn't, but I think when you've worked in that environment and those startups scale up businesses that it does give you a little bit more confidence that you do have a good idea. You can make a success of it and is perhaps not the biggest leap that you might imagine it to be. But then, okay, so you were in-house in a tech company. And you mentioned then you moved on to Summize. What did that leap actually look like? Where did the idea for it come from? Where was that light bulb moment? What steps did you take after that to really start building the product and building the business?

Tom Dunlop:

So, I think, I mean, it goes back to the AppSense days. There was a few years ago when I basically went through an acquisition. This was the first in some ways the light bulb moment where we went through an acquisition. We were acquired by a US company. I personally had to review about 500 contracts. And what was interesting at the time was I did look at tech tools on the market. I was a GC at the time. And basically, I didn't get going within that week. The reality was like in all these things, someone presses a button that says, "We go." You then have the task of doing the review of the contracts or extracting information. And the reality was there was no one who would even come close to being able to be flexible enough or have that time to value that could have provided me any value to actually help me with that review.

And so, I did the manual review. Obviously, it was painful. And then some broken man went over to one of the senior software developers who was working there at the time and just said, "Listen, I've been doing this. There's got to be a better way of doing it. I know exactly what I'm looking for." And so, we started to trade ideas. But then I think as I went through my next couple of roles, really what I realized was that it wasn't just the project review stuff that had a problem. I think it was that day to day business people come up to saying, "What was the terms for this contract that we signed two years ago?" Well, I don't know. We have to go and manually read it and find it out.

Then there was another one, which was what GDPR. I mean, that was a prime example where you have to do a bit of a project review and quite unique parts of your contracts that was unprecedented, and you have to then action it. And I think there was a lot of that kind of day to day use cases as well as the more project-based use cases that made me think, "There's no tools out there that are flexible enough or certainly have the ability to get up and running quickly to help me with these quite diverse use cases." And so, we just started to create prototypes, basically, me and my co-founder, Dave just created some very, very ropey prototypes of just being able to upload a contract. And then you saw a summary pop out. And that concept of just creating a summary of a document was very powerful.

I think that really resonated with people that I knew. We test the market, we went to lawyers, and they were just really keen on just that concept. So, it was then, and I think the real turning point, I guess, was probably around March, April 2019, when we actually raised our first seed investment. And we got our chairman on board who was the former founder and CEO of AppSense. So the company obviously he sold. Charlie who founded that company then came on board as our chairman and as an investor alongside Maven. At that point, it became, all right, we're building out a development team now to make this a proper product, make this a product that we can commercialize. And it was after doing that and selling it, obviously, to prove now that we can sell it for different use cases and have some prior practice, and then that's when I went full-time. We raised to get the funds, and I guess, from there to where we are today to a certain extent fast forward a year.

Rob MacAdam:

So you actually got to building it while still working as an in-house lawyer. And then there was just that moment. The funding was almost a catalyst that you suddenly realized, okay, yeah, this is serious now, and I'm all in. Is that right?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. And I think which was in some ways, a lot of people talk about the kind of, I don't know, the side job, or something that you do in the background. I think for me I was very lucky to be in companies that almost encouraged it as well. I think that was a big factor of how I was probably able to do both side by side was they were very entrepreneurial companies. They had that mindset, which we've adopted a lot in Summize about if this was your last job because you want to create a successful software company, I would rather have you in the company today giving us your value before you go and become founder of a different company. I think they adopted that mentality.

So, that enabled me to get advice from people in the company, be very open about it. And when the time came right, it was very, I guess, amicable and I was able to construct this. And they wish me good luck. And I still speak to a lot of them today to see if there's advice I can get or bounce things off of them. And they're more than happy to help. So that definitely helped.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I guess that seed funding, that series A type funding is a pivotal stage for a lot of businesses. And I guess a lot of people listening will read a lot of the legal tech press and see companies getting that type of funding. What does it mean for a company like Summize when that arrives? What goes into sourcing that funding? And what did it mean for you and the business? And what did it allow you to then go and do?

Tom Dunlop:

Yes, it's an interesting one because I think funding... Historically, and particularly in the UK, there's this mentality that you need to have bootstrapped the business to a certain point. You need to have proven the model to X amount of revenue, and then you get a certain amount of funding that can maybe drive you to the next stage. But I think what I loved about the American mentality was well, look it's clearly a huge market. There's clearly a use case for it. So, to build what you need to build, and because the market's moving quickly, funding just enables you to do it quicker, and enables you to do it better. I think that it gives people that first-mover advantage. It gives people that ability to scale quicker, and ultimately, they're the ones who win.

And so, the funding was, I guess, validation of the concept, validation of the idea that we believe we're onto something. But I think more so it just gives you that real, sort of rocket fuel to make it happen. I think there's kind of a strange culture in Summize that there's almost an inevitability. Like with the people involved, whether it's from the sports background, and I'm sure there's a number of things we can go into on that in terms of the transferable skills. But from our perspective, it wasn't a case of, okay, we've got the seed funding. We could fail if we don't do x.

This was more, well, this is just stage one. We know exactly what we're going to do with this money. We know exactly where we're going to be. And then from that, we know exactly the next phase, and there's like an inevitability of where we'll be. I think that that helps with rather than I think some people get funding, for example, they think the funding is this kind of like almost event in itself that you should celebrate and then go on to the next part of the journey. For us, it was just one step that we need to overcome to get to where we know we can be.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, totally. You just alluded to it there about the lessons learned from your sporting career. And I'm always fascinated by this. My brother-in-law plays on the European tour, and I love talking to him about sports and sports psychology and performance. I ask a lot of questions about what he reads and how he operates. I try and take that sometimes into how I work on the business side, but what would you say are the lessons you took with you from that sporting career of yours into what you're doing? And has it had a big impact on the success of yourself and Summize?

Tom Dunlop:

Yes, it's huge. And I think, I mean, it is at the core of our culture. I reference this a lot when I, I guess, talk about the way that we work. And this is from onboarding to actual the culture itself is all about this continuous improvement Kaizen mentality. I probably didn't even turn it that way when I was in sport. The way that I looked at it was because at the time I was the European number one badminton to get there. It wasn't that I was necessarily physically stronger or more skilful. What you find is that plateaus when you get to a certain level. I think when you compete in that kind of like world's best, particularly Olympic level, to get the edge it's all about your, I guess, mental strength. Your being in the zone when you're performing. I think there's so many things that we used to do to get us into that zone, prepare us so that we had no excuse that we shouldn't be in that zone.

So you did the physical training, which is fine. But I see things like... This probably is an extreme example in some ways, but I can think of even getting up at half four and training in the morning. I didn't necessarily do more hours than other people training. But at the same time, when I went on court with someone, just confidence that I know that they wouldn't do that. So to me, it didn't really matter whether they put more strength training or anything else. I was just mentally stronger, and I would go in court, and they would know it as well. And so, I think that mentality of just finding those. We call them now the 1%. And it's obviously a very well-trodden path in terms of this continuous improvement. Clive Woodworth, Dave Brailsford, particularly from a sporting background obviously advocates a lot. But really, it is part of our culture.

I think, Summize, what we always try and do is say, well, rather than trying to find those silver bullets of transformative tech, for example, we just look at those small changes we can make both in the product, but also in the life of our users. I think that's part of the culture of how we operate, but also how the product solves the problem it does.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, and actually, it actually ties really nicely in with that product mindset, actually, about the fact that it's not just about throwing features and functionality and new newfangled technology into the product and just hope something sticks. It's actually about finding those marginal gains. Looking and talking to customers and clients and actually finding out what would move the needle? What would actually make a big impact for them? And I guess going back to your simplicity point, which is, it's okay just to focus on maybe that one key element because you know that that is what's going to make all the difference. All the other stuff, yeah, it's nice to have, but it's not essential. But if you know you absolutely nail that one area then you're going to deliver value, and you're going to have a big impact. I like the parallels there. That's really interesting.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, yeah. I totally agree. I think one of the things that you see, the consumer world almost moves faster than certainly the B2B software world. I think one of the interesting trends with just consumer technology is the advent of things like Alexa or even smartwatches. You think, well, actually, what's more, convenient by having a smartwatch on your wrist compared to looking at your phone are the same things? But there's just something about that extra level of convenience to your day to day that just drives people's imagination, gets them invested in these types of ways of working, and that becomes the new norm. And then there's something that's a little bit better, a little bit better. I think that's certainly the mentality that we're trying to bring to, I guess, contracts generally.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, no, totally. So, when you look back at your journey from... Well, actually really interesting journey from sportsmen through sports agency and law into in-house and now into as a founder and CEO. What advice would you have for lawyers maybe in-house private practice that want to move into legal technology maybe as a founder with their own idea, or maybe just as an employee in legal tech? Are there any pieces of advice you'd have for them?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think, I mean, for me the first thing to get into before even making a move just to straighten things, it's all about the mindset. I think just really trying to be a creative person and that sounds very vague. But I think what I found when I speak to a lot of lawyers that I dealt with when I... Obviously, colleagues, I guess, when I was practising was that lawyers are great problem solvers. And lawyers are great at understanding a number of facts, understanding subjective opinion, understanding risks, and then interpreting those, and then giving, I guess advice on the back of that. And it's usually risk-based. So you're looking at a lot of facts, you digest that, and you're giving some kind of output.

I mean, essentially, when you're in legal tech it's exactly the same thing. It's just that what you need to be doing is focusing on the creative, the value add, the how can I take you one step forward rather than the risk? And so, I think the first thing to do before even jumping headfirst into a legal tech role or becoming a founder is just really everything that you do having that same problem-solving approach, but thinking on that creative end. And it sounds quite basic, but actually, it's hugely valuable. I've always tried to make sure that whatever I was doing, there's one thing I did in a previous role as an in-house lawyer that I found that.

For example, I was sending out my contract to the other side. They mark the same clauses over and over again. I'd have a conversation with them over the phone. They understood my position, and then we go back to what I originally had. And I was thinking, that's three weeks of the contract lifecycle just wasted. So, I actually recorded a video of me going through the contracts that sales used to send out before I even spoke to them. And it said, "Hi, I'm Tom. I humanize the experience a little bit and said, "Look, this is why I've done this in the contract is because the product does X." And suddenly the contract lifecycle reduced by four weeks because that initial three to four-week negotiation where you don't actually speak to each other was gone because they understood it, and it actually humanized the process more.

So, it was quite a small change. The videos took me five minutes to record, but it was hugely valuable, and it was like a creative way of making a change to my daily life. And I think once you get into that path, you find there's so much opportunity and things like that across the board. And that opens up, maybe rolls into legal tech, whether it be that you've now found a very niche or specific use case that is actually not solved. And then that could lead to you becoming a founder. So I think it all leads from that mindset.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. No, I completely agree. Yeah, as you say, it's moving beyond seeing yourself as a person who's there to spot and mitigate risk, and accepting that it's okay to be a creative person. Someone who's spotting opportunities to create value and deliver new value and do things in a different way. But I absolutely love the example you've just given there. I think that's really interesting about actually filming yourself going through the contract. Because you're absolutely right.

When you think about what lawyers do with contracts, and it's almost an accepted process, isn't it? That you don't get face-to-face with someone straightaway. It's kind of like, let's get our head term signed. And then we'll do our first draft. And I'll give it over to you and you go and do your next draft, and we'll converse over email, then maybe we'll get on a phone call. And then maybe right at the end, we'll actually get in a room face-to-face and actually have a very human conversation about it.

But it's ridiculous because clients are paying for all of that nonsense back and forth, especially when you work... I guess you're talking about working in-house. But for clients paying lawyers to do that process, it's just so expensive. Why can't you just... Yeah, let's just be a lot more reasonable, a lot more human about it. We all know where we're going to get to and we've all got our conflicting priorities. So let's just be open and honest about it. And I'm sure we'll get to a better result quicker. But yeah, that's epic. Filming yourself going through a contract is brilliant. I love that.

Tom Dunlop:

It was really powerful. It was a small... I totally agree. I think the missing thing in the legal, whether it be negotiation or just the legal process, generally, whether it be litigation or contract negotiation, or a corporate deal is the humanizing it. I think technology these days if nothing else, we've now got the technology no matter where you are in the world, you can humanize the process. And I think there's huge value across the whole, I guess, legal services spectrum to actually introduce the human element. And I think it will make everything just that bit more efficient. So yeah, I'm a big advocate of that.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. Well, I mean, we see it a little bit on spend, legal spend that you get some approaches that are very adversarial like we want to have our law firms on spend and get the best possible deal. We get a different approach, which is actually let's try and... Let's find a way where we can actually try and get the best possible outcomes for both sides. We know law firms are trying to deliver their services, get their fees, and make things happen on their side. In-house teams are struggling with workload, limited resource maybe. They're trying to get results. Let's just find the best way of achieving that for both sides. It doesn't need to be so adversarial. It can be, as you say, more human.

Just on that actually, as we're talking about the in-house teams and what they're going through. As a former in-house lawyer and someone who's, I guess very still very close to some of the challenges facing in-house legal departments. What would you say some of the key factors that are impacting in-house teams are right now? And particularly factors that might mean that those teams are turning to technology?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah. So, I think one thing that's been quite interesting over the last, I guess, 10 to 15 years, is I think there's been the advent or the very real consequences of risk really come to the forefront of a business' mindset. You've seen, obviously, financial cracks here. You've seen GDPR, you've seen COVID, I think those things on climate change probably come in. I think businesses rather than having this risk in a box in the corner of the room somewhere, risk is now a very real threat in terms of a proper business plan, and how are you going to grow? And regulation has obviously increased.

A lot of that has meant that legal, for me, has really been put in the spotlight to be a real seat around the table, a real business leader because it's now a business priority. I guess the pressure is on an in-house team is that the day to day stuff, or the service of legal is still very much there. So you've got this huge workload that exists. You've got now this increased expectation on being a very much business leader because it is now a top business priority. And then I guess the challenges and where tech can help is that from a headcount perspective, you're still probably considered the bottom. A support function that's probably at the bottom of the list in terms of getting headcount.

When you throw all that together, you've got this really quite stretched, but essential resource that when you look at what they do day to day, and I used to do this a lot particularly in the smaller in-house legal teams. I mean, there's just so much just low-value process-driven work that is just taking time, and time is the absolute most precious commodity for, I guess for anyone, but certainly for the in-house lawyer. So, yeah, in terms of tech and enabling it, I think that the problem that they've had is tech is very tailored to probably the more private practice like very, very, either use case-specific. Very kind of like, right, corporate lawyers do this. So, we need to develop a template that does this.

An in-house lawyer's role is so varied that to try and find something that can assist with, I guess, the extremely varied workload and extremely varied areas of law that you deal with day to day is also really hard. And so, yeah, it's just the melting pot of this stretch, but extremely essential resource really in the spotlight in the past 10 to 15 years, but struggling to scale headcount alongside the importance of, I guess, the role in the business function that been taken on.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I mean, you go to all these conferences, and it's been a bit of a cliche over the last few years. But everyone talks about this more for less challenge. And actually, interestingly, but I've had conversations with in-house lawyers and GCs. They push back against it in some ways. Not because it's untrue, but I guess if you look at it, more for less, a lot of people say, "It's not necessarily more of the same as you've alluded to, it's almost more by way of different types of work." Actually, different types of work in terms of the growing risk landscape. Maybe becoming more strategic as you said and joining more of the senior decision-making process. So there's that kind of not only more work, but actually a changing nature of the work that lawyers do.

And then the less piece, that's what gets pushed back against sometimes. A lot of teams say, "Actually, I don't necessarily have less. I'm just trying to achieve more with the same." Or even more with, maybe sometimes they do have slightly more resource, but the actual growth in what they're doing completely outweighs that. So, I think there are some really interesting challenges facing in-house teams at the moment in terms of how they're working in the changing nature of their role.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think it comes back to... I mean, because fundamentally, I'm a big believer that this whole concept of legal as a service is obvious that it will happen. I think there's this concept of legal has obviously been... I mean, even by the billable hour. By the way that a lot of legal operate in terms of the work they do. It's all been set up as quite a reactive more occasional use service. And I think that that's just a market thing that's just always, that's just the way legal has been set up, I guess, and historically. Whereas, you've got every other aspect of a business' function, and a consumer sense, as well in terms of the macro look at it that is as a service.

You've just got this type of either advice or access just all the time. I think that that's what legal is struggling With is that everything's surrounding legal, the work they do, how you prove the value, obviously even down to the billable hour is all set up to be this reactive occasional use. Whereas, everything around legal, and every business is really set up for their functions as a service. Even now with COVID, the fact that you can just have a video conference with anyone, chat any time of the day, you can never really switch off. Legal has to adapt to that, and we have to be able to provide that same service and that same advice, but in the kind of as a service way. So, I think that's the kind of... There's a huge market shift putting pressure on the way that legal interacts with businesses and clients alongside the internal pressure.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, that whole legal as a service concept is really interesting. You got organizations against that like Elevate who are trying to almost provide a solution for outsourcing, almost outsourcing your in-house department as well. And I think a lot about what the impacts of COVID and pandemic is going to be on in-house teams, and all firms, but predominantly in-house teams. Now you've got a remote workforce that is set up to work at home. Will we see a shifting landscape where you do perhaps outsource a little bit more of your legal work? Perhaps you have some key strategic people within the legal department that then leverage this network of suppliers and legal service providers and outsource legal support to get the best results. But actually, their role internally is much more managerial or strategic, and they're just leveraging this network. I think just the patterns of what we're going to see by way of team structures and makeup is going to really shift over the coming few months and years, I think.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I think the last 12 months has shown us that, that is on the advent. I mean, there's nothing stopping remote. Everyone working in the remote way. We're obviously still at that place of having you call HQ and the collaborative element, but it enables those types of business models, even more than ever. I think it's forced people to adopt, whether it be the tools and the technology, and there's the way of working that it just means you're set up to adopt that type of model. So, yeah, I totally agree.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah. That's the reason there's remote workforce is why a lot of technology is now... I mean, you're seeing the explosion of the adoption of just the communication and collaboration tools, but then that will move into more of the work that lawyers do, I think, and people still need access to knowledge and know-how. They can't necessarily... They're not in the office. They're not having conversations. They're not checking in with people. So you need to find ways of plating and storing all of that, making it accessible. So, I think this is going to be a real... This whole thing is going to be a real driver for technology adoption, generally. But definitely, I think around what we would normally term legal technology.

Okay. So, just on that topic then to just looking back, when you mentioned one of the ideas for Summize came about you were looking for a tool to help you with these contracts, this contract analysis, and you couldn't find anything. But when you were an in-house lawyer, what technology did you use? Did you have... Were you using anything that would be normally termed legal technology? Was it more standard than that? What kind of tools did you use?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, it was very basic. I think still a lot of, I guess, corporate legal departments, you're literally dealing with email, Word, PDF, and Excel. I think that it was very low tech, but at the same time, that served the purpose. I think what you found was that you needed... Legal tech was great, but there were also very heavy systems for one part of the use case. And I think that was the biggest thing. It wasn't necessarily displacing a big system that was already in place or worthwhile. It was more just trying to be, I guess, flexible, and often varied enough that you could apply it to several different use cases that would make sense to work alongside your core tools that you have as a business. So, yeah, it was very, very manual.

Rob MacAdam:

I'll be interested to hear your perspective on this, but when you did look for tools, did you find... I mean, you didn't find what you wanted, but did you get the feeling that the legal tech market was it saturated? Was there too much choice? Was it too confusing to sift through what things did? Because I think I've had conversations on the podcast with others about this topic about how many legal tech vendors there are out there and how it's starting to become a little bit crowded, a little bit confusing, particularly for buyers. But did you have that experience? Would you say that the legal tech market is a little bit too crowded right now?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, yeah. There's no getting away from that. I think there's obviously a lot of noise. I think that's still the case. There's obviously a boom a few years ago where the initial wave came. And I think there is... I think there's just confusion. I think the reason is in my view that, and this is both from a buyer perspective, as well as a vendor perspective, is that everyone's searching for those silver bullets. And they're searching for... The vendors are advertising silver bullets. Automate everything today. And then you've got the buyer who's saying, "Oh, well, this tool I want it to replace my day to day drive into home from work, and then do my washing." I mean, that's obviously extreme. But there's this expectation that the products out there are just going to solve everything from day one.

I have seen a slight change in mindset if I'm honest. And I think when we speak to customers today, and obviously, it's a big part of our products, but that approach to saying, "Well, look, you're not going to find a tool that replaces what you do." You're a legal service. It's an advisory services. It's a subjective opinion. This isn't just a job that involves the processing of numbers or processing of information which a computer could do. You've got to take into account a lot of different factors. And essentially, you're paid for your advice or internally you are employed to provide advice on a set of topics. So, try and suggest that a tool could automate that, I think is quite a bold one to try and solve today.

So, this type of incremental improvement, and again, I always come back to it, but actually everything to do with our products, and everything to do with how we onboard. And it is a bit of an education piece. We say, "Listen, why search for those huge silver bullets when we could make probably 10 to 15 small changes that it's going to make a massive difference. But it doesn't actually feel such a big difference once we go through that process." I think that's the problem with the noise is there's too much... There are too many promises and too much expectation. I think that's the problem with the noise at the minute.

Rob MacAdam:

Exactly. You're right. It's the noise and the marketing that goes around that has created this expectation that there is technology out there that could absolutely revolutionize and transform every aspect of a lawyer's life and what they're trying to do. And you see that coming through in RFPs. It's a little bit like the whole when... In The Simpsons where Homer designs that car. It's a little bit like that. The RFPs you think, they can't possibly be a tool on the market that delivers this. This is crazy. I think they're wasting a lot of time in doing that, and there needs to be a much earlier, realistic requirements gathering and probably analysis done of... That goes back to your point about the 1%. But organizations looking to bring in technology should be doing that analysis and actually saying, "Where is our 1%? Where's our key gain going to be had?" And then minimizing their requirements, and just going after that first, and then building from there. It is really interesting that whole, yeah, the market and the requirements and expectations. Yeah, crazy.

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, if you think back to my story about the, I guess recording the video. I used at the time PointDrive on LinkedIn. It was an existing license I had because they had Sales Navigator as a tool. And they just allowed you to create basically almost like an interactive PDF, basically. You can insert media as well as content, so you can insert your contract as well as a video next to it. If I tried to sell it to someone they'd be, "That's a bit low tech. It's not very exciting." But if I told them the result of four weeks off the procurement cycle, I mean, every legal tech vendor in the market today would be clambering over to get that type of return on investment. And yet it was free, that was free. I didn't pay anything for it. I think sometimes just focusing purely on the problem. And also these vendors promising the world without really, really taking into account what effect those small changes can have is quite a dangerous game to play.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, totally. I mean, take something like matter management, for example, matter management of vendors. When you do your competitor analysis, you've got to seriously put in as a competitor people that are just exceptionally good at using something like Excel because it's you've got this big old singing-dancing matter management platform. But someone who can operate and be nimble around maybe Excel and some of the other Microsoft stack can actually pretty come close. Like you say, it's not exciting. It's not particularly sexy. It's a bit dull. It's Microsoft Office, but if it does the job, it does the job. So, yeah, it's hard for vendors to compete with some of those simpler options. And maybe one of the ways of competing is as you guys have done is just slim it back down. Identify the key value, keep it simple, but-

Tom Dunlop:

Just augment it.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly, augment it. Yeah. But just on that point, I guess, what have been your key learnings about selling to corporate legal teams and selling to law firms. what are the key factors that you've learned that help you sell and help your customers make a decision easily?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, the number one is, I guess, in some ways what we've just covered is really understand the use case. It still... Well, not amazes me, but we get... One of the biggest pieces of feedback we get is, you can tell it's been built by a lawyer, or you can tell it's someone who's had the use case. And that's almost the first bit of feedback we get, which makes me think that's not the norm. That's not what all the tools are doing. It is hard.

We've got an amazing development team. And sometimes they come and they say to me, "Well, we could do this." And I'm like, "Wow, that looks amazing." But then when you actually just go back to the use case and you start thinking, it would add no value. It looks great, but I wouldn't use it. There is no situation where I would actually use it. So, being absolutely nailed on to a very specific use case, and always coming back to it is one of the biggest learning points that we're still learning. I think our product's gotten more complex. And across a number of different, I guess, whether it be integrations or different verticals that makes you think, "Actually, how do we pitch this now?" I think it's always going to be use cases. That's number one.

And then I think the second is just reduce the friction or reduce that time to value as much as possible. I think there is change management is an interesting area because it goes back to the Kaizen mindset, but change is a fight or flight response from humans. I mean, humans just don't like change. It's natural. It's in our DNA to not like change. So, if we know that then presenting a solution that completely revolutionizes where someone is today, particularly people who are very time poor makes you think, "Well, that isn't going to resonate particularly well," because the instant reaction to that is going to be like, you just get nervous or anxious about what that will mean. So, reducing the friction, reducing that time to value, and obviously understanding the use case are by far the biggest lessons, I think.

Rob MacAdam:

Just on the first one then in terms of the value and identifying value and focusing relentlessly on delivering that core value. I mean, how do you go about that? In the product design and product development process, how do you make sure that what you are building is valuable? How much contact do you have with the market and your customers when you're building new things, or at least looking to build new things?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, what was interesting about that because I obviously did prior to joining Summize I worked for UserZoom. UserZoom is a UX research testing company. So, everything that they do is all about user experience, is all about basically researching and testing with your customers before you even release anything. So, I'd say that definitely had an influence on my mindset as well about what was important when building a product. So, we've carried that forward. I mean, we got a really easy to access feedback form literally in your... Not in your face, but in the products that you can just say, "Listen, I've got an idea for a product or there's a bit of friction." Submit it, it goes straight through to our dev team, and that forms part of our roadmap. We have given partners free... In the early days, we gave quite a few free licenses to people just to give us all bolts and all about what they liked and didn't like about the product.

It's a hard thing to do. I mean, I think when I look for that now even getting that really honest customer feedback is difficult because you've got people, some people just tell us that, "I just didn't really use it." And you can't help but get a bit offended by it. You going to start thinking, "But look how amazing it is. Look at how shiny it is. It's this great product." But they're like, "Yeah, but just don't use it." But the sooner you get over that, and the sooner just that becomes part of your day to day. And anything that you do is either customer-led or you've at least premise with customers before we move on to the final state is only going to improve your chances of scaling and successfully selling to those customers in the future.

Rob MacAdam:

That's just reminding me now of Silicon Valley in that scene where Richard's trying to explain... I think he tried to explain PiperNet or something to that user group.

Tom Dunlop:

To that user group, yeah.

Rob MacAdam:

He's got to get the board up. He's drawing diagrams, and he's just like, "You need to get this. You need to understand this." Sometimes it's just like, okay, we've missed the park, so fair enough. But in terms of then reducing that friction to buy, I mean, I guess what are the key factors? How can you reduce that friction to help someone who's got a problem recognize that you've got the right solution and onboard that all too quickly? Is it price? Is it trials, proof of concepts? I mean, how do you reduce that friction?

Tom Dunlop:

I think price obviously helps. I mean, more because I guess certainly legacy systems or certainly the way that I guess software companies were going were quite expensive purchases, and they were ultimately purchases that were premised on a cost-saving or a time-saving. So I think if your product costs a lot of money to get returns on that in time saved, naturally, it's a harder sell. So I mean, the cost is always something. But I think more importantly it comes back to the use case point. And the way that we have settled the system is that essentially, we modularize the system so you can take bits. If your use case is that you spend all day in Microsoft Word negotiating more bespoke contracts, well, you only need our Microsoft Word add-in. You don't really need our platform. So, we'll sell you that, and that's all you need.

Whereas similarly, if you spend your days, basically creating summaries, or doing reviews of contracts. Like summaries of contracts before they're stored or something like that, you're going to live in our web app. So that's what the use case is, that's what you'll have a license for, and that's exactly what we'll onboard you for. So, the use case is not only important just to actually sell the products and then get that initial sale, but actually in terms of adoption, in terms of reducing the friction, it still baffles me that we have systems where you know the use case is for 10% of the system functionality, but you sell them the whole partner almost like as a badge of honour. For me, that is just setting up for huge churn, a huge kind of almost resentment for the products. And I think that our very modular use case driven approach is very much to support that mentality.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, it's very similar to how we approach things at HighQ. I mean, HighQ is a platform that is incredibly powerful. It's modular. You've got clients that have got very sophisticated use cases, but you've got clients that are just using it for file sharing. I think it's one of the key lessons that I learned, which is recognize where someone is in their journey before you talk to them because you might be very excited about this new functionality or this particular module. Or you might really want to tell them about what this other client's doing that's amazing. But if that doesn't relate to the immediate problem they've got then actually even though you've got a great product, you could really turn them off. So, yeah, again, that kind of incremental approach of saying, "Where are you in your journey? What immediate value can I deliver value now? And not over complicating it, and also having a model that allows you to deliver that value without bringing in all the other bells and whistles is so important.

Tom Dunlop:

Oh, I'm sorry.

Rob MacAdam:

No, no, go ahead. Go ahead. Sorry.

Tom Dunlop:

Well, I was going to say, I mean, the way you've described it is exactly the way that we approach and we think that generally speaking, that's about how customers like to approach it, which is because they're at different stages of maturity in terms of tech adoption, or even technology. We have the fancy stuff. We have the chatbot in Teams. We have a mobile phone app. We have this stuff that really we could wow people within a demo, but reality is when we onboard, or when we talk to customers about how they should use the products, we would never mention them if we think realistically this is six months away.

We'd love to get you here. But actually, to start with let's just make Microsoft Word that a bit better. And then we'll show you the web application. And then from there, you might send someone a shareable link. And then from that, actually, they're used to the UI. So actually, the mobile phone app makes sense at that point. But prior to that, you've just done this huge change management project, and change of behaviour that is only probably going to fail. So yes, it very much resonates.

Rob MacAdam:

I mean, but as a vendor, then how do you on the onboarding process, I guess, you can reduce friction to buy, but then you want when a client's onboard they need to see the value. And one of the ways to do that is obviously to focus on their key use case. But as a vendor, I mean, how would you support post-sale clients to see the value from their tool?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, it is down to the use case we have... What we've got rather than having a very standardized you will get... We did do this to start with. So it's something we've learned. Again, a big learning point from our development was very much we started with a two-hour onboarding, or whatever it might be. We have certain onboarding sessions. And then we're very much like, "Here's this, here's this, here's this feature." And now we have different measures of success, basically. So we have a few different use cases. You prioritize the use cases, and then you have a clear measurement of success.

So, if you're using us as a bit of a lightweight contract management. Well, our measure of success is that you've at least got 50 contracts in the system. You've maybe got at least 10 dates in the calendar that have been populated. You've got your folder structure sorted, and the dashboards are working the way you want them, and you're set up. You know how to use the system. Whereas, if you're using us for that high volume, low-value type contract. Well, in that case, it's more about the journey of being able to upload instant summary export. That's what we need to get you to do.

So, the customer success and the onboarding that we do isn't generic. It is very much... And it's not time-limited to an extent. Obviously, you've got to be careful how much time you spend on it, but we've managed to get it down hopefully to quite a consultative way of saying, "We know this is the use case. This is the bits of the product you need. Let's get you up and running so that we've got a measurement of success for your use case." And then we'll look at other use cases later. So, that's how we approach it from, I guess that customer success respect.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I mean, the best... Well, the best tech companies or the best legal tech companies are the ones that have those types of customer success teams, or at least that approach to customer success that is very tailored, very empathetic, very hands-on and consultative. It makes an incredible difference having a good customer success function for both your success as a vendor, but also your customer success. And that's the way you see. I always see the role of customer success is about doing something, but doing it in a way that is going to drive success for the business, but also for your clients as well.

Tom Dunlop:

That's the kind of US, UK mentality as well. I think it plays into that. I think customer success is if not the most, and I think HubSpot have come out with some great stats about their journey on customer success and how they believe it's the fundamentally most important part of their team. And I think, in the UK mentality I bet if you said that to a number of UK lawyers or people generally in business, they think of it as customer service. They think of it as, well, this is someone that's on the end of the phone if you have a book, and the different mindsets about what that role should be doing is polar opposite from the UK to the US in my experience of working across both. It needs to play a much more prominent role, personally.

Rob MacAdam:

No, I agree, and you're right that it's a role that is neither a customer support nor account management. It's something entirely different. It's its own discipline. But I've seen that team operates. I've worked within those types of customer success teams in the past as well. And the hedge is worth their weight in gold. And you just foster such client loyalty and build some really top quality relationships because you become more trusted by your customers who actually think these guys are here to help me. They're not just trying to upsell me or sell me new stuff. They're actually here to try and help me succeed. That makes a huge difference.

Awesome. Okay, so I mean, we've spoken a bit about this earlier on, but I'd want to come on to this future of legal tech after the pandemic. You started discussing it earlier about this move away, I guess, from these single one-stop-shop large platforms that try and do everything. And that actually, we might be moving into a world that's slightly different. We're all using collaboration tools like Teams or Slack. We're communicating over new methods. We're a remote-first workforce. And so, people's productivity stack has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. I mean, what impact do you think that's going to have for legal tech vendors and their approach to building and selling products?

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think... I mean, it's been a really interesting 12 months. I think it's 100% shaped our vision as a product. I mean, this was a big turning point personally for the company was for about nine months ago very much when the first lockdown was, I guess, opening up again. We were going to do the whole redline process, whole negotiation process in platform. That was all the plan. We'll design some dev, we're ready to go. And then it was a conversation between us that we were like, "Microsoft Office, Microsoft Teams and Office 365, they're really onto something. They've cracked this whole virtual office, like everything in one place. Why are we trying to take people away from that?" So, I think we did our Microsoft Word add-in for that reason, and it completely changed and pivoted a bit of the way that we felt the product should work.

And so, I think what's interesting is while we speak to the vendors and the more established I guess, bigger, whether we got management companies or these bigger systems. You are finding themselves, they're starting to almost deconstruct their core platform to be interoperable with these other systems, which is a big problem. It's not easy to do. So I think the ones... I mean, in person when you see these other things like the examples are like Calendly and Grammarly and these tools that you think, "Well, actually, it's just a calendar. It's a spell check." But the way that they've done the products and the way that they're just everywhere that you need them to be. I don't mean that as an app. They're in Chrome. They're in your email, your Outlook. They're in whatever Microsoft Office, whatever office applications you use. They just follow you.

I suppose, and I think legal tech, and certainly the way that we see the future, and we're making that bet is very much on the we want to follow those users to where the technology is going. If you look further afield. I mean, I alluded to it earlier, but you look at the voice technologies of the Alexas, the Siris, that Q&A lead conversational style AI as part of... It's amazing how quickly that has become part of our day to day life without almost realizing it. And even Slack and Teams, the reason they're very popular in my view is that they have almost brought that type of conversational approach to the more formal business communications.

And so, if you can magnify that out to where legal tech can go, and where our vision is, it's like you'll be sat there on Teams, or you'll go to Alexa and say, "Alexa, how many of my contracts are going to renew in the next three months?" And it will give you the answer. That kind of Q&A very conversational approach into the front door to your contracts will be through the business communication systems. And that's very much what I see the future of legal tech as.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, no, I think we're going to see that approach 100%. I guess you've seen so many vendors trying to build those all-encompassing platforms. But in the background, you've had Teams and Microsoft, and I guess the Google suite slowly but surely build and build, see more and more adoption. I think it was just last week that Teams announced that they were going to enable collaboration externally. So you could work within Teams within your organization, but start to work across Teams channels with external organizations. That makes that ecosystem even larger. And it's got to the point now where you just think, "Why fight it?" If that's where people want to work, let them work there.

The way I see it is very similar to I guess, you mentioned the consumer point earlier. If you pick up your iPhone, and I had it recently with our girls and homeschooling. They were doing work that I needed to submit into I think Google Classroom. So I was using a scanning, my scanning app. I could plug in the Google accounts into that so that it seamlessly worked that I could get the work, scan it in, upload it to Google, then transfer it across Google Classroom. It's all about just plugging in the apps. And I do the same thing with things like when I'm working I send things into Notion. It's another app I do, and it's all there.

I think that's just where we're going to move to with legal tech, which is you'll be working in Teams, and you'll say, "Right, I need to pop something into this data room." Or I actually need to automate this document, or I need to... Someone's just shared something with me that I just want to get a quick summary in Summize, for example. And it's just there at your fingertips where you need it without saying, "Right, what's my login details to this big platform that I need to go and log into and then find?" I guess it does raise challenges for vendors as well who have got these platforms. Maybe they need to start to break them down in a way and deconstruct them and start to... Those that haven't taken an API first as well need to start thinking about that to get themselves set up for this new approach to the delivery of technology tools, I think.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. I think there's both from platforms that are aimed at the more in-house teams, but also, I mean, I think it's more just a way of working as well. I think you're already seeing it but from a private practice law firm perspective. The ones, I mean, I've seen some very forward-thinking firms. We work with a few that they only work with clients on their communication channel of choice. They'll only work with Teams and Slack and they won't try and bring you somewhere else into the platform. They will... And actually, a lot of clients are demanding it now know. If they're doing any sort of tender exercise it's a condition that you as our advisors come to where we work.

So, I think there's how tech vendors integrate with those products. But there's also just behavioural changes about how legal interact with both clients and the business is also going to change. So, I think there's a lot of change, basically, and a lot of different... People will approach it in different ways. And also people will potentially disagree with obviously that vision we're portraying, but I think certainly from our point of view that's a big focus for Summize is to be that provider that can enable that.

Rob MacAdam:

Just on that topic, I guess, back onto Summize specifically, and as we just wrap up this episode, but what does the next 12 months look like for Summize? What are the key milestones? What are you looking forward to?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, I guess there's a lot of things. It's a lot about scale. It's a lot about we've got to a point where we've got a very good product. We've got a very relevant product, and we are finding traction in, obviously the UK market. But also it's been very well received in Australia and the US. We want to prove that out, scale that up and really get some great proof points in those countries. And we'd love to be opening up an office in the US in Q1 of next year. And then I think alongside that we're really keen to explore different scalable models. We're working with some great law firms that are essentially where we'd be white labelling their products or using Summize as a way to enable businesses to be self-help.

So they're using our product to say, "Well, look, if you're reviewing these contracts rather than not come to us as a law firm, here's a self-help product that you can get instant summaries." It's branded as their own. And then it means to become a bit sticky with the clients, to become a bit more of a partner with them. And just prior that day to day help. So there's a few models like that in terms of what we call our partner program. But in terms of, I guess, scaling Summize through whether it be our law firm clients or business users through the in-house teams really getting Summize out there through our core legal users. It's definitely something want to scale up as well over the next 12 months.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, I know. A few other vendors are actually looking at similar approaches. No, I mean, this has been really interesting. I think the way you guys have approached things, I guess, partly driven obviously by your mentality that comes from your background in sport, but just how you've approached things and keeping things very simple and thinking very carefully about things from the perspective of the buyer and the user and trying to reduce that friction, but trying to always focus on that core area of value. I think it's going to stand you in such good stead. I'm just really excited to see where you guys go over the next 12 months and beyond. So, I really appreciate you coming on the podcast, Tom, and talking to us about Summize and your background. It's been fascinating.

Tom Dunlop:

Yeah, no problem. And get that from me, it's good conversation. I think there's a lot of shared vision there as well.

Rob MacAdam:

Yeah, definitely. Very well aligned. Just finally, for anyone who's, I guess, interested in a lot of the topics we've discussed on this or who wants to perhaps reach out or get to know Summize more, how can people connect with you and the company?

Tom Dunlop:

I mean, we are very active on LinkedIn. I mean, that's certainly one of the most active channels we're on. I'll be on there. We've got a page, a Summize page on LinkedIn. I mean, similarly as well I think we've got quite a public email address in many ways with [email protected] It rhymes as well. So yeah, either of those, but LinkedIn is certainly our probably primary platform that we push content to.

Rob MacAdam:

Brilliant. Well, like I said, I really appreciate you coming on. It's been a great episode. And for everyone listening, the next episode of the Legaltech Arcade Podcast will be out very soon. But Thanks, Tom. That was great.

Tom Dunlop:

Thanks, Rob.

Rob MacAdam:

That's it for this week's episode of the Legaltech Arcade Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please go ahead and subscribe. Thanks for listening and see you next time.

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