P2P

Summer20211

Peer to Peer: ILTA's Quarterly Magazine

Issue link: http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1388375

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48 P E E R T O P E E R : I L T A ' S Q U A R T E R L Y M A G A Z I N E | S U M M E R 2 0 2 1 E X T R A S Legal Tech Startups: The Rewards of Being a Super-Early Adopter by Evan Shenkman L egal technology startups have been at the forefront of some extraordinary innovations as of late – especially those in the A.I. and data analytics space. For those of us in law firm leadership roles, each new day seems to bring at least one LinkedIn invite or cold call from a legal tech startup offering a demo. Truth be told, and despite the time commitment, I tend to engage far more than I decline. Why? Because with the right startups, the rewards of being a Super-Early Adopter are plentiful. I've been privileged to have enjoyed the benefits of Super-Early Adopter status with a roster of now-well-known legal tech companies, including Casetext, LegalMation, Manzama, and Blue J Legal. The rewards of forging those relationships early on far surpassed the risk and price of admission, providing exclusive benefits to my firms, to their clients, and to me personally. Here's why: Exclusivity Exclusivity agreements – preventing the start-up from working with a Super-Early Adopter's direct competitors for a set period – are an increasingly common benefit of Super-Early Adopter status. I have seen these range from one to two years depending on law firm and vendor, and with especially impressive legal tech, exclusivity can provide an invaluable differentiator between firms and their competitors for a period of time. Customization of the Tool in Your Favor It's often a fool's errand to ask a seasoned legal tech or research vendor to change their entire user experience and user interface to comport with the customized needs and preferences of a single customer. Not so when you are a Super-Early Adopter. This status often ensures a direct line of communication with the vendor's senior leadership, developers, coders, and designers, and they tend to be thrilled to receive your input, and promptly oblige. And by guiding and customizing the tool, it will become a far more valuable resource for meeting your firm's needs, and far less likely to become shelfware.

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