Q&A With Entrepreneur & Nimbus GC Mary Juetten
Q: When did you join Nimbus legal as an outsourced GC?
A: I’ve known Beth for a long time, and we had been talking about her concept for a couple of years. We went to law school together and both found ourselves in the Phx tech community after graduation. When I started Evolve Law, we began discussing how technology was impacting the legal industry. I started helping her brainstorm tech options for the outsourced GCs. I’ve supported this concept since day 1, and when the stars finally aligned about a year ago, I joined the Nimbus team.
Q: What drew you to the outsourced GC model?
A: I had no interest in going to work for a traditional law firm. My goal is, and has always been, to help companies in a legal capacity, whether as counsel, as an advisor, or as an innovator. My approach is focused on business success, and that aligns perfectly with the outsourced GC model. I love the idea of helping clients the way this model affords. It allows me to learn their whole business and contribute holistically.
Q: Why then not become a full-time in-house counsel?
A: I didn’t want to go in-house for one particular company because I like the variety of having a few clients. And I like the flexibility of having my own practice, working from anywhere. CTOs and CFOs have been doing this for years. It makes perfect sense that attorneys do this too.
Q: That’s a great point. Why is legal just coming around now to the fractional model?
A: In law school you’re trained to be risk averse. You look for the worst case scenario in all things and do everything you can to prevent or avoid it at all costs. What they don’t train you to do is look at the inverse of that and embrace the opportunities that come with risk. What that means is that most new lawyers out of law school are trained to believe that anything other than a traditional model inside of a safe law firm is too risky.
The fact is, every consultative profession is moving towards the concierge service model. Medical, marketing, financial, procurement, etc, There is no question that legal is heading that way too. The 80/20 rule applies here. Right now 20 percent of the legal profession is leading the charge for the other 80 percent. That’s the way it always is, until it’s the norm.
Q: When do you think the rest of the industry will catch up, and this will become the norm?
A: I believe there’s been a lot of change over the last 10 years, and that it’s come in fits and starts. I created Evolve Law and Traklight as part of this movement. So innovation is there, and it’s becoming more visible. Even law schools are getting on board by creating their own accelerators. They’re realizing they need to support practical methods alongside academic learnings. We’re seeing “legal hackers,” — lawyers who code. So cool. The fact that lawyers are getting together and hacking solutions for the legal industry says a lot. And at the other end, we have older attorneys still using paper for timekeeping and shunning collaboration using tools like CRMs.
Q: Is that true? Some lawyers still use paper for timekeeping?
A: Yes it’s true.
A: I don’t believe you.
A: That’s fine.
Q: What is your practice area?
A: I focus on tech and IP law. Before law school I ran business units within large companies, and before that worked on the financial and commercial side. I work with companies of all sizes now and I really enjoy it.
Q: Tell me how you intersect business advisory with legal counsel.
A: My job is to help the company run better, period. That can mean having a better onboarding process for new customers, easy-to-digest sales contracts, partner relations, investor relations… legal touches all of these areas. I use legal to help my clients grow revenue while mitigating risk., it’s that simple.
Q: Where do you see legal 10 years from now?
A: I believe we’ll have more options for consumers of legal services. There will be big law firms for those who feel most comfortable with traditional services. While those who want something more modern and predictable will have Nimbus. There will be more and better options for startups all the way to the enterprise.
Because of technology and creative entrepreneurship, legal is on the fast track to become a much more consumer and attorney-friendly industry. It’s never been easier for a solo attorney to start and operate a firm without the massive overhead. It’s never been easier to automate so many functions with technology. It’s never been easier to get the legal counsel you need without the wild, unpredictable and often-times insane legal bills.
I believe that in 10 years, we’ll have a legal system that includes alternative legal providers and solutions that handle the services that really don’t need to be performed by a full fledged lawyer.
Up until now,our industry has had limited choices for both consumers and lawyers. That’s going to change drastically in the next 10 years.