Jul 20, 2021
Episode 31 of the Legal Tech StartUp Focus Podcast - Interview with Michael Levy, Solutions Architect at Tonkean
In this episode of the Legal Tech StartUp Focus Podcast (www.legaltechstartupfocus.com/podcast), your host, Charlie Uniman, interviews Michael Levy, Solutions Architect at Tonkean (www.tonkean.com). Tonkean describes itself on its website as a set of no-code software tools that enables business people (including, of course, lawyers and allied legal professionals) to “Automate complex business processes, fast.”
Michael begins the podcast by describing how he arrived at Tonkean. Michael’s journey saw him begin his career as a software engineer. From that role Michael moved on to more customer-facing roles, involving product management and software deployment. Michael next spent several years as a member of Google’s legal operations team.
At Google, Michael became a Tonkean customer himself when he became central to the roll-out of Tonkean software to Google’s legal ops team members and others at Google. (At this juncture, Charlie and Michael talk about the increasingly important role that legal operations is coming to play at in-house legal departments worldwide.) Now at Tonkean, Michael helps to bring Tonkean’s process automation software to law firms and in-house legal departments.
Michael next describes just what Tonkean’s software does, with an emphasis (not surprisingly) on how Tonkean’s process automation software applies to work carried out by in-house legal departments and law firms. Essentially, Tonkean’s web-based tools gives non-coders the opportunity to use intuitive drag-and-drop functionality to build workflows. These workflows, in turn, permit data of many different kinds to move among the pieces of software that lawyers and allied legal professionals are already familiar with.
By way of just a couple of examples, legal ops team members, paralegals and lawyers — who, being subject matter experts when it comes to matters like conflict waivers and client intake procedures — can automate (without needing any coding skills) start-to-finish conflict-waiver workflows or client intake workflows. And, as Michael points our later in the podcast, with Tonkean’s not requiring coding and involving only software with which a lawyer and his or her law firm or legal department colleagues are already familiar, there’s little, if any, change management effort necessary to encourage that use.
Charlie asks Michael what it’s like to be marketing and selling to law firms and legal departments out of a company like Tonkean that isn’t devoted exclusively to the legal tech vertical. In answering, Michael notes that Tonkean’s software is aimed at any business person who needs to funnel data through a workflow quickly and efficiently and that the business person in question can certainly be a lawyer. That said, Michael goes on to explain that Tonkean does make a strong effort to be involved with “legal,” including having a membership in CLOC (the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) and having a section dedicated to legal operations in its online learning center.