Posted by Aleks Tomczyk, co-founder and chief operating officer of Legal Futures Associate Exizent
I have spent a long time working in innovating technology successfully. This has been in various sectors and technologies, and I have recently been reflecting on why this is.
Does it come from questioning why we continue doing something that is often hard, when it doesn’t have to be? Or encouraging others to change when they don’t initially see why they should?
I have always been very focused on people, right/wrong and fairness, so the only answer I can give is that I want to see things improve for people.
It was this wanting to help people at a time of bereavement that drove Nick and I to found Exizent in 2019 and that is core to our purpose.
In my innovation journey so far, I have successfully innovated in financial services, environmental technology, biotech and of course software. Exizent is really a legaltech/fintech hybrid in the probate space.
So given that I had only an outsider’s view of probate before founding Exizent, I was particularly interested in some of the market research we did very early on.
Whilst our sample was moderately small then and feedback qualitative, what was really encouraging was what probate specialists, particularly solicitors and accountants, were telling us.
The problems they were wanting us to solve – including onerous administration, poor access to data and slow communication with institutions – were driven by their desire to bring their expertise to bear and deliver a better experience for their customers.
There was a clear alignment of problems to be solved through innovation and helping people.
My belief that we are doing the right things in Exizent was reinforced earlier this year with the publication of the first annual Bereavement Index. This was a much more qualitative study with a larger sample size. For me it both validated that the problems we are solving are widely felt and reinforced that technology is part of the solution.
The feedback also showed that many probate practitioners agreed, with 41% of law firms thinking that technology could improve the bereavement process and 22% of saying investment in tech was their top priority for the next 12 months – alongside improving client service and case efficiency and delivering firm growth.
This highlights that firms are realising the importance of tech and how it will ultimately feed into other aspects of improvements.
These are higher numbers than most would expect in what are difficult times and in an area of practice often seen to be change averse – but driven by legal innovators and those with a growth mindset.
I am a bit of a fan of Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. (It is a good read for anyone with time or his TED talk is a good alternative for those who are time poor. In fact, Nick and I are such big fans that we send every new employee a copy on starting at Exizent.) Given this, it particularly resonates with me that the feedback on ‘why’ from the Bereavement Index work and from our early adopter customers is overwhelmingly the desire to do a better job for their clients.
Legaltech in general, and particularly our own bit of it, I believe, is all about innovation making things better for professionals and their clients. We plan to go as quickly as we can to the benefit with all involved and I for one I am very happy to be working with the many told us they shared the same objective – making things better for people.