Artificial Lawyer last caught up with virtual data room (VDR) company Ruby Datum, which uses a healthy dose of machine learning, back in December 2017, and as we begin the new school term in legal tech land it seemed time to check back in to see where its founder, Nick Watson, saw things heading.
– First, just to let readers know, where is Ruby Datum now in terms of what it offers?
We’re still a Virtual Data Room platform and will continue to be. It’s important to us not to clutter the experience and try to please everyone at the expense of being an intuitive, usable experience for our primary users.
– How does Ruby Datum play a role in helping law firms in areas beyond M&A due diligence?
We have a few law firms extensively using us for various departments: Corporate, Real Estate, Crime, IP.
– You’ve mentioned that you have added machine learning aspects to the system, what are these and how does this help clients?
We’re always enhancing the experience with further Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing algorithms, particularly for our search platform.
Continued development will apply User Behavioural Analytics through Machine Learning in order to enhance the user security, by detecting anomalies.
We’re working on ways to improve our dashboard too, the idea being that you’re shown the content you’re most likely to be looking for when you first log in to the Virtual Data Room based on previous usage patterns.
– What is your overall growth plan, will Ruby Datum stay as mostly VDR, or will you expand into many different areas?
We’d offer various flavours of our Virtual Data Room platform in order to suit different purposes and industries, however, there will not be features for the sake of it.
We’re often asked about consultancy and development services. It’s something we’re still considering, but it has to complement our Lean strategy.
– How do you see the need for legal data collaboration changing for law firms and corporates?
There will be increased transparency between the firms and the clients. The issue with plenty of existing platforms is they’re only usable for the firm with the training and documentation at hand.
Clients struggle with systems they’re not used to, and often firms use a plethora of software to manage projects. This is not good for the customer. Users should be able to pick-up a platform and run with it. That’s the driving strategy of Ruby Datum.
– You’re currently in the Barclays Legal Tech Lab – how has that been so far and what is the benefit to a company like yours?
It’s great being a part of an incubator supported by so many different partner law firms. It’s very early days, but I feel a sense of belonging there. The team behind the labs have a strong energy and positive attitude towards genuine change in the Legal Technology industry.
With some incubators you find yourself tied to a specific law firm, but the Barclays LawTech Eagle Lab brings in several different firms and it’s useful to have feedback from a variety of sources that will likely have different processes and cultures.
– Last question, you’ve met a lot of law firms in the last few years, what are their biggest barriers to adopting new tech and how can they change to become better at it?
Trust in the start-ups!
There are some incredible teams out there doing some truly amazing things with Legal Technology. Start-ups are all about risk, and law is about mitigating risk – the two don’t usually go hand-in-hand, but when we see firms such as Mishcon de Reya (with MDR Labs) or Allen & Overy (with Fuse) align themselves with these companies, amazing things happen.
True transformation begins with a leap of faith!