This week on The Geek in Review, hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer spoke with Katie DeBord and Kristin Zmrhal, two vice presidents from legal tech company DISCO. Greg kicked off the episode by discussing his recent work with a Houston nonprofit called Project Remix Ventures that helps at-risk youth. He took their leader on a visit to innovation hub The Ion to showcase reinventing old spaces for new purposes, like DISCO has done with legal tech. The hosts then welcomed Katie DeBord, who moved from being Chief Innovation Officer at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner to DISCO. In her current role, Katie focuses on leveraging technology like AI to improve the litigation process for lawyers. She drew experience from her past analyst role at the CIA, where she honed her skills in synthesizing complex data sources.
The hosts also introduced Kristin Zmrhal, who has over 20 years of experience in the legal tech space. At DISCO, she helped build their eDiscovery products and services. Kristin explained that DISCO’s vision is to create great legal technology that helps lawyers find evidence faster. Their product suite now covers the entire litigation lifecycle, from intake to discovery to case management. DISCO uses AI tools like their new Celia application to automatically surface insights from case documents, allowing lawyers to review documents more efficiently. They are also careful to cite sources to ensure transparency.
In terms of company culture, Katie and Kristin discussed how DISCO values rapid experimentation, quick decision-making, and collaborating as a team. They also emphasize empathy in how they treat each other and design products for users. Being a public company also gives employees a sense of ownership. On the innovation side, Katie sees billable hours changing due to advancing legal technology, which will impact law firm profitability models. Kristin predicts AI adoption will reach a tipping point in legal tech within 2-5 years, drastically improving processes like eDiscovery. However, regulating AI poses challenges for the legal industry.
For giving back, DISCO has community service and pro bono programs. DISCO Cares allows employees to volunteer locally. Through DISCO Pro Bono, they donate their technology to support pro bono legal matters. This aligns with their mission of making legal services more accessible. When asked for parting thoughts, Katie emphasized lawyers needing to leverage professionals from adjacent disciplines as part of their teams. Kristin reiterated that this is the most exciting time in her 20 year legal tech career, with AI poised to transform legal workflows.
This engaging discussion provided insights into DISCO’s innovative products and empathetic culture. With seasoned experts like Katie and Kristin leading the way, DISCO seems well-positioned to help shape the future of legal technology. Listeners can connect with Katie and Kristin on LinkedIn and find out more about DISCO’s offerings at csdisco.com. Be sure to stay tuned to The Geek in Review for more insights from leaders in legal tech.