Legal Innovator Profiles – Nick Watson, Ruby Datum

This week’s other Legal Innovator Profile is with Nick Watson, CEO, Ruby Datum.

– When did you first hear the term ‘legal tech’ and what did you think at the time?

It’s been a transitionary thing. It started off as just tech, then tech for law firms, for lawyers… then law tech was used for a while (and still is!) and now legal tech seems to be the most widely adopted term which encompasses the whole ecosystem. I guess as the buzz started to happen, the term got used a little more – but where I first heard it? I couldn’t tell you – I feel like it just eased its way into my everyday vocabulary.

– What is your role now?

I am CEO of the document and data collaboration platform, Ruby Datum. We are scaling at the moment, so to ensure everyone is comfortable with the visions and where they align to the company’s future is my primary responsibility. 

I also run, and am an advisor for many different Legal Tech organisations, such as the Centre for Legal Innovation. You may see me speaking at a conference or on a webinar from time-to-time! Usually about people… I wholeheartedly believe the future of law is with a more humanistic approach.

– Why did you move into this field, (if this is not the only field you’ve worked in)?

I was head of development for a leading software agency for 10 years. I wanted to do my own thing. I had law firm clients, and they wanted a reliable, fast, usable Virtual Data Room – so I created that for them, and Ruby Datum was born!

– What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

When I log into our business chat to see how things are going, and witness my team collaborating together, involving clients, and being aligned to our vision and values brings me so much joy. To see them passionate about what they do, enjoying their jobs and growing the company is the most rewarding aspect for me. When they challenge me on something, I love it! It shows they are really thinking about what they are doing, and care about it. To see the clients pick up on this energy and enjoy working with us – is a dream come true.

– If you looked into a crystal ball, how much do you think the everyday practice of law will change in the next five to ten years?

Tech to replace the mundane; less egos; more friendly faces.

– If you had one gripe about legal tech companies what would it be?

Stop promising what you can’t deliver. We’ve lost some leads to competitors promising the world. They lock them in, hold their data to ransom and fail to deliver on these promises – then everything is an extra charge. It pains me to see firms having gone too far down the rabbit hole and subsequently feel stuck.

– If you had one thing you’d really like to applaud legal tech companies for, what would it be?

Having the courage to take a huge risk in an industry that is one of the most risk adverse. To those that have made it to profits, I have so much respect for you.

– And finally, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into this field?

Be curious, explore, research. There are so many different avenues to take, and so many people embarking on a similar journey. Ensure you identify where a solution is required and apply your curiosity there. Ask lots of questions, seek feedback, build MVPs – keep learning, failing, adapting, and growing.

Thanks Nick, good advice!