Cutting Through the Noise: AI in the Legal Sector – Harry Borovick – S7E2

You know how when you’re watching those legal dramas on TV, there’s always a room full of lawyers going through mountains of paperwork? Well, AI is here to make that process a whole lot easier.

This week we’re super excited to be chatting with Harry Borovick, General Counsel at Luminance. where he oversees the global legal function. Harry brings a wealth of experience to the table and is a leading voice in the legal industry on the transformative impact of AI.

Harry not only oversees the company’s own legal and compliance requirements but also collaborates closely with the product and technical teams to ensure that the platform’s development and user experience are aligned with the needs of the legal industry.

𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧?

You can catch Rob and Harry Borovick talking about:

  • Harry’s career journey includes his experience of obtaining a training contract, working in a law firm, and moving in-house.
  • How an AI tool is helping legal process automation and document review and its benefits for non-lawyers as well.
  • The importance of having a systematic understanding of a business’s position on ESG and compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Difference between analytical AI and generative AI.
  • Harry’s advice he shared with aspiring lawyers.


00:08 Rob Hanna:

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. You are now listening to Season 7 of the show. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m delighted to be joined by Harry Borovick. Harry is the General Counsel at Luminance, a London headquartered AI company that is automating legal processes for over 500 companies worldwide, including the likes of Tescos, Coke and Lamborghini. In addition to managing Luminance’s own legal and compliance requirements, he also works to advise on development and user experience. Harry trained in private practice at Mishcon de Reya, before going on to work on a range of regulated technology businesses, with a focus on the US and UK market. Prior to Luminance, Harry led the UK legal function for the NASDAQ listed ad tech company, LiveRamp. A keen user and advocate for AI, Harry has spoken at major conferences, including The Economist, General Counsel Summit, and Legal Geek. Harry is a visiting lecturer at the University of Law, Bloomsbury and visiting Scholar of Law at the University of Edinburgh. So a very warm welcome, Harry.

01:20 Harry Borovick:

Hi Rob. Good to be here.

01:22 Rob Hanna:

It’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. And I know we share a lot of mutual friends from previous guests and people in the community, so excited about this one. But before we go into all your amazing projects, experiences, and what you’re getting up to, we do have a customary icebreaker question here, on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality, if you’ve seen it?

01:49 Harry Borovick:

Yes, I’ve seen a couple of episodes only. I’m gonna give it a 5. Mostly because I think lawyers in real life are much better looking. But the thing that is very real is the scenes where you see paralegals and junior lawyers flipping through 1000s of documents through the night till 5 in the morning. I think that is unrealistic is when they find the answer that night.

02:14 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I think 5 is fair comment. And absolutely yourself included in the, the glamorous lawyers. I’m putting that on the record for you. So let’s talk all about you today, that’s why you’re here. Would you mind telling our listeners about your background and career journey?

02:29 Harry Borovick:

Yeah, sure. So I’m now the General Counsel at legal tech company called Luminance. But going way back, I originally ran my family business, joined it with my dad, which is a textile business. We’re the oldest family-owned business in Soho. So we have been in the same hands since 1932. And I grew up working there, helping my dad in that business, internationally, and was working through that whilst I was at law school, which was fantastic. A really good grounding in sort of what it means to work in a, quote unquote real business, deals with real customers, happy ones and grumpy ones. And that was fantastic. After we sold the business in 2000 and I think 14, I was at law school and went and trained at Mischon de Reya. And I had a great time there, but very quickly knew that private practice probably wasn’t where I wanted to stay. So I sort of quite transparently made my training contract about learning everything I could, that would probably serve me in an in-house career. And I really loved anything that was regulated. So I did lots of, sort of advisory work and learning about advisory support, both financial, regulatory, corporate regulatory, whatever it may be, and got really good exposure to gaming and tech. We were really lucky there were some great partners at Mischon who were very generous with this trainee, with his hands out begging for interesting work, and they engaged me which was lovely. And then when I qualified, I went into Which?, like the consumer group, which is actually I think, it might still be now, but at the time it was definitely the biggest consumer subscription group in the UK. It had like a million subscribers. And they were quite an interesting business because they were set up to, by an Act of Parliament essentially, but technically a charity to protect the consumer, i.e. to give independent consumer advice, consumer information, they even do class action litigation on behalf of consumers, really wide remit. And because I’ve done some regulatory work before, because they’re a charity they’re quite constrained by budget, and they wanted to set up a regulated mortgage and insurance broker, but they probably basically didn’t want to spend the money on a more senior regulatory lawyer and they were like, you fancy giving this a shot. As a newly qualified lawyer that was terrifying, with, with I mean, great lawyers, great team and great general supervision, but in terms of financial regulatory none, and that was great. We set that up and worked on that. And worked generally as a commercial lawyer across that business and it was incredible opportunity. And then once that had been done, essentially I thought look I’d done what I’d set out to do, do something I’ve not done before. I then went to a company called Kambi and Kambi was interesting because I was involved in anything gaming regulatory when I was at Mishcon quite heavily, including sports betting and gambling tech. And in 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled that the nationwide ban on sports betting was unconstitutional. And so Kambi was a algorithmic tech company, which supported gaming companies in Europe. And then there was this basically this race in the US to be who could be at the 1st license to take the 1st bet in the US. Kambi was the company that took the 1st bet, they were the sort of the back end of a company called DraftKings, which is more people, more of your listeners will likely know. And I was involved in sort of getting the 1st permanent license, getting licensed in basically, it was done state by state in the US. So for a British lawyer with limited experience, with supporting some other lawyers, and then getting loads of local advice in a territory, that you don’t really know and speaking to, you know, government officials and regulators, it was, I was like 1 year qualified, so terrifying, and fantastic. And then Kambi grew enormously as a result of this, you probably imagine, because it was sort of first to market growth. And basically, because New Jersey did that 1st transaction, every other state, broadly replicated the New Jersey model. So suddenly, every company, the easiest, sort of like the path of least resistance was to try and replicate New Jersey and for every company who wanted to get licenses and start doing business, they were like well let’s use the provider that did it in New Jersey so, Kambi grow hugely and then I was in this very lucky position where I was a very junior, but because I had sort of done it before, the practical relevant experience was basically non-existent. They were essentially basically the people at Kambi, were the only people who done it, and it was great. I had amazing mentors when I was there. And they allowed me an enormous amount of thought and freedom. And 1 of the reasons I’m so passionate about mentorship because, 1 of the people there are still mentors to me. And then that was amazing. So we did that for probably years. And I ended up in this position where I was managing loads of lawyers, the team grew hugely, and I was still relatively junior in PQE, which was odd. But that took me into another regulated space, I got approached by a company called LiveRamp. LiveRamp is essentially an ad tech company. And Google announced, so very similar to like the, the Supreme Court point, there’s like a big event sort of drags me in. Google announced that they were going to be deprecating the cookie and removing it from Google Chrome, which they still haven’t actually done, even though they said they would do it 4 years ago. But it’s on its way. And so lots of companies started to try and be 1st to market or sort of 1st to gain a foothold in the market, to be the main like sort of consent based replacement for cookies in terms of like, the advertising space on the internet. And LiveRamp was 1 of the market leaders for that. I think it’s still 1 of the biggest, and was fantastic. And the EMIR GC wanted a regional Head of Legal for the UK, because the most of the team was based in Paris. And they said, you know, the job was advertised way above my PQE. And they just said actually, well, we think your relevant experience, you know, uncharted regulatory, sort of, paths are sort of what you’re used to, and maybe your, your relevant experience, probably more valuable than someone with more years on the clock, but a similar amount of relevant experience or even less, therefore better value. And it was the 1st time I’d actually had someone basically say, we’ll pay you for what you’re worth, not what we can, not what we can get away with paying you. So they advertised the role at much more senior in terms of salary, in terms of everything. And they just said, no, no, you’re either going to do the role well and we’ll keep you on, or this is not going to work out and it’s gonna be a pretty, pretty quick time for you. So I was there, thankfully, for a good couple of years, had an amazing time. They gave me an enormous amount of scope to start building our team, grow there, the business did fantastically. I loved working with my colleagues there. And again, another great mentor in the EMIR GC there who really sort of moulded me but allowed me to, sort of find my own mould. And that was great. But whilst I was there, we had some interesting experiences. I’ll put it that way, with some legal tech, difficulties and implementation. I’d also done some consulting along the way for another legal tech company and, the COO of Luminance just reached out to me, out the blue, power of LinkedIn, and said, I’ve seen you involved in, like talking relatively publicly about some stuff, being interviewed by some legal techs, we’re looking for our 1st permanent GC, would you be interested in having a conversation. And my advice to anyone who’s listening who may be less experienced is always have, always take the call, always have the conversation, can always say no. And they really made a business case to have me and sold me on the product, more importantly than anything, you know, there’s no point running a company where you think, this not really going to work out or I’m going to be fighting fires because things don’t work. And it just made sense. It was fantastic. So that brings us to the current day where I’ve been at Luminance just over a year, and having a ball.

10:38 Rob Hanna:

Great, it was quite a lot to unpack there. And it sounds like, I want to kind of give our listeners some some, some of my thoughts and reflections on that. Personally, I love that you’re prepared to chuck yourself into the deep end. I love that you strategically engineered your career in many respects, when you talked about your, your training contract. I love that you talked about the importance, and it’s something we talk a lot about on the show as mentors and mentorship and how they can help shape your career. LinkedIn, networking, NSN, never stop networking. I keep saying to people, that’s a great example there. And I also love that you grow into your role and you don’t let the roles outgrow you. So be scared, you know, go in, because there’s only, the only place you’re gonna go is hope to grow and you’re going to thrive. And you’re a great example of that. So thank you for sharing that whole story. I want to kind of unpack a few bits and go back a little bit to almost like studying it. Because you initially studied international relations before going on to study the law. So where did your interest in the law actually stem from?

11:45 Harry Borovick:

Well, that’s an excellent setup Rob, because I know you know the answer to this. I, were originally like, you know, I, 1 of the reasons I originally didn’t want to be a lawyer is because my dad, as a kid always told me I’d be a good lawyer. And, but my dad left school at 14, didn’t know what it really meant to be a lawyer. I think he was just saying that, and like any kid who has a rebellious streak, as soon as your parents start telling you, you should do something you say absolutely not. I ended up, because I enjoyed language. And I really wanted to be a speechwriter, actually, whether political or otherwise. So I did international relations at Birmingham, had a great time. But on my 1st day there I met a guy called Oliver Haddock, who I think has been on podcast before and you know, and Ollie and I had a very blunt conversation in the summer after graduating. I said, good God, what am I going to do now? What should we do? And I had lost sort of my interest in being a speechwriter. I’d done some work experience that sort of showed you the reality of the work, and it wasn’t as glamorous as I’d imagined. It wasn’t really like the thick of it or anything like that. And, he just said, I just don’t want to work yet. So I might just take another year, go do the GDL, do a law conversion and see what comes with that. I thought, that sounds alright. So, before I knew it, I was at law school with him in postgrads, becoming a lawyer and Ollie and I are good friends. So, I’m very lucky to have the right people putting ideas in your mind at the right time. And thankfully, it stuck. And actually it was a great idea because even if, I mean law has loads of transferable skills and, it was the kind of thing where actually what’s the worst that could happen by doing this. I was still working on my family business whilst doing it, so financially it made sense. Like the GDL was like very intensive, but it meant, it was in central London where my family business was meant I could do both. It was a great idea. So yeah, thanks Ollie, if you’re listening.

13:44 Rob Hanna:

Ollie, I’m sure you’re listening. Yeah, Harry is putting on the record he’d like to thank you. But I think it’s a great message there as well in terms of you know, you are the sum of the parts of the people you hang around and you know that they do share ideas or things even at the university days that can help shape your career, for the future. So, I really like that story. I want to talk about your training contract. We talked about it before, how you almost managed to engineer a training contract, A it’s very hard to get a training contract, B people sometimes don’t get the seats that they particularly like. So from your experience, how did you manage? Is there any tips, tricks or suggestions you would say to people about the sort of TC and then trying to get the seats that you want knowing where you may want to take your?

14:30 Harry Borovick:

Yeah, I mean, talk about the hard to get a training contract, I think it’s probably even harder now. But to give you an idea is I was never the most purely academically gifted, never had the best grades, I was okay. And, weirdly commercial awareness was 1 of these things that lots of law firms gave sort of lip service to at the time but weren’t really acting so, often when I’d apply for training contracts or vac schemes the pushback was oh we don’t actually think you’re that interested, that dedicated in becoming a lawyer because you’ve got all these other interests. And I thought that was bonkers, personally. But I, if you include everything that was like a work placement, training contract as a work placement, vac scheme, anything like that, I did a total of 20 different placements right, to get my training contract, 4 of which were at Mishcon’s. So I did 2 individual work placements and 2 vac schemes. And the sorts of joke was the partner, I think his name’s Daniel Levy, who spoke to me in my final interviews like look this is the 4th time that you’ve had sort of this kind of conversation, the second time at the end of the vac scheme, what is gonna, if the answer is no today, what’s next for you. And I said, I’ll see you next year. And I got, I got, I got the phone call that day being like, okay we’re going to offer you a training contract. And like, you know, my dad cried and all the rest, it was very lovely. But, there is something to be said for just persistence, if you really know what you want. But the point is, you have to really know what you want. And the only way I could allay any concerns about how focused I was on trying to become a lawyer, was by demonstrating that persistence, because what sort of masochist would do that to themselves over and over if they didn’t really want it. And I think that’s kind of where we got to. In terms of the actual training contract itself, I picked my seats based on mentors. So, although I did pick the skill seats that I thought would suit me, in terms of a future career, there were some others which might have even been better, like I was actually quite interested in doing an employment seat, for example. But, I hadn’t found anyone during my time there where I thought, this is a person who the dynamic between us, because you essentially had to pitch to a lot and you have to go and talk to the next department that you want to take you on, etcetera. And there wasn’t the synergy several times that I thought this is the dynamic where I’m going to learn the most, even if the subject area is right for me. So there is sort of finding the fit in teaching. And sometimes actually when you’re in the seat, that dynamic isn’t what you envisage anyway. Like I had a couple where it didn’t quite go as well as I’d hoped or the dynamic was quite different than I’d hoped, or maybe the partner who sort of made the decision to bring me into the team wasn’t necessarily the person I was working with most. So, things like that, are unpredictable, but doesn’t mean you can’t sort of hedge your bets and try and do well. I would say that I was very lucky that the partners who, so for example the gaming work I did, that partner joined in an acquisition of another firm that joined Mishcon’s during my training contract. So there were lots of like, there was a confluence of good events that helped me. But that partner was called Nick Nocton, an amazing gaming lawyer, and was incredibly patient with a very overexcited and not particularly great attention to detail trainee, if I’m honest. But actually, I always thought that, that kind of open relationship in terms of transparent conversation where someone can give you feedback really constructively, but in a way where you’re going to really listen to it, is actually more important than someone who might even have better advice but is delivering it in a way that you’re not open to hearing. And that is they understand you as a person, and you understand them as a person. And the other effect of that is when you let them down, you feel it, right. So, if, if someone, if someone’s just absolutely beasting you as a trainee, when it goes wrong, you may be annoyed at yourself, but you’re not necessarily disappointed for letting them down, when you’ve got a great mentor or a great teacher, you just want to do right by them. And when I hire trainees now or paralegals or even junior lawyers, what I look for is not just coach ability, but that sort of dynamic that, am I going to learn from this person because they eventually will develop a skill set and knowledge that I’ll be able to learn from and, at this stage can they learn from me, not just because of what we each know but because of the dynamic we’re going to be able to build. So I think that was a really important sort of lens which to, to look when crafting your training contract, your career generally.

19:08 Rob Hanna:

Yeah. I, I love that and, and I, kind of smart decision making in a way because you’re surrounding yourself with, with people that you know have, have a lot of wisdom, who have a lot of careers advice that they can share which then enables you to, you know, you gel with these people, you find people that you have a good fit, that good synergy with, and it just you feel a lot more confident in your decision but like you rightly said it sort of holds you more accountable because you don’t want to let these people down, you want to bring out the absolute best of yourself. So, in the same breath you’re going to get even more out of that particular training contract because you’re priding yourself in wanting to do well. I really liked that. You touched on again before why you wanted to leave private practice to maybe go and in-house. Again, just go a bit deeper. What, what prompted that and how could you, what advice would you give to people who might be thinking of trying to do the same and you know, similarities, differences, things like that?

19:50 Harry Borovick:

Yeah, I mean, now you’re seeing a lot more interesting ways to structure the cost to a client. But, even, you know, 8, 10 years ago, the likelihood of your normal deal structure for billing something to a client being a fixed fee arrangement, or a success fee, or whatever it may be, it was much thinner on the ground in terms of the reality. And I had a fundamental issue with that quite quickly because I realised that trainee time is often the first time to be written off. And that’s an active disincentivisation to the trainee putting in more time and more work, it’s maybe an incentive to be more efficient. But the thing is when you’re a trainee you’re still learning the skills, it’s very hard to be as efficient when you don’t know the base subject matter as well. A lot of it is, hey I really want a deep dive into this. But the answer is, well you’re deep diving into it on the client’s time because they’re paying you by, you know, the billable 6 minutes. And so you’re either having to off the books time, which the partner is always telling you not to do, or you’re doing it on the books and then they write it off, and then you get reprimanded. So, I think what really drove me to in-house quite quickly was this idea that in-house is an environment where as long as you’re still delivering sort of on time, because I, my problem in private practice wasn’t with the issue of delivering by a fixed date, it’s that within the timeframe until that fixed date, I still had to be economical with how much time I was spending on something. So, I was never a very good sleeper, but if I wanted to work till 1 in the morning, because I was interested in a subject, I couldn’t, or at least not be honest about it. And I thought that was, silly because I’ve got a curious mind, and I value people with curious minds. And I can’t replicate 20 years of knowledge over a subject matter if I don’t put the time in. So, that was quite obvious quite quickly. I will say now though law firms are being more flexible with their fee arrangements or more creative at least. And not to mention things like legal tech, which is 1 of the things that interests me, basically increase efficiencies, so they allow more junior people to not spend as much time on bundling documents or doing large DD exercises, and all these kinds of things that are historically ultra-time consuming and typically the remit of a junior lawyer, but free them up from a sort of work life balance perspective and a quality of work perspective to do more interesting things basically.

22:13 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I love that. And we need to now talk about legal tech, because you are the GC of Luminance, you know, the world’s most advanced AI technology for processing legal document platform. Tell us more about Luminance. Tell us more about your current role. How does it feel to have that title?

22:32 Harry Borovick:

I’ll start at the end because, I mean, I am quite a young GC. And it’s fantastic to have that vote of confidence. I came in with a Head of Legal title, practically my job is the same. But it was a vote of confidence from our board, our investors, the rest of the, our CEO Elena, is a young CEO, she put me forward for that promotion, that was fantastic, and validation, I think at any stage in your career is lovely. What I will say about Luminance is, essentially Luminance started as a mathematical algorithmic problem studied by a couple of boffins at Cambridge, basically. And, then, you know, as these things often happen, they thought, oh we’ve got something here but what’s the application i.e something that can algorithmically understand conceptual meaning of words rather than words per se. So in the example of, you know, liability, is the conceptual possibility that the absence of a limitation of liability clause means that there is unlimited liability. So you don’t actually have to have the words unlimited liability for it to conceptually understand, it understands that absence means something, it understands that 1 word can be conceptually similar to another. These things are much more common, now, now that you know this, shiny new object syndrome with the generative AI. But 6, 7 years ago, when Luminance was founded, this was absolutely revolutionary. And it’s also revolutionary because of its applications, because it initially started being applied to due diligence exercises and e-discovery. So large document reviews that law firms do all the time, companies do all the time, to scan millions of documents maybe, to figure out, hey is there conceptually this word in there? Is there this risk? What’s the value of all these contracts? Basically, all these millions of data points that you might want to find out in a contract, and convert like raw words into usable reports, which is basically what due diligence exercises are about, any discovery exercises we’re about, but more consistently than if you had to have 10 paralegals, who will have slightly different perceptions of words and slightly different approaches and maybe different backgrounds, and maybe they haven’t had enough sleep that night or had a great time the night before. You know, all these things. But Luminance, well the reason they sort of brought me on is because we had our new CEO join 3 years ago, and her and the rest of the team and we’ve grown hugely since then, then where we’ve got this core AI that has this conceptual understanding, how can we use this in a different market. And, you know, this is also sort of a careers and business podcast, and there’s, there’s a business lesson here which is, sometimes you don’t need to look for the shiny new tool, you’ve sometimes already got the tool, you just need to think about how to use it best. And it was the in-house angle, because, essentially if you are, using a tool that can analyse static documents that’s really a tool that has some use in-house, I, I’ve got all these deals, you know, I might be a huge company with millions of contracts, I want to know how much all those contracts are worth, when they terminate, all these kinds of things. But what’s more useful than that is actually I’m doing the day to day negotiating of my contracts, right? So, if I’ve got millions of my own contracts as a data point, plus out of the box learning that Luminance has from its own data, then how can I apply that to my live negotiations, right? So the principle which has really driven the business hugely in the last 2 years is what we call our core products, which basically means that, if I’m opening Microsoft Word, I click the plug-in and it comes up traffic lit, red, yellow, green. Red, you’ve never accepted this ever. This looks crazy. You’re like, you’ve never even conceptually seen this before. Yellow, you accepted this sometimes, but you know, this is, you’ve accepted this in NDAs, but you’ve not accepted this in a contract of monetary value. Maybe you want to look at this again. Green, you’ve always accepted this, right, conceptually, which is useful because it doesn’t need to be the exact word. And the reason this has been so good for Luminance is because our average user isn’t necessarily a lawyer. If you’re a procurement team, for example, right, and your legal team is still involved, you know, we often have this conversation about is AI going to replace lawyers. No, lawyers plus AI become a more useful business tool, because the lawyers set the parameters, the lawyers are constantly reviewing and checking they’re happy with what the latest regulatory regime is reflected in those contract processes. But if you’ve set up the parameters of what you like in an NDA and what you don’t, and a procurement team who’s sending out maybe 1000s of NDAs a month, depending on the size of your company, and some of our customers do do that. Then, you receive a third party and it comes up all green, your legal team has essentially pre-approve that. So you don’t have to go to lawyers. So legal is happy because their workload is lighter but they’re still visibly valuable. But the procurement team is happy because they haven’t had to go to the legal team. And everyone like the legal team, they don’t have to speak to.

27:21 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely. An interesting fact, before I set up my own legal recruiting business, I had, I did procurement recruitment. So I always say about the procurement vs lawyer intersect is, is, is quite interesting. Yeah, I know, I know it well, it’s sort of M6 versus the, law qualified, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting.

27:39 Harry Borovick:

For me the most interesting aspect of it was, this obviously means that the lawyer is getting more intrinsically involved in the day to day of what the AI is interpreting. And so I got brought in for this really exciting role because essentially I’m sort of an internal legal feedback loop. Like we use Luminance to negotiate our contracts for our clients, all this kind of stuff. So I work every day with I had a product, with our CTO or COO, how can we develop this product that works better for this particular type of client? Can we see, how, how useful and scalable is this, the multiple clients, that sort of like legal feedback loop, and also sort of driving. If we’re going to prioritise this legal understanding versus that legal understanding what’s more common, and really only someone who’s actually been in practice, can advise that so it’s a really odd role for a lawyer because it’s sort of like, a third of the job is sort of just, tech advisory rather than legal work. And that’s great, because I’ve never seen a legal role quite like it. And I’ve recently been speaking to a couple of other, sort of, legal tech GCs, and they seem to have a very similar experience. There aren’t many of us, yet, but I’m sure there will be many, many more. But, for now, it’s, it’s still a relatively small number globally and they will have very similar, positive experiences.

29:02 Rob Hanna:

No and I like that it’s variety as well. Time for a short break from the show. Are you still relying on spreadsheets to manage your legal matters, there’s a better way to work. Our sponsor Clio is the cloud-based legal software that will transform the way your law firm operates. They offer legal practice management and client on-boarding software that doesn’t cost the earth. In fact, from as little as £49 per month you can cut out all of those tedious admin tasks that you dread doing, each week, each month. Automate the boring stuff, free up more time for the important stuff, that’s what you get with Clio. Your clients will thank you for it, your bank account will thank you for it, your colleagues will thank you for it, and you can even thank me later for telling you all about it. So head to Clio dot com forward slash Legally Speaking to see how Clio can help you. That’s C L I O dot com forward slash Legally Speaking. Now back to the show. So I want to ask you this question that, you’re in the role now. If you were to hand that role over to somebody at the end of whenever that is for you, what do you want that to look like? And maybe what I’m getting at is here, I tend to say to everyone, we have nothing but a legacy. So what do you want the legacy for you as the GC of Luminance to be? How would you like that to be handed over? What do you want to have achieved?

30:29 Harry Borovick:

That is a question that no one has ever asked me before Rob. Well, there’s 2 aspects to this. There’s the state of the company and there’s the state of the role, right? And the state of the company, you know, like any burgeoning tech company with an exciting product, you want the company to grow huge, you know, IPO, whatever, the, all the lovely things that everyone wants from a high growth tech company. But in terms of the legal team, you know, I benefitted enormously from great mentors, and I’ve benefitted enormously from people just willing to give me their time. And so what I would like Luminance’s legal team to look like, the GC role handover to be where there is a, appropriately sized, well trained, happy and, collaborative legal function where everyone has a, I don’t actually like very siloed legal teams. I know when you get to a certain size, some kind of siloing is required. But, you know you might need like an IP litigator or whatever it might be. But, broadly I want most people to be doing most of the work that split around the company, be able to pick up whatever they can, but then be able to carve out their niches, be able to have specialties so that they feel individually valued. Like 1 of my trainees for example, she loves data protection, another 1 of my trainees loves corporate work. And, and thankfully they are completely different things that they’re interested in. So you know, it’s a default, when something comes in, I offer it to both of them just in case the other 1 wants to dip in. If they don’t, then I’m allowing them to specialise. But I’m still making them do the general commercial work of the business, maybe the odd bit of employment or whatever it might be. And, I think that sort of well-rounded legal team, who all speak to each other and are connected to a really good communication, I think is key because, I don’t want to be in a position where I hand over a legal team 1 day maybe and, people don’t know what the state of the business is. They don’t know where things are. Thankfully we have legal tech tools that support that which is great. But it’s, a well-oiled team is kind of what you want, not just a minimum viable product team that keeps growing at minimum viable product. You want to be, even if that means, you know I’m working through the night on the sorts of conceptual problems of how do I, reward this person so that they are interested in doing this particular project or taking on someone they can train themselves and then we have continuity, so we don’t lose people, you know, long retention is a good thing in legal teams. But that doesn’t mean that you are retaining them to the same track doing 1 thing. And I think people often think of retention as, essentially a, a, a pseudo word, but keeping someone doing what they’re doing. And that’s not what I want. I want to create a track where people can continue to progress. They’re able to train someone to take over their own, you have a continuous linear growth that as the top end, specialises the bottom end can keep growing and more people can learn from the people who’ve already gone through the experience. So, yeah, I think that’s where I love us to be. But hopefully I won’t be on the way out anytime soon.

33:37 Rob Hanna:

No, absolutely. And I love that. And I love that you talk about collaboration. And I love you make a great point about retention for say. It’s very, very expensive if you don’t have the right retention strategy in place, and I always say only retain if they can gain. There’s no point trying to retain someone in a box indefinitely, because it’s not going to happen. They need to gain, they need to grow. And I love that you, you talk about that. So I want to come to taking your mind back to November 2022 when you attended The Economist General Counsel Summit, and in your Luminance blog, you discussed “with regulation constantly changing and consumer priorities shifting accordingly, AI provides a swifter ESG reporting process”. So how are in-house legal teams using Luminance AI to address specifically ESG in their companies or firms?

34:32 Harry Borovick:

Sure, yeah. I mean, first of all that was a terrifying conference, because I was on a stage. I was on a stage with the GC of Rolls Royce and the GC of And I was like, I have massive impostor syndrome right now. But anyway, it was fabulous. Yes, only, this actually came up from an audience question where they said, you know, we’re discussing about how data can be extracted from your documents, and ESG it’s easy to pay lip service and you know, talk about the word, greenwashing is used quite a lot. But if you actually genuinely believe in, sort of equity and inclusion amongst your employees, if you believe in genuinely having suppliers that follow proper ESG practices, then the only way you can actually systematically understand what your position is and how good you are being and how you can do better is by having a good optic over everything that’s going on in your business. So if you are in enormous company with millions of contracts, and potentially 1000s of employees or even 100s of 1000s of employees, being able to understand, how many of your contracts are including specific annexes that have ESG requirements, for example, is a really good way of demonstrating not only to your employees that in the business you do you care about, your process, but you also aren’t just paying lip service to it, you are actioning them. But you can also say actually we’re not doing as well as we thought we were doing on this and we can do better, maybe we should actually send out an amendment to all our suppliers asking them to commit to something for us. The only way you’ll know to do that is by actually seeing what’s what the lay of the land currently is, though, whether it’s ESG requirements, data protection compliance, because you know, ESG is such a broad term that the G is often under, under discussed the governance, right. And a big part of governance is sort of compliance functionality. So, how do you care about your consumers data, your clients data, etc? Well, 1 of the few ways you can do that is by checking, do I have appropriate data protection, contractual requirements on my suppliers and my clients, in my contracts? If I’ve got millions of contracts, especially if I’m a data heavy company, figuring that out is a large DD exercise essentially internally and using Luminance legal technology that can analyse conceptual meaning and what in text, you’re able to determine that, and then more importantly action it. The, the really important thing here is that it doesn’t matter if it’s Luminance or legal tech generally, doesn’t do anything on its own, it still requires a human action and a human will to then take a next step because if you’ve just figured out you’ve got a massive problem but then you don’t take a step to resolve it, or you’ve figured out that you could be doing better at something you’re already doing quite well but there’s actually scope to do better, doesn’t really matter unless you actually take that step.

37:12 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, great, great advice. Yeah, I’m all about that. I always say to people as well actually take those steps and I love that you know, you speak very passionately about that. And you rightly say the emphasis on the G sometimes does get missed. So I like that you included that. Want to take a break from legal tech, careers and talk about something that’s very important, because you and I are both pawrents, so we must talk about our dachshunds. Most of our listeners know that I have a chocolate dachshund called Otto who features a lot on my content, also known as Prince Otto to me in the house. But I believe you also have a dachshund, who is the office dog, so can you tell us his name and the joy that he genuinely brings to the, to the office?

38:00 Harry Borovick:

First of all, Arnie is the joy of my life. I hope my partner doesn’t hear that, but she. His also the joy of her life so. But I remember when we, when I came to Luminance, I was in the office 3 or so days a week and I actually love being in the office because I like being in the buzz, I’ve sort of missed in the pandemic, I really like being with colleagues. And as I said the only reason I can’t be in the office more is because I’ve got my partner and I alternating doggy daycare duty, essentially at home. And our lease didn’t allow dogs and our CEO very bluntly said, well, you’re the lawyer sort it out. So I negotiated with our landlord, had signed all kinds of waivers and things, he’s like named on the lease, all this kind of stuff. And yeah, he’s a, he’s turning 6 next month. He is fabulous. Arnie is also actually the way I met my partner, as well. I met, I was walking in the street when he was a puppy and then the rest is history. But Arnie has his little bed next to my desk in the office. Whenever someone’s had a busy or long day they can come in and just hang out with Arnie. He loves people. He’s the best. Yeah, he’s a chocolate dappled dachshund, and features increasingly on Luminance’s social media and post but also, I actually was in an article recently in The Lawyer and he even got a shout out in that. So, yeah, he is the best. How old’s Otto did you say?

39:26 Rob Hanna:

Otto’s 2, so he’s got a bit of, a bit of catching up to do so, he’s still rebellious. He has snuck into The Lawyer before but he needs to, he needs to get a bit more legal, legal PR but I. I think, you’ve managed, I love how you’ve managed to link that to a legal story as well of how you managed to negotiate a contract and, make sure that you can ensure that your dog can work in your place. There’s some proof that everything is possible folks.

39:42 Harry Borovick:

Arnie is a very hard-nosed negotiator himself. He’s got these other puppy eyes to make it work. And he gets fed every day at about 5 o’clock and at 4 o’clock you can always just see him sort of giving everyone sort of the puppy eyes like someone’s going to feed me in the next hour. I don’t really care who it is. But someone show me some food.

40:00 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, absolutely. Otto also has 5 o’clock feeding time. So there we go. But we must go back to technology in AI because it is an important discussion. They are continued to develop at a rapid pace. What should legal teams and law firms be aware of?

40:20 Harry Borovick:

So, I sort of split AI, there’s, like the buzzword at the moment is around generative AI. But generative AI isn’t really the primary use case for most legal processes. Most of what, I’ll choose my words carefully here because actually I think plenty of lawyers give advice. And you do give lots of advice. But actually I think if most lawyers look at what they do, most of the day, they are analysing, thinking and then converting that into advice, right? So asking even a generative AI tool a final question, that it can then help you resolve is still on the basis of the analytical understanding you’ve had to create first. So if you’ve got a million documents and you want to have an understanding of what’s in them, and then once you’ve got that understanding, you want to use generative AI to help you solve that problem. There’s sort of 2 steps there. So I kind of always split between analytical AI and generative AI. generative AI is increasing at a pace. Analytical AI, 1 of the reasons I’m so passionate about Luminance is it’s, something that Luminance focuses in and specialises in but actually is, in many ways harder because generative AI can essentially draw words from an enormous data set and create new words i.e. the advice is given you from that basis. The problem is, is that, unless you can get rid of any possible hallucinations, words that are used a lot about generative AI, or both advice or biases, or several other potential issues with generative AI, you then still need to look at it analytically. And maybe using analytical AI. So I thought of analytical AI 1st, generative AI 2nd in terms of where we are currently in the landscape. I think that probably continues, and eventually you end up in a point where both have a lot of utility. My main concern actually really with generative AI is about sort of data privacy, biases, the social issues that may arise with that, and also the level of confidence and false positives that generative AI may provide. And I think at the end of the day even if these generative AI gives an ordinary person a piece of advice, realistically if it’s important, especially if you know that there are hallucinations, then probably want to get that signed off by a lawyer anyway. So as I would, but I’m a lawyer, so I’m probably quite risk averse. So, I do think, you know the pace is enormous. And I do think probably in the next couple of years, we might be having a very different conversation than we’re having today. But for now, I think analytical AI is very proven, lots of companies have not even in the legal tech space, but in the tech space generally use analytical AI in a bunch of different ways. And that’s very proven, very trusted, and is an assistance tool, in the same way that generative AI can assist you to a process but you can’t quite trust the foundation on which that process is built. Whereas analytical AI is sort of, especially when it’s sort of, supervised machine learning, they can be steered towards the parameters very clearly that you want without any hallucinations, because you can describe the datasets quite easily, and I don’t want to get too into the, the geekiness of it. But, yes, I think analytical for now, generative pretty soon.

43:37 Rob Hanna:

There we go. Stick with analytical for now folks, you’ve heard it here, from Harry’s side. Harry, I also want to, before we sort of look to, to close, I want to ask because you do a lot of giving back and events and you were on the panel not so long ago with the London Young Lawyers Group, ‘alternative legal career routes’. So, what advice would you share with aspiring lawyers thinking of a career in the legal profession, in legal tech or becoming a legal counsel or switching if in industry now?

44:02 Harry Borovick:

Yeah, I, I’m very lucky to be involved in various education groups. I do some lecturing and I’m very passionate about that. And I love working with London Young Lawyers. And broadly other than sort of the subject specific stuff I teach at University of Law or wherever it may be. When I’m talking more holistically about career advice. First of all, I don’t think there’s a 1 size fits all. And I think people are always trying to follow someone else’s path. And I think that’s part of the problem. I think, acquiring mentors where possible is really important because a good mentor doesn’t tell you just what they did. But they too, often they tell you, you don’t necessarily need to do what I do, but this is why I did what I did. Do you think similarly about what you want? And if not, I’m actually giving you something you can disregard because sometimes it’s also hard to know what not to listen to. I think early in your career, and this is very easy to say, but it’s a reality, I think people can often get overly focused on how much they could potentially earn early in their career. And that drives them down a career path that they then want to pivot later, that can work. But you may be sort of, once you get on that track, it’s maybe harder to get off it. I think often being honest with yourself as early as possible about what you think you might want. And also, the reality that you might change your mind several times in your career is good, because you’re not going to stress and panic later when you do. It’s always part of the plan. And I think that’s really important, because you often hear, from, I’m very lucky to be on panels all the time with amazing people. And the thing I often see with them, especially in the legal tech space, but you know, people who start their own law firms, all kinds of things, is that this was never part of the plan. And it was really stressful. But I just knew I couldn’t do what I was doing anymore, I wanted to do something else. And often it’s, they’re only doing the thing that they we’re doing in the first place because they’d set themselves an idea of what they should be doing. If you can step away from that, and just think about, there’s this world of options out there. Let me find something that’s probably quite transferable. Let me find something that really speaks to, what of interest to me right now. And then we can shift over to, then I think that’s going to be probably the best path that finding the sort of real you career path, quote unquote, rather than just the track that’s there because, you think, you should be going down.

46:28 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I really like that advice. And as cheesy as it sounds, I say if you dissect the word career, you should care very deeply about what you do. And I think it’s super important to have a career, something you care about, passionate about. And like you say it’s not, you know, I don’t, not met anyone who says this, there career has gone in such a straight line, because there will be sort of some, some ducks and weeds along the way. So finally Harry, if our listeners want to learn more about Luminance, all the courses that you teach that you mentioned there, where can they find out?

46:48 Harry Borovick:

Yeah, so Luminance dot com is a good place to go. And we’ve got loads of information about Luminance on our website, particularly some demos, it’s very easy to set up. We always do free pilots. So, anyone’s welcome to take a test run with, a product for several weeks. And we encourage people to use it as much as possible because, I think if you’ve got a good product, you should encourage people to sort of test the pressure. In terms of teaching, I’m working closely with Barbri on the PSC course, they do fantastic work. I also teach on the commercial drafting course with Flex Legal, with an amazing recruitment company. They do amazing work for trainees, and I think they do great work in the legal community. And I’m very lucky to also be working with Queen Mary on their legal tech course as well. So, I’m looking forward to continuing working with students and young lawyers, hopefully for many years to come.

47:35 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. And I’m sure a lot of them are going to want to follow you or get in touch about some of the things you’ve discussed today. It’s been very thought provoking. What’s the best way for them to contact you. Feel free to shout out any social media handles, or website links. We’ll also share them with this episode for you too.

47:48 Harry Borovick:

Yeah, I’m just very easy to reach on LinkedIn, that’s probably the best, Harry Borovick on LinkedIn. I love receiving DMs from students where I’ve spoken, anyone who wants to reach out and be connected to good mentorship schemes, et cetera or learn more about AI and Luminance, reach out to me on LinkedIn and be great to hear from whoever wants to speak.

48:09 Rob Hanna:

Awesome. Well, thank you so much Harry. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. We’d like to wish you lots of continued success with your future pursuits and indeed making sure that legacy happens. But for now, from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast, over and out. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you like the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub, the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord. Go to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.

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