Career Insights: Lisa Erickson, VP of product management for AI and cloud transformation at Aderant

Lisa Erickson joined Aderant from Veritas in January as vice president of product management for AI and cloud transformation. As part of our focus on careers across the industry, we asked what her priorities are, what she sees as the primary challenges that Aderant’s clients are facing, and what is notably different in legal. 

You came into Aderant with an assignment to transform AI and cloud – what are your first priorities?

My first 60-days have been focused on learning about Aderant as an organization, the team, how we go about the full lifecycle of software delivery, the products and their roadmaps, where we are at in cloud transformation, and the needs of our clients and the overall legal space. Legal has many complexities – and rightfully so. Fortunately, many core principles about AI and cloud technology and transformation are universal, especially across highly regulated industries. However, those principles must be applied successfully for law firms. Initially, my journey has been to draw upon the industry, business and technical knowledge of my experienced colleagues at Aderant and our customers to understand the nuanced and specific needs in the space. I am now in the midst of constructing a plan aligned with those needs to achieve our goals for AI and cloud transformation.

What do you see as the primary challenges/obstacles to cloud transformation that Aderant’s clients are facing?

Transitioning to the cloud presents law firms with concerns around security, operational control, and scale, while maintaining implementations that are purpose fit for clients. Legal is a complex and highly regulated, often leveraging highly customized solutions to fit these needs. These concerns are in our court to deliver solutions around – including how the platform is architected, implemented, and operated from a security, scale, and experience perspective, including consideration for must-have customization.

What are you getting up to speed on that is different in legal?

Everything is customized – that is the most complex issue, especially for SaaS transformation. In SaaS, you’re trying to offer your customers a self-service, simple experience. That’s a lot easier to do when processes are standardized, and when the tech and the way it is consumed and used is standardized. But in legal, there are many customizations that are specific to an individual law firm. How we transform, make that experience simple, and give all of our client firms the capabilities that they have been using and are critical to running their business while still making it customizable are the tactics that we are working through and designing for.

Boiling it down, what are your three main goals for transformation to the cloud, including considerations for AI?

There are three fundamental goals of SaaS transformation from a solution perspective and are key to this transformation that the team is undertaking.

A standard platform approach – A standardized cloud platform that enables the portfolio of the Aderant cloud products to plug in, interoperate, allow customers easy access to new solutions/use cases, and enables new high value interactions between development, customer, and partner communities.All of this creates new value for our customers while giving Aderant efficiencies in how we deliver.

Easy Experience – Users need a simple, easy to use experience. At Aderant, we already have products that have transformed to cloud with more modern experiences. The next step is to ensure that all products have a modern standard design language pulled together in a comprehensive platform experience.

Leveraging AI for Efficiency –  We will delivery AI use cases across the portfolio and in the platform that deliver values around efficiency, accuracy, and scale, whether it is using standard hyper automation techniques in a traditional AI model, ML for large scale analytics, and use of generative AI for simplification of business processes or access to information, like with askMADDI. This will be a continuing evolution on how we bring AI/ML technology, techniques and use cases into the platform and products.

Along the lines of AI, what trends are you seeing in legal and how is Aderant approaching the use of AI to solve challenges?

With the rapid progression and use of generative AI over the last 12 to 18 months, the biggest use case talked about in market is an obvious one: contract management, including drafting, redlining, and text recommendation.  This makes sense since this work can be mundane one where there is a lot of data on contract structures and what “good” looks like, and can easily be human moderated. However, at Aderant, we deal in very complex and customized tasks in our products that enable firms to run their businesses or to practice law. Therefore, we are focused on helping our customers through both traditional automation, AI and gen AI techniques to take those more complex activities and improve reliability and efficiency, while keeping the person at the center of decision making. There are many areas we have or will be improving with AI techniques including speed and accuracy of time entry, case and matter management, and billing, to name only a few.

Law firms want to make sure their data is safe and secure. What is your approach to continuing to bolster cybersecurity across the cloud for firms using Aderant products?

I would go a step further – it is not just data (though that may be the asset that is most critical and top). It is the security of the entire platform – from system data, product data, customer data, all the up through the user experience and how we secure everything in between, from the software we build, to the infrastructure it runs on to how we operate it. This means we must have a comprehensive approach across security: operational controls that adhere to SOC 2 standards, 3rd party security detection and remediation tools that are integrated into both the platform, its infrastructure and its operations, 3rd party penetration testing, 3rd party vulnerability scanning of the platform and our software, practice security detection, remediation and recovery drills, and auditing and adherence to data governance across privacy, sovereignty and associated regulations. This is no small task; we will be working with our security team to achieve these expectations.

What’s your own take on why it is so important for law firms to modernize their operations with cloud services?

The short answer: to achieve operational efficiencies, cost efficiencies, and improved time to value. For example, the firm does not need to procure and manage the CAPEX lifecycle of the servers and storage needed for an on premises or “run their own” platform model. It does not need to manage installs and upgrades of Aderant software, so operational time is saved that can be spent on higher value activities. Finally, new features are available for adoption more quickly, allowing the firm’s team members to take advantage of higher value capabilities that benefit productivity and ultimately profitability.

What is your advice to law firms or leaders who may be hesitant to move to the cloud?

At a high level, it’s about considering the benefits weighed against risk, the potential mitigations to risk, and return on investment (ROI). With the progression of technology, operational processes, and best practices, many of the greatest concerns have solutions today and result in a beneficial ROI. Taking the time to understand those can result in greater benefits to their firm.

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