We have a number of repeat guests on the show this week, but all with new stories to tell since their last appearance. 
Nikki Shaver and Jeroen Plink have joined forces to launch Legaltech Hub. Their mission is to provide a single place for those of us looking at legal technology so that we can have a clear picture of who are the players in legaltech solutions. We talk about how the two began their collaboration efforts to expand upon Nikki Shaver’s original idea for Legaltech Hub and launch it as a startup business. 
For those of us in the legal industry, whether it is a practicing lawyer, knowledge management, IT, library professional or other allied professionals, we all understand that when it comes to evaluating technology in the legal industry, it can be overwhelming. Jeroen and Nikki discuss how they set up the structure of Legaltech Hub, and who are the intended, and even the aspirational users of this system.
We also discuss the competitors in the industry and how they believe Legaltech Hub distinguishes itself from the pack.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts |  Spotify LogoSpotify
A quick shoutout to our friend Chevazz Brown for the resent launch of his DiversePro mobile app. 
Crystal Ball Question
This week’s LegalTech Crystal Ball question is answered by another TGIR Alumni, Sameena Kluck. Sameena sees an improvement in personal branding and authenticity in the legal profession.
Alumni Episodes:
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Marlene Gebauer 0:16
Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert 0:22
And I’m Greg Lambert.

Marlene Gebauer 0:24
We bring back a couple of repeat guests this week who are now collaborating in a new adventure. Nikki shaver and Jeroen plink, talk with us about legal tech hub and what inspired them to launch this legal tech product which helps the legal tech community find other legal tech products.

Greg Lambert 0:39
That’s a lot of legal tech. So a lot of legal tech

Marlene Gebauer 0:41
in one in one sense.

Greg Lambert 0:42
Well, the legal tech hubs, I mean, it’s a great idea for those of us who have ever been tasked with finding out what players there are in the market when it comes to legal tech products. So oh my god, yeah, we’ve all felt that pain. So Nikki and Juran point out that the process typically results in either that we are completely overwhelmed with trying to identify those products, or, and I would never claim that I’ve done this, but you just go in and pick the two that we know. And then we hope that one of those two works out. So it’s a it’s a great conversation. And we absolutely love having guests come back and catch up with with us on what’s happening with them now.

Marlene Gebauer 1:24
Oh, Greg, hey, I know we’re not doing any information inspirations this week. But we wanted to give a shout out to Chevazz Brown for launching the DiversePro mobile app. She first went on the podcast over a year ago discussing the diverse pro website. The site is a directory of diverse attorneys covering a variety of practices. And now there’s a mobile app to make it easier for everyone to find a legal representative.

Greg Lambert 1:48
Yeah, you know, I don’t know if you know this, but I got to go to the launch party.

Marlene Gebauer 1:52
Yeah, I know, you got to how many times you’re gonna tell me. That’s like, you’re so cool. Cool. You are so cool. I do wish I could have been there. But you know, Mom duty calls, always calls.

Greg Lambert 2:05
So Chevazz was extremely excited about the launch. And the place that they had was was absolutely just a fantastic location at Hermann Park here in Houston. And it was a great event, I got to run into so many friends and colleagues that were there to support him. And I’ll go ahead and make sure that we put a link in the show notes and gotten downloaded. It’s it’s for everyone. And again, congrats to Chevazz.

Marlene Gebauer 2:33
I am not envious at all. No, not even just a little bit, not even just a little bit. All right. Speaking of coming back, our legal week, crystal ball response this week is also a former guest, Sameena Kluck, stepped up to the microphone in New York to tell us what she sees in the future of the legal industry.

Sameena Kluck 2:56
So hi, I’m Sameena Kluck, I’m the CEO and co founder of amplify your voice. And super excited to be sitting down with you all today. The thing I think we’re really going to see just exploding in the legal industry in the next two to five years, is really around talent, and around personal branding and authenticity. And what I mean by that, you know, of course my company, I help attorneys, law firms, legal tech founders, whoever kind of find their brand, hone it, and then share it through social media, networking, that type of thing. But I think during this pandemic, when we were all stuck in our, you know, four walls, with coworkers, we never asked to share space with IE, our children, our partners and our pets. We kind of realized, well, we’re just we’re all doing this work, and we’ve distracted ourselves with other things. But now that it’s all stripped bare, are we really doing what brings us joy? Are we really feeling like we’re authentically seen by our colleagues, our coworkers, our clients, our leaders? And is this Are we making the impact and purpose on society that we want? And so I think that’s why we’ve seen so many people leaving their roles to do other things. And I think law firms are suddenly realizing, Hey, are we investing in these people? In the same way, they’re investing their time and energy in us? Because the traditional law firm model was certainly very different. Right? You came in you were homegrown from summer associate on and you had a path to partnership. And that path is just stretched, and it ends for a lot of people. And so I think firms are going to have to find another way to invest in their people besides throwing six figure sums and associates to stick around and start realizing we’ve got to invest in people in skills to help them build that up, but also in ways to make sure you know, we’ve brought underrepresented groups of attorneys into our firms and huge numbers I think now said the summer associate class last year was the most diverse ever, but we’re not retaining them. long enough to get into leadership. And so how can we encourage people to not just feel like they’re welcome here, but that they belong? And they can be authentically seen? And that’s okay. Right. So

Marlene Gebauer 5:12
what are some things that you’re seeing to sort of make that happen?

Sameena Kluck 5:16
Right? So you know, I’m working with a firm, in England in the Channel Islands, who’s really devoting a lot of time to individual coaching on personal branding with their attorneys, and helping them understand, hey, being an excellent antitrust lawyer is not a personal brand, right, and encouraging them to share more of themselves, helping them understand their brand and the value that them sharing about themselves brings to the organization but also to themselves, right, and helping people find different places, if what they’re doing is not exactly what’s sparking their joy and making them get out of bed on Monday morning, happily and not grumbling. I think we’re also seeing in a big way, for the first time, the legal industry, focusing on people management skills, you know, people have been promoted because of their competencies or technical legal expertise. We don’t get management training in law school, we don’t get sales or business development training. And so I think firms that are investing in coaching, and really helping people, you know, partners and practice group leaders understand how to invest in their talent and bring the best out of them are, you know, some of the ones that are going to find themselves far ahead. And a place where people want to work, this whole idea that firm culture is being hurt by remote work isn’t necessarily, you know, I think it’s kind of bunk. I don’t think that proximity equals culture. I think actually talking to your people investing in them, giving them feedback is really something that’s how you invest in people and make them feel like they belong and they can see and be seen authentically.

Marlene Gebauer 6:57
Well, thank you. So Mina, thank you. You know, Samina helped us quite a bit and grabbing people in the hallways there at legal week to come tell us what they see in their crystal ball. So we wanted to make sure she had her turn at the mic as well.

Greg Lambert 7:13
Yeah. So thanks again to Samina for stepping up to that mic. Yes. Well, this week’s guests are here to catch us up on their new startup legal tech hub. For those of us in km or it or library or any other department in the legal industry where we had to keep up with products that are out there on the market. This is going to be an especially interesting conversation that you’re going to want to listen to and share with your colleagues.

Marlene Gebauer 7:39
We’d like to welcome Nikki Shaver, CEO and co founder of legal tech hub, along with Jeroen Plink COO and the other co founder of legal tech hub to The Geek in Review, Nikki and Jeroen, good to have you both on the show.

Jeroen Plink 7:51
Great to be here.

Nikki Shaver 7:52
Thank you so much for having us.

Greg Lambert 7:54
So both of you have been on the show before we were talking before before we started recording. Nikki, you’re actually on in the pre pandemic, period and Jeroen you were on almost exactly a year ago. So but you both had different careers. And so you both decided to launch legal technology hub or or maybe relaunch it might be a little bit more accurate. Nikki, let’s start with you on this one, what stirred your passion to create and expand legal tech hub.

Nikki Shaver 8:28
So I, as I think most of your listeners will know, I’m pretty passionate about legal tech and legal innovation. And one of the things that I had to do and my job at Paul Hastings and previously at Stikeman Elliott leading teams of legal innovation, and looking for legal technology solutions is try to find what the solutions were in the market. There are all kinds of reasons why within a law firm, you have to go looking for a solution. Sometimes it’s because you’re looking to solve a particular problem internally or address a use case. Other Other times it’s because a lawyer comes to you and they ask you about a specific solution or how something works. And even if you read voraciously all of the blogs and the news out there, it’s a lot to keep track of. And what I found is that there just really wasn’t a place where you could go and easily find the solutions within a category or even find a particular solution. Even if you had the name of it. Sometimes those solutions have funny names or they’re spelt unusually. And Google was just really imperfect for that kind of thing. I also started speaking to a lot of people internationally who had to find solutions that worked in a lot of different languages or that serve different jurisdictions and that I found was even more difficult for them. So in 2019, my husband Chris Ford, who is also in legal tech. He’s in marketing, and I were talking about this and we decided, well, why don’t we build something And that is effectively like an enterprise search for legal technology. And that was right up my alley, because obviously, part of my role was knowledge management, I had worked with enterprise search systems. And so we spent about 10 months in 2020, doing a lot of research to put together a very comprehensive directory. And we launched that in October 2020. But when we launched, Greg, I always thought this could be something more when we did launch, it was a free resource for the community really. And obviously, both of us had significant day jobs. So we didn’t have the wherewithal to build it out. More broadly than that. But there was always the thought in the back of my mind that this could be more that we could add to it, that it could be a content platform that there could be guidance. But it really didn’t take shape in my mind, until I spoke to Jeroen last year who I had known from within the industry, and found that we both had similar ideas about how how this could expand. And that’s really what took us on the journey to where we are today.

Marlene Gebauer 11:07
You’re on we had you on about this time last year, when you were closing one chapter of your career, and we’re looking toward what was next? How did you land on this specific business partnership with Nikki?

Jeroen Plink 11:19
Yeah, first of all, thank you again, for for having me on the show, again. Always fun talking to the two of you. So last year, I just finished two and a half year, stay at different challenges was fantastic. And it taught me a bunch of different things that I hadn’t been exposed to. So in my 22 years of being active in the Alltech, I’ve mostly been in, in the selling side selling stuff to law firms and in house legal departments. I was there for a chance I first saw for the first time what it was like from a buying perspective, maybe realize that the fact that if I had something to sell did not mean that that aligned with the buying behavior or desire of a law firm, which was shockingly new to me. The reason I came to this is I’d had this idea for for a while. And I think we could Nikki and I complement each other quite well, because we come at it from two different angles. Nikki comes at this from a buyer perspective, I come at it from the vendor perspective where Nikki finds it hard to find and select solutions. I found it hard as a vendor to be found. How do you stand out if you sell something of which there are 10, or in some cases 200 different vendors trying to sell something similar. And so I felt the need for for something to support the vendors in, in selling to law firms and in house departments. And so when when someone made the reintroduction to Nikki, rather than start something myself, I thought, well, let’s leverage the fantastic thing that Nikki and Chris had built during COVID. Work on that as the basis and build it out. So we started with the directory, we did a relaunch two weeks ago, in late March, we’re excited about the disk phase of the product. And we’re looking forward to our next phase which is going to be in the summer where so now we’re we’re very much a directory just for legal tech solutions, a bit like G two or Capterra, which are industry wide, or industry independent directories. We are building that just for Neil. In our next phase, what we’re working towards is building Gardner types of content for legal tech. So deep insights into all of our hundreds of 50 different topics. And we’re very excited about both these opportunities.

Greg Lambert 14:33
That is quite a mission statement that you have there. So So Nikki, I’ll start with you and you’re on I’m sure you can add to this. I went to one of those. A tech presentations for startups where there was a panel is almost like a shark tank. Question. So I’m going to hit you with the with the Shark Tank question and that is what problem are you trying to solve with LegalTech A cup.

Nikki Shaver 15:00
So I think I mean, in some ways, we’ve already set it out the directory side of things, solves two problems, it solves the problems of buyers who find it difficult to really wrap their arms around what the market looks like. And to find transparency in the market, that in a market that can be quite murky, to really find all of the solutions they should be looking at, when they have to make a purchase decision. on the vendor side, we’re solving their problem of getting visibility in front of the right buyers. As we move into the next phase of the project, which is our premium content side, the way I like to talk about that is bringing transparency to procurement of legal technology. So helping people navigate that process with guides and how to use an actual tools that just aren’t available in the market right now.

Greg Lambert 15:59
Jeroen you got anything to add to that.

Jeroen Plink 16:02
Now, Nikki is usually way more eloquent than I am. And I’m used to actually sitting in be judged on on the Shark Tank. You think

Greg Lambert 16:16
the judge hears a shark?

Jeroen Plink 16:21
Usually I prefer that that model. But I think that that’s that’s a fair way to describe it.

Marlene Gebauer 16:28
Yeah. So I mean, I liked I liked this transparency idea. So I mean, let’s sort of move to the elevator pitch when you have to give that on what legal tech hub is, you know, how do you hook people? And you know, by people, I mean, vendors and potential investors, you know, how do you hook them on to this idea? Or is it something that they just latch on to really easily?

Jeroen Plink 16:49
I think they’d like to latch on to it quite easily because people feel the pain, the pain for viruses, is quite wide is where do you start? What do you? What’s the start of your journey? How do you start on digital transformation? How do you how do you start to select them? What what makes you ready for a CLM? System? Contract Lifecycle Management System? And that’s that, that’s very clear pay from a buyer’s perspective, the pain is real. Oh, yes, it’s so much.

Greg Lambert 17:28
I think we both can verify.

Marlene Gebauer 17:29
Yeah, we can. I know, that 200 vendor reference before was like no joke. And you know, what you’re saying is like, when when firms are ready for that type of innovation, like, Okay, let’s go and, you know, they want an answer right away as to which products are going to be the right ones. And there’s nothing to help on that.

Jeroen Plink 17:49
Yeah, I just spoke to the General Counsel, or the chief legal ops version of a large company. And they admitted to having evaluated 23 Contract Lifecycle Management Systems, the immense cost that comes with is, it’s just unbearable, and very few companies do that. So I think from a buying perspective, the pain is very, very real. The other developer, I spoke to someone who just replaced a major system for the firm, de evaluated two products. And I asked about three or four other products. And it turns out that they weren’t aware of half of those auto products. And South by Coleman was so you just made a buying decision for the firm to ties the firm into a new system, or an imperfect view of the market. And I think that’s that’s what draws people from a buying perspective to it. And then there’s, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get into a into a law firm where central purchasing gives no, no and often for valid reasons, because they’re just implementing a different document management system, and they simply have no more capacity for the system you’re trying to sell to them. And then you go behind the backs of central purchasing, and you start approaching partners, which is the most frustrating thing for anyone involved because partners hate to be approached by vendors. People in central buying positions hated even more because oftentimes when a vendor convinces a partner, that their tool is the best tool for the firm. The partner doesn’t approach is the person is central buying and and often this person in central buying doesn’t have the ability to say no, and so you’ve got a bunch of unhappy people trying to implement stuff. So from a vendor’s perspective, selling to law firms and in house departments is really problematic. And there’s nothing more frustrating than being one on a panel of 23 systems being evaluated by a law. So we need to find a way to cut through that sorry, that’s not an elevator pitch.

Greg Lambert 20:25
Luckily, we’re on the 83rd floor.

Nikki Shaver 20:30
And if I could just add as well to what Iran has said, if you look at the large law firms, from the buying perspective, a lot of them have people whose job it is to evaluate the market and to do this kind of work. But if you go to mid sized firms or even, you know, amlaw, 200, firms, you’re reaching firms where they don’t have those resources, and they need the guidance. The other thing is when we start with the premium type content, Marlene and Greg, both of you come from the km side, do you understand the value of precedents, it doesn’t make sense for us to say to lawyers, you shouldn’t be drafting contracts from scratch. But then every time we run an RFP, or we need to draft requirements to look at a new category of legal technology, we do that from scratch. So we’re looking to provide that type of content and value to the market as well.

Greg Lambert 21:25
Yeah, that’s a that’s a good approach on that. So who are going to be your core customers for legal tech hub? And then once you’ve got everything kind of up and running, and you have your Gartner like, evaluations going on there? Are there any aspirational customers out there that you think you may be able to pull in who may not be the core customers now that may benefit later?

Jeroen Plink 21:50
Yes, I think the core customer question is quite straightforward. It’s the law firms and the in house departments seeking information on products. The the other part of the equation are the vendors who seek exposure and introductions to the to the buyers. But the third, and that’s more aspirational, but I’ve seen it more in the last year. And my period before, for good reasons are the art of financial investors. It’s the VC firms that are new to legal tech. It’s the private equity firms who have stepped into real Tech with with a vengeance. And they too need information about it. I mean, a few years ago, it was all blockchain. That was the hype. Now, it seems like legal tech is the hype for for the PE funds. But they need more information about the markets that are buying into.

Nikki Shaver 22:56
And then what we’ve also seen is that there have been some surprising groups of interested parties. So about a year ago, the University of Oxford approached us from the UK because they were looking for data to support a project they were doing for the UK Government. And so we were able to provide them with data from legal tech hub. So I do think that government bodies, law societies, the ABA, the data we’re gathering may be useful to them over time, I think students are another very significant interested party, we’ve had many students follow legal tech hub, traffic from many different countries, from student bodies, law schools, because it’s educational as well, especially for students who are taking courses where they’re learning for the first time about the fact that technology is likely to be a significant part of their practice in the future. And then, from my perspective, one of the other aspirational groups would be lawyers. So I actually think it’s increasingly valuable for lawyers to just have some insight on what is the variety of legal technology out there? How will it impact their practice? What are the kinds of problems that are being sold by legal technology, and the nice thing about our platform is you can do keyword searches. So you could come to legal tech hub and right, you know, funds management and find out if there’s anything that solves this problem. So if you’re a lawyer and you have a pain point, and you want to know how to address it, this is this is an ideal platform.

Greg Lambert 24:27
Great now I’m going to have more informed attorneys coming to me demanding that we get certain products thanks.

Jeroen Plink 24:35
Yeah, that’s I think that is absolutely critical. For my, my perspective, I found it baffling. There’s still so many lawyers who who’ve been practicing for for the same way in the last 20 years, even though there are some amazing tools out there that can actually make it more efficient. Just one more aspirational aspect is a TJ, who are both extremely passionate about access to justice. For now, the directory is very focused on on a b2b audience. So mostly non consumer side, but we do have in our, in our eyesight, the desire to add access to justice technology, of which there is a growing number of tools on the market.

Marlene Gebauer 25:36
So, I want to switch gears for a second and ask you both. What does it take to step out on your own and start a business? Jeroen, You’ve done this several times. Nikki, is this your first time?

Nikki Shaver 25:49

Marlene Gebauer 25:51
Okay, so that’s, uh, I mean, and that’s, that’s the really interesting juxtaposition, right? Like, I’m curious how it feels. And if the considerations are the same for, you know, someone who’s done this often versus someone who’s more new to entrepreneurship.

Nikki Shaver 26:07
I’m so interested to hear your take on this Jeroen.

Jeroen Plink 26:11
I think it’s fun. It’s fun and it’s shatteringly frustrating? I think it’s both. For me, I’ve done it a few times, a couple of times, I’ve been successful couple of times, I’ve been failed miserably. The fun part is collaborating. And I’ve kept myself very lucky that this time I’ve started with with Nikki, there’s not gonna be a long phrase. No, I’m definitely not a mutual one. But I’m very lucky to work with someone who understands the content of the subject matter as well as Nikki does. And so that’s why there’s one comment. The other thing that is fun is that starting a business is all encompassing. One minute, you’re making sales, the other manager drafting the contracts. The third, you’re dealing with banking issues and security issues. And the next is development of the site and design and the that is invigorating, and sometimes frustrating. Dealing with the the inner workings over company like setting up your Office environment with the technical office environment and making sure that you have a document management system. And that sort of stuff is just painful. I think the tools are so much better than they were 20 years ago. But there’s still a lot of red tape that you have to cut through. And it helps that I’ve done a lot of these things before. But they still are never easy. Every time I hit a snag. I’m thinking, my next business is going to be a company out of the box with terms and conditions and payroll and bank accounts. You just buy a company off the shelf with all the tools that you need. And that’s it.

Marlene Gebauer 28:26
That’s the dream.

Jeroen Plink 28:30
What do you think, Nikki?

Nikki Shaver 28:32
I mean, for me, because it is all brand new. It’s incredibly exciting, and really liberating, because my entire career has been spent with large firms or large organizations, you have this giant safety net around you, which is comforting, but it also means you’re not really stepping out of that of that comfort zone. And I just feel incredibly lucky actually because if it hadn’t been for you rune I don’t know that I would have had the confidence to take that step. Because it is scary. It’s really quite scary as as the sort of end of my time at Paul Hastings was approaching, I had put a date in place. I said to people, it feels a little bit like I’m walking towards a cliff and I know that I’m about to jump off. And it did feel like I was a little bit in freefall. But it also just felt really freeing, because you’re doing something for yourself. You’re building something you truly believe in for the broader industry. One person that I spoke to along the way when I was trying to make a decision about this was Damien Riehl. Actually who works at fastcase. I have to give him credit for this and he talks about thinking about the the time you have on earth as being a finite quantity and where you could bring the most value where you could have the most impact and I thought about that a lot I thought about well within a firm I’m impact Putting people within that one firm and perhaps some of their clients, but it’s, it’s really a minimal impact. Or I could try to do something that I’m excited about and passionate about, where I have this amazing support of you rune and really tried to have a broader impact on the industry. And that felt like an opportunity to good to pass up. And of course, I actually, I don’t have the commercial background, I wouldn’t have had a clue how to set up all of these systems. You rune is incredibly wise when it comes to how to run a business, how to get it off the ground, how to sell how to put these systems in place, he has this expertise that I feel like I’m learning from a great mentor actually a lot of the time. So that for me is also terribly exciting. But it is frightening at the same time, no doubt.

Jeroen Plink 30:57
But we also complement each other in our nerdiness. We do geek out together and we complement each other quite well there.

Greg Lambert 31:11
That’s great. That’s

Marlene Gebauer 31:12
a good business partnership.

Greg Lambert 31:13
Absolutely. So I think a lot of people, when you announce the launching of this, we’re wondering how it compared with some of the things that may have been on the market or things that are there now and how it compares or differs from these products. So you have things set up like a random cord and Lex fusion what they do. I know Bob Ambrogi has launched the law next directory. How is it that you describe this as differentiating from the pack of other products that are out there that people may think do the same thing?

Jeroen Plink 31:53
Yeah. So we do you regret to ask this question or something similar. It’s being asked all the all the time, and it’s it’s actually a good opportunity to dispel some of the the unclarity on. So let’s let’s start with people who have launched similar initiatives. So Bob, Bob is a good example is is probably the primary who the law Max directly, let’s first of all, make it very clear that both of us love and respect Bob very much. The he has used tremendous force in the industry. I think, out of the three you mentioned, he is the closest to doing something similar. We were talking to Bob when he announced or, or when it became clear that he was going to launch this. Bob Bob, we respect him. We wish him all the best. It’s good to have competition. He has a tremendous audience. We wish you all the best on rain court and like fusion and distinguish yourself from the pack. The answer is quite simple. We’re in a different pack. Rain, of course, helps organizations or companies that have cloud solutions, sell to law firms and in house deal apartments. We’re helping them understand what’s in the markets, which is completely different. And again, we’re also different from next fusion let fusion in each category represents one company. So they represent add to loft as a as a CLM. Company. And case tax as a as the legal research company. That’s great. We represent we give the view of the entire market. So we don’t want to be have agile off. That’s one of our enhanced profiles vendors. But we also have serial labs and a bunch of others. So we’re much wider and broader than next fusion

Greg Lambert 34:17
when it when it comes to them, say the metadata, how you categorize the different products in group them together. Is that something that you make that determination on or do the vendors make that determination? So this

Nikki Shaver 34:32
is, from my perspective, our very significant differentiator in the market from all of the directories that are out there. Because of my background in km, even with the first iteration of legal tech hub, it was set up to operate like an enterprise search for legal technology. What that means is we were very deliberate about the taxonomies we developed. We developed them with a beta group of people in the industry across the whole world to make sure that it really resonated with a way that buyers looked for technology and the way that they wanted to be able to filter search browse, and we built the directory accordingly. We’ve maintained that great discipline around the taxonomies. But also, when it comes to curation and the data, we apply the tags in the back end, we encourage the vendors to provide us with the information about their solutions, but we apply our concern our taxonomy consistently and deliberately. So we assess whether something actually falls within, say, practice management or matter management or case management, we have strict definitions of scope for each of our categories. And we’re the ones who determine where our solution sits. And I think that’s very important, both for the vendors actually, as well as for the buyers. From the buyer perspective, it’s important, because if you do a search for due diligence on legal tech hub, you only get solutions that actually support the due diligence process. That’s what you expect to see as a buyer. And that’s what you get from the vendor perspective, it helps because you actually don’t, you may think that you want to be in as many categories as possible, it actually doesn’t make you look great if you’re showing up in a lot of categories, and you don’t have a solution to address that particular use case. So from our perspective, that’s the key differentiator. And really, one of the key values of the directory is that we maintain it with great integrity and will continue to do so.

Marlene Gebauer 36:33
You know, and it’s something that could become an industry standard.

Nikki Shaver 36:36
That’s exactly right. And we are we’re talking with Damien about Sally. And it’s it’s something that we’re really thinking about as we as we develop because something we’ve heard from many people in the market, since we’ve launched 2.0 is how difficult it is to define categories. And the fact that the names of categories change. Even from a marketing perspective, sometimes people think it’s a good idea to develop a new name for a completely new category that hasn’t existed before, because then there’ll be the only solution within that category. But it actually, it makes everything Messier rather than cleaner. So the idea is to bring some consistency and some clarity to that for for everyone in the market. And I think standardization is where we’re seeing the market go in many different areas. And this is no different to that. Well,

Marlene Gebauer 37:30
amen to that.

Jeroen Plink 37:32
Yeah, I completely concur with that, even though my commercial approach would be to try to sell everything to have to add to anyone. I’ve got Nikki who keeps me honest. And I do agree with the fact that it doesn’t benefit anyone, for people or for companies to show up in the wrong category. I think the most concrete example is most Contract Lifecycle Management Systems have a signature functionality in it that doesn’t give them the right to appear in the category E signature software and you wouldn’t expect an entire lifecycle CLM system in in E signatures as a as an option because you would never buy a system like I serve this or Syrian labs or agile off just for its e signature capability. You bind us for very different reasons.

Marlene Gebauer 38:35
It seems we had a cycle of really good startups happen you know a while back so PLC Ravel Lex machina case Tex Kira, and you know, to name a few of them. But But recently, we’ve seen a lot more purchases and mergers. And you know, we’ve also seen a lot of investment in legal tech. You know, why is that? And what trends do you think we will be seeing moving forward?

Jeroen Plink 39:01
It’s funny you say that actually, we haven’t discussed this before. But from my perspective, I actually seen a lot of very cool startups appear on the on the market. And there’s there’s companies that work on applications in workforce, or work allocation. There’s a company out of out of England, recent startup that tackles this very important problem. And it’s tackling a problem that deals with the war on talent it deals with diversity deals with keeping your employees happy. So that’s an example of a new category that has sprung up. I think there’s quite a few new applications starting There are a new startups that are still somewhat under the radar. I think the PLCs, raffles, Lexmark and as in case, they are the ones that survived that at the time. We started with PLC in the US, and we weren’t a real start up. But there are a bunch of other companies that didn’t make it. I think we’re not do too much similarity. I think that the the acquisitions and mergers are happening because there’s a whole generation of companies that have now become mature and are ready for for the next level. And then the final thing is, investments. I think there’s so much there’s so much money in the markets that whether it’s legal tech or FinTech, or clean tech, dairy is a search for good assets to do throw money at. And legal tech is not that different from any other industry. The investment, if you’re if you’re a startup, getting money, right now, now’s a good time to raise

Nikki Shaver 41:17
Marlene, I find your question interesting, because I’ve spoken to others who have a similar view. And I think part of it is that for some reason, the journalism in the market has shifted gears. The focus now seems to be on large acquisitions and large funding rather than on smaller startups. And we hear about startups all the time, but they seem not to be getting as much press. I also think that what is happening in the market, too, is a lot of the existing solutions or vendors are coming up with new, really cool technology or iterations of their technology. But again, that’s not getting much coverage in the market. So just I wonder whether it’s really that there’s not as much of that kind of thing happening or whether it’s that there’s a perception that things different things are now interesting to people. I personally would rather hear about the startups. But that just might be my geekiness there

Marlene Gebauer 42:20
that that we’re just not getting exposed to it, I guess the way that we were at one time.

Greg Lambert 42:25
Yeah. And I also wonder if there’s fewer bloggers out there right now than there were 10 years ago, there was there was a boatload of bloggers that talked about legal tech in 2012. That I think some of them three geeks, maybe being one of them that have shifted gears. So maybe that’s maybe it’s time to bring in the the younger bloggers that deal with startups.

Nikki Shaver 42:53
It’s a really good point. Ron Friedman is another one who doesn’t blog anymore in the way that he used to. And he was a great source for that kind of information.

Jeroen Plink 43:03
He’s a great, he’s great to Twitter.

Greg Lambert 43:06
Yes, that’s true. Yeah. Just just changed platforms a little bit. All right, well, we’re gonna wrap this up by letting you guys both pull out your crystal balls and taking a peek into the future here. So Nikki, let’s start with you. What do you see in the future, say the next five years or so? Both for legal tech hub? And for legal innovation as a whole? What’s going to be some, some changes that you see,

Nikki Shaver 43:35
legal tech will become the platform? Yes, it will information about procurement in the market that everyone turns do on the buyer side, on the seller side, on the investment side, we will be the platform that people go to to research in the market at large. Look, I think there’s some really interesting things happening as the technology evolves, I think I know of a number of products now that are using computer vision. As part of their technology, I think AI in legal has gotten a bit of a bad rap. And now there’s actually some really advanced AI entering the market. And we’re not yet seeing its potential impact. I think we will see as a result of some of those technology changes, some of the incumbent products fall away and new ones become the kind of hot commodity to have. I think data is going to continue to be a very critical focus for a lot of law firms and also legal departments and a lot of products will be to support those types of projects internally. So those are some of my predictions you run over to you and your crystal ball.

Jeroen Plink 44:52
So I’m I’m a bit more aggressive hold on We will, we will continue to be the platform for to source your vehicle tech solutions, I think we are we are almost almost there. We’ve got some really exciting things in the in the works, we’ll be able to announce, hopefully in the next couple of months, that I’d be pretty confident that by the end of the year, we are the predominant platform for insights on deal tech, innovation and research. As to as far as legal innovation, I think the time has come. I think it’s inevitable for firms and lawyers to make a dramatic change on the way we will work. I think there’s too much client pressure that pushes law firms to change the way they work. Because there’s too much competitive pressure, what used to be your competitors, or what used to not be your competitors are now your competitors. The Big Four are entering the market, the MSPs are doing work or that used to be done by by law firms and law firms are known over doing but who tells me that the hotels that the the ISPs will not go up in in the value chain. I think that the third leg or outside pressure is increasing regulation will have a profound impact on the way we have to practice law. It’s no longer possible to do these large matters without technology. So I don’t think we have a choice. I think probably in the next five years, we’ll see more change than we’ve seen in the last 100 years.

Greg Lambert 47:11
All right, well, Jeroen Plink and Nikki Shaver from a legal tech hub. It’s, and you can find that at legal technology. hub.com Thank you both. It’s great to have you both back on on the show. Thank you.

Jeroen Plink 47:25
Great to be here. Thank you.

Nikki Shaver 47:26
Thank you so much for having us.

Greg Lambert 47:30
Well, it was great to have Nikki and Juran on back on the show. It’s a this is really exciting. You know, when you have people that have a business that they’re starting up, I know, it’s gotta be nerve wracking for them. But at the same time, you know, there’s just an excitement going on there. And so it was it was great to talk to them about legal tech.

Marlene Gebauer 47:50
That’s exactly why I asked the question. I mean, I really wanted to know, you know, what, what, what’s what’s sort of going through your mind? And like, what are you thinking when when you were doing this? And I mean, I loved like the heck are you saying? Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like that. But, you know, like, I love like Nikki’s Nikki’s description of you know, it felt like, you know, I was walking off a cliff. But I knew I was gonna be walking off the cliff, and you know, but it was very liberating and free. So it’s almost like you’re walking off a cliff to go, you know, fly. That’s kind of how I envisioned it.

Greg Lambert 48:19
And I imagine there’s people listening to this, who would love to do a start, you know, to do their own. So I think if, you know, maybe Jeroen, and Nicky will give you a push in the right direction.

Marlene Gebauer 48:35
I say, that’s what you’re thinking is an inspiration for sure. And, you know, but I mean, really what they’re doing, there is a need for this. And and I can’t stress that enough. I mean, there are so many products out there. And I think it’s absolutely spot on that they are marketed different ways. And sometimes ways that are a little confusing. It’s like, you know what I mean, it might do a few things, but what is it really what’s, what’s its core? What does it really do? And when folks are ready to kind of make this jump, you have to jump like they’re expecting like, Okay, what what should we be going with? And, you know, that is something that has traditionally you know, you’ve had to sort of work through that and do the testing, and work with with the people who are going to be using it to come to those solutions. It’s not something that you can answer right away. And this, you know, this really gives you a shortcut to be able to be you know, very well informed about, you know, the tools that are out there and be able to speak about it quickly.

Greg Lambert 49:40
Yep. So, it was again, once again, thanks to Nikki Shaver, and Jeroen Plink for taking the time to talk with us. I’ll put links out on the show notes, but as as one of my other podcasts that I listened to says, If you don’t really take the time to look at the show notes that I spend so much time putting you can go to www dot. What are you doing?

Marlene Gebauer 50:05
Greg close. Greg close all three activity rings just sitting there.

Greg Lambert 50:13
Now I did that earlier. You’re just now oh,

Marlene Gebauer 50:16
I don’t know. I just I guess.

Greg Lambert 50:17
I guess I was moving. I was moving enough to

Marlene Gebauer 50:21
dancing in your chair or something.

Greg Lambert 50:24
Yeah. I talk with my hands? So? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Marlene Gebauer 50:30
We’re not we’re not gonna. Okay,

Greg Lambert 50:31
go ahead. Oh, back to Jeroen. We were on in Nikki, you go to www dot legal technology hub.com And take a look at what they have up there now for legal tech hub. 2.0

Marlene Gebauer 50:45
I thought we’re gonna talk about regulations and stuff, too. It’s like I was already man. Jazz.

Greg Lambert 50:52
How long do you want the outro to be?

Marlene Gebauer 50:55
this is like a longest outro ever. No that’s good. We can.

Greg Lambert 51:02
Alright, well, let me let me do it. And so thanks again to Nikki Shaver, and Jeroen Plink from legal tech hub. It Legal technology hub.com for coming back on the shows good good talking to him. We’ll do it again in a year.

Marlene Gebauer 51:16
Yes. And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,

Greg Lambert 51:30
and I can be reached at @glambert on Twitter.

Marlene Gebauer 51:33
Or you can leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270 and as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert 51:43
Thanks, Jerry. All right, Marlene, I’m gonna go start my own business now.

Marlene Gebauer 51:47
All right. Good luck.