Interview with Omer Hayun, following the Acquisition of Bestpractix by Litera
1. How and why did you decide to start Bestpractix?
Bestpractix was born out of my frustration doing contract work. I wasn’t actively thinking about starting my own company, but actually, I was looking for software solutions to help me with the contract work I had to perform. I noticed that most of the contract work I was doing was very repetitive and figured that someone must have already built a solution to handle it. In my market research, I found a lot of template generation tools and other types of high-level contract review tools, but none of them seemed to approach the contract drafting workflow problem the way I envisioned it should be solved. After realizing there’s a market gap, I decided to build a solution of my own and started Bestpractix.
2. What was it like working on a startup from the ground up?
Starting any business is challenging. Starting a startup company in the legal technology field is even more challenging. Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties and challenges, building a startup from the ground up is a rewarding and humbling experience. You start with a vision and a dream and then work your way towards making it happen. You then find out that you hit a lot of walls along the way, but every once in a while you get breakthroughs. The key is to work hard in creating different opportunities and maximize the chances they will convert to business achievements.
3. Why do you think Litera was the right choice for the future of your product?
Litera is one of the leading legal software vendors in the world with a product portfolio providing solutions to most of the contract work pains that law firms face. They also have a great team and a strong client base in both the US and the UK. The only thing that was missing from their offering is the use of “smart” content retrieval using artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, that was developed by Bestpractix. Our vision at Bestpractix was to get our technology installed in every law firm in the world, but, unfortunately, growing independently in the legal industry requires a lot of capital and resources we didn’t have. The fact that Litera was already working with all the top law firms in the US and UK played a major role in our decision to collaborate. Since we both share the same vision of building a single platform that helps lawyers provide better services to their clients, consolidating the value propositions we provided separately into one powerful product just made perfect sense from a product standpoint.
4. How do you see Bestpractix compared to other AI solutions in the legal technology industry?
I think there are many great AI technology companies in the legal technology industry and there are certainly more of them now than before. Bestpractix differs from other AI solutions mainly in the use cases in which our technology is used for. While most legal AI companies focus on providing due diligence tools or other post-execution contract review solutions, Bestpractix is currently the leading solution provider for the fairly new field of smart drafting recommendations for contract review, negotiation, and drafting. Furthermore, our solution is the only one that doesn’t require lawyers to manually label data to provide value from day one.
5. What are you most excited about as you join the Litera team?
I’m excited about integrating our technology with Litera’s existing and future products and make our mutual product offering “smarter” and AI-powered. Now that we’re working with a talented team from Litera and have more resources, we’ll be able to bring new innovative solutions to the market in no time.
6. How do you see the future of legal technology progressing, especially in today’s climate?
The adoption of legal technology solutions is rapidly growing, and I think this trend will only intensify in the years to come. One of the key problems in legal technology adoption is that law firms are risk-averse and they try to avoid any technology that has - in their minds - the potential of exposing them or their clients to any types of data breaches, such as cloud solutions, for example. The business transition to working from home forced these organizations to rely heavily on technology to perform remote communications and made them realize the advantages technology can bring to their daily operations and that the associated risks are not as bad as they had imagined. That process created an appetite for other technologies that law firms were hesitant to utilize in the past so I think we’ll see the effects of this evolution in the upcoming years.
7. How do you think tech will impact the legal profession? In what way, will it significantly alter the traditional role of the lawyers as trusted intermediaries?
Let’s start by saying that AI-powered technologies will not replace lawyers. Lawyers’ role as trusted intermediaries will not change. What will change is the ratio between the substantial work lawyers are performing - the work that requires their special skills, education, and experience – and the routine technical work that could be automated and will eventually take up less and less of their time.
8. The number of legal start-ups has grown dramatically in recent years. Any thoughts on why?
I think it’s a combination of two trends. The first, the growing demand for innovative technological solutions in the legal industry. The second, the huge amounts of capital directed to investments in startups in any vertical, including legal tech. The legal technology industry is only now catching up with the lag in the long-time-coming technology adoption within the legal industry.
9. You closely watch the legal tech startup community. What’s your advice for someone thinking about starting a new legal tech or legal start-up?
I have two pieces of advice to give. The more general advice would be to always work hard, learn, and stay humble. You have to know that you don’t know everything about everything and be open to learn and change as you progress. More specific advice for the legal technology industry would be to raise sufficient capital from day one. The legal industry needs and wants innovation, but they are very cautious and slow to adopt new technologies. That’s why it’s important to have enough resources to get through the market validation and penetration stages, which are the first steps towards success, and these could take longer to achieve when you work with legal organizations.
10. The legal profession is changing and professionals need to be more business and tech-savvy. What do you see as the biggest challenge for the legal profession in let’s say five years from now?
I believe the increasing adoption of legal technology will save lawyers from the burden of maintaining complex workflows and routine daily contract work. Instead, their main challenges in contract work will involve the intelligent structuring of transactions and finding creative legal solutions to enable clients to perform business operations. The mere actions that require the translation of these legal concepts into written agreements will no longer be the main part of their work.