Nov 13, 2020
This is episode 21 of the Legal Tech StartUp Focus Podcast (www.legaltechstartupfocus.com/podcast) where your host, Charlie Uniman, interviews Giles Thompson, Head of Growth at Avvoka (www.avvoka.com), a startup that automates the contract drafting, analysis, collaboration and management stack.
Giles tells us about the route that he’s taken professionally to being hired at Avvoka. What’s prominent in the telling is Giles’ explanation of how someone like himself, with an educational and professional background in law, came to be hired for a marketing position at a legal tech startup. The key point here is that the founders who hired Giles believed that having someone with a lawyer’s background would best enable Giles to market and sell Avvoka’s solution to lawyers. Why? Because Giles background would enable him to understand the business practices, pain points, incentive structures and, most importantly, the significant tech use-cases that challenge practicing lawyers everyday. Encouraging thoughts for lawyers and law students who are thinking of moving into a marketing or sales role at a legal tech startup.
Charlie and Giles next delve into the feature set and benefits of Avvoka’s software platform. Giles explains how Avvoka goes beyond what’s now considered “table stakes” in contract drafting automation (e.g., templating features and the like). Avvoka takes this “step beyond” by making its software intuitive enough to put the automation right into the lawyers’ hands themselves, all without sacrificing the power and sophistication of the automation processes themselves. Further, as Giles also points out, Avvoka not only provides an end-to-end automation solution that encompasses drafting, negotiation and collaboration , it also offers contact analytics tools that can tell a law firm or legal department much about the negotiation process itself (to take just a couple of examples, the analytics can inform users (i) just what clauses are most often negotiated and how a particular clause’s negotiation has gone and (ii) just who are the law firm’s or legal department’s most effective and efficient negotiators). As Giles notes further, with analytics like this in hand, lawyers using Avvoka can not only increase the likelihood of winning better terms in negotiations, but can also arrive at a successful end to those negotiations more quickly.
Giles closes the podcast with a discussion of how Avvoka encourages adoption and use of its software once it has signed up a new customer. One important element in encouraging adoption and use is being sensitive to each customer’s unique needs. Giles offers the example of understanding how a law firm’s use of standard form contract preparation as a business development tool differs from an in-house legal departments need for contract standardization as part of that department’s risk reduction strategy. Giles also tells us how, with its emphasis on ease-of-use and fast and effective training and its creation of both the Avvoka Academy (where anyone can sign up to attend a free training session) and a 14-day free trial program, Avvoka is enjoying marketing success.