10 people disrupting the legal industry with everything from AI research to new pricing models

  • The traditionally conservative legal industry is undergoing changes.
  • Insider surveyed dozens of industry experts about people making changes in the industry.
  • From AI-fueled legal-research companies to legal-ops veterans, here are ten innovators in law.
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Lawyers can be cynical when it comes to innovation.

But things are changing. Between the pandemic, regulatory changes, intense competition for talented lawyers, and client pressure on law firms to cut costs, speed up work, and diversify their ranks, everything is being rethought.

Law firms in recent years have developed new products in-house to help clients revise thousands of contracts in one go, complete nondisclosure agreements faster, and conduct routine corporate transactions with the assistance of automation.

And legal tech has had a surge of investor interest. Private-equity firms pumped more than $3.6 billion into legal-technology companies in the first quarter of 2021, according to the market-intelligence platform Bodhala. LegalZoom and Intapp together raised nearly $1 billion in initial public offerings this year.

Insider interviewed dozens of legal-industry consultants, investors, lawyers, and law-firm staff about people they thought were making real changes in the industry. These are some of the names that came up most often, but this isn’t an exhaustive list.

Subscribers can read the full list here:

10 people shaking up the notoriously old-school legal industry, with everything from AI research to new pricing models

Connie Brenton, chief of staff and senior director of legal operations, NetApp

Connie Brenton of NetApp

Connie Brenton, chief of staff and senior director of legal operations at NetApp
Connie Brenton

Brenton is an early figure in the rise of “legal operations,” or legal ops, a growing area of the industry in which lawyers apply business practices to their work to enable them to deliver legal services more efficiently.

“She put legal ops on the map,” Killer Whale Strategies’ Abramowitz said.

A former litigator, Brenton went in-house at Sun Microsystems and Oracle before joining NetApp, a cloud-data-management company, in 2010. During her 11-year tenure, Brenton helped automate the way NetApp handled contracts, saving the company’s legal team thousands of hours a year, Brenton told Insider.

In 2016, Brenton also founded the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, which has since grown into one of the largest networks of legal-ops professionals across the industry. Bobbi Basile, who runs the legal-transformation and -innovation practice at HBR Consulting, said CLOC has been one of the main ways corporate law departments influence the legal industry.

Subscribers can keep reading the full list of 10 innovators here.

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