Legal Operations

Using Data to Foster Innovation

Jess Hunt, board member with Bodhala, discusses the origins and strengths of a transformational new product in the legal industry.

CCBJ: You were recently appointed to the board of directors at Bodhala. Tell us about the company and what drew you to the organization?

Jess Hunt: Bodhala is building a transformational product in the legal industry. It’s an intelligence tool that will change how in-house legal departments operate. And that’s certainly what drew me to Bodhala first and foremost. Any time you have an opportunity to really change the way large organizations operate for the better, that’s exciting – it’s the basis for great customer value and great enterprise value.

The second is really the strength of the team. The founders are a couple of people who genuinely understand the legal industry, how in-house legal departments operate, and most important, are bound and determined to improve it.

You’re a past president and chief operating officer of Andela, and you also previously served as an executive with Axiom. How are you applying the skills needed for that going forward on the board?

Bodhala recently added two independent board members, of which I am one. Jeffrey Levinthal, an entrepreneur and an investor, is the other. He’s been a founder several times over. Myself, I’m really a growth-stage operator – someone who’s seen numerous times the challenges and opportunities that companies face as they grow post-product market fit. Our skills certainly complement each other.

Ideally independent board members like us do a couple things for early stage high-growth companies. We help the company think ahead to see around corners. What happens when you’re 10 times bigger, a hundred times bigger? We also challenge thinking. We challenge the thinking, ideally critical thinking on behalf of the board, but also very much the leadership of the company. We even challenge the thinking of our colleagues on the board who may be investors. And then I also think we help the team focus on what’s important. That’s incredibly hard when you’ve got a million things to do when you’re moving from a start-up to a scale-up. And then finally we support the CEO and the team. We like to think that we’re all partners in the growth.

We help the company think ahead to see around corners. To think about what happens when you’re 10 times bigger, a hundred times bigger?

How do you see data and access to key performance indicators (KPIs) transforming the legal profession?

Access to insights from data is enabling. It enables better decisions. It enables innovation, which is something Bodhala talks about a lot. The insights from data that Bodhala offers delivers things like price discovery – allowing for competition, enhancing and driving real accountability, and as I said, it can really foster innovation. Legal billing historically has been trapped in a black box. We’re getting better with accessing information, but I think Bodhala is really a first-in-class, best-in-class product that delivers the intelligent insights in-house counsel needs for legal spend.

What is your advice to legal professionals who are new to using data and KPIs in their decision-making and planning processes?

Do your own research, but generally the most effective route to data transparency is with an external solution like Bodhala - something specifically built to help in-house legal departments to take control of their relationship with outside counsel. And so, in essence Bodhala’s advice to our customers is to put the data to work for your decision-making, as well as communication with internal clients and outside counsel.

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