Law and Technology Perspectives from Industry Thought Leaders
Charles Lavallée, Vice President, Venio Systems Inc.
Litigation Edge is a Media Partner of TechLaw.Fest 2020 and, in support of the conference, we will be publishing insightful interviews with a variety of industry thought leaders. This interview is with Charles Lavallée, Vice President of Business Development with Venio Systems Inc. (Venio). Venio provides eDiscovery software solutions that streamline and improve the litigation process for their clients, allowing them to achieve the most successful outcome possible while saving time and resources.
Venio is a technology partner of Litigation Edge and their eDiscovery software powers our CaseRoom platform.
How would you summarize your current role?
In my role as the VP of Business Development, I look beyond just the usual salesperson/consultant typecast. I approach my role as client educator, client developer, client nurturer, sales, consultant, solutions provider, industry strategist and an advocate for innovation for my clients.
What is a short profile of your organization?
Venio Systems, Inc. is a software development company founded by eDiscovery experts to develop, support and maintain an advanced technology platform, VenioOne. VenioOne provides a unified eDiscovery software solution that reduces operational and data management costs associated across all phases of eDiscovery and investigations.
What type(s) of legal technology has your organization implemented/developed?
As a software provider, Venio built and continues to develop the VenioOne eDiscovery software platform. This platform unifies all components developed by Venio including processing, ECA/analytics, machine learning, review, production, and the VenioOne OnDemand solution.
How has legal technology benefitted you?
As a software platform provider, I have benefitted from the ever-evolving insights I gain into eDiscovery and my client’s solution needs to meet the emerging demands as a result. I get a front seat view into what innovation works best and how to deliver that innovation in a way that is most purposeful to my clients.
Which type of legal technology has provided the greatest impact to your organization, and why?
At the core of technology, for me, has always been how a solution is rooted in innovation, as well as vision. The most innovative area that I have seen emerge is with self-service on-demand eDiscovery capabilities. While AI/Machine Learning continues to have a strong impact as well, the on-demand requirement addresses the broader needs of a lawyer’s and legal practitioner’s day to day case needs.
Are there facets of your practice and/or firm that would benefit from automation? How?
Yes, absolutely. And again, responding as a software provider, Venio has a focus on building and supporting more automation across our solution. Efficiencies around workflows, especially when they are repeatable and defensible, are a key value to any organization looking to reduce costs and maximize productivity effectively.
How has the Covid-19 lockdown affected you from a professional perspective?
The difficulty has been to see clients and other industry “friends” businesses harshly impacted by the Covid-19. But, with any negative there has also been a positive. One positive impact that has affected my professional perspective is the validation that innovation and good technology can provide strong bridges to pull one’s business forward in tough times. Of course, the execution is important to one’s success – and to be a provider of innovation that can address today’s challenges has been something very positive for me.
How has the lockdown affected your organization?
Like everyone else, our company moved quickly to working remotely. And since ‘work from home’ is a fairly common practice in our type of business, we were able to make this full adjustment quickly. With security and VPN’s already in place, the transition of managing day to day operations was painless.
Have you, or your firm, implemented new technology during the lockdown? If so, please describe the solution and what issue(s) it addressed.
Venio already had the necessary technologies in place. But I suppose we did add one new solution, Slack, to streamline now internal discussions and knowledge shares since we do not have the luxury of communicating in person.
Has the lockdown re-prioritising the use of technology within your organization?
As with the previous response, I would say yes based on a shift to our internal communications prioritizing Slack messaging over email.
What legal technology would you like to implement within the next 12 months?
I don’t know that this applies to Venio. But I would respond that we see law firms piquing interest in our OnDemand solution.
What do you feel is going to be the long-term impact of the lockdown on the legal industry?
I think organizations have been forced to really scrutinize their efficiencies, technology and work habits. And to do so in light of associated costs associated. So, I think the long-term affect for many organizations will be the re-prioritization around these areas and how to become better, more efficient and, of course, reduce costs once deemed necessary that are not viewed as such now.
Another result will be the affect working from home has highlighted for many and I believe it will continue as a standard practice for many, then offered more commonly as an option once we are beyond Covid-19.
Looking to the past, which type of technology has been the biggest “game-changer” for the legal industry?
While AI/Machine Learning will likely be regarded as a game-changer due to its advanced approach to accelerating review, I firmly believe the introduction of automation, especially around automated self-service on-demand eDiscovery solutions is the bigger game changer.
Looking to the future, which type of technology do you envision being the most disruptive to the legal industry?
On-demand. It disrupts how services will be approached by the service provider, it disrupts how law firms currently manage and take control of the own cases. It changes the expediency of which lawyers can gain access to data and technology. It disrupts so many facets of the current model that more disruption around this innovation is still emerging.
How has technology impacted the expectations of your clients and the demand for legal services?
For a software provider, the always evolving expectation (and challenge) is for better innovation at a lower cost.
Are there laws or regulations that you feel should be updated to accelerate the current use of technology?
I’d say that education will continue to impact how these laws/regulations are affected. As to a specific law, I’m sure a lawyer will respond differently with more insight into how the current rules affect them.
If you could offer advice to a lawyer or technology starting in the industry, what would it be?
That the technology and its impact on their job is very real. More and more State Bar Associations around the country have already interjected guidelines that it is incumbent upon an attorney to have a knowledge of legal technology. My advice to new lawyers? Technology has become an important aspect of their role in comparison to generations and, as such, should be taken seriously and, no pun intended, judiciously.
About Charles Lavallée
BA, Political Science/French
Université de Fribourg – Universität Freiburg
CS, International Law & Economics/French