Women in Legal Technology: Catherine Bamford
The Legal Technology Resource Center’s Women of Legal Tech initiative aims to promote diversity and celebrate women in legal technology. This initiative started in 2015 with a list of innovators and leaders in legal technology. With this year’s additions, this list now includes 132 talented and influential women leaders. Every Monday and Wednesday we introduced a woman from our class from 2021. Today we have Catherine Bamford!
Catherine Bamford is CEO and founder of BamLegal. Find her on Twitter @BamLegal.
What are three points that describe you?
How is teleworking / quarantine going for you?
Goes great! I’ve been freelancing for seven years now and the BamLegal team is all flexible and remote. We once had a team member from Bali and my current management assistant, Tara, lives in Saudi Arabia! We use Notion and other tools to collaborate and communicate so this wasn’t a problem. However, we personally miss team chases!
How did you get into legal engineering?
I worked as a busy junior attorney in the commercial real estate division of Pinsent Masons. I’ve spent my days manually creating a lot of rental contracts, licenses, and rental deposits. The company invested in Legal Document Automation software and I was selected to learn how to automate documents. My inner geek loved it, and the rest is history!
What projects have you been focusing on lately?
We’re working on a lot of things right now, but an exciting new thing is BamLegal Academy, which is designed to help the next generation entering the legal profession gain an understanding of legal technology and how it can help lawyers provide legal services. We want this to be free for law students.
Is there a legal technical resource that really helped you when you started out in the field?
Back then, very few resources were available to learn about legal technology, legal innovation, and knowledge management. The books by Richard Susskind and Mitch Kowalski were a godsend, and the Re-Invent Law channel with videos of lectures – for example by Alex Hamilton – was inspiring.
What do you see as the most important emerging technology right now, legal or not?
There are now many tools and technology that can be helpful at all stages of a legal transaction, but so far there hasn’t been much to improve on that big part in the middle: the negotiation. Finally, I see some good solutions and I look forward to the days when the negotiation from email and word redlines and comments ends up on a nice platform that makes the whole process a lot easier for everyone.
What advice would you give other women interested in studying legal technology?
You should realize that being a woman makes you more memorable as you are often one of just a handful of women at legal technology conferences and events. With a personal brand and as a woman, you’re much easier to remember than 1,000 men named David.
To be a woman in this market is a strength. Often times, my thinking and the way I addressed problems were different from others and this was an asset. I brought new ideas to the table and disrupted the “echo chamber”.
Greet another legal engineering woman who you admire or have learned from!
Nicole Bradick, Founder and CEO of Theory and Principle, is my absolute idol. I want to be like you when I grow up! * Their drive, enthusiasm, passion and energy are contagious and some of the work of theory and principle – especially in the area of access to justice – are the best in the business. Really inspiring.
* Nicole and I are actually the same age 🙂