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From law student to legal engineer - Jeremy Huitson, Juro

Jeremy Huitson, 21 January 2020

Inside Juro

University is a mountain of challenges, coursework, and caffeine, until you finally graduate. The hard part's over, but there's still an obstacle between you and the summit  - choosing a career path. 

Juro’s newest legal engineer, Jeremy, highlights the experiences that led him to a career at a fast-paced tech startup.

Three years, a ton of caffeine, the occasional university melodrama… and I graduated with a law degree. But what now? 

Choosing a career path was a challenge for me. I was hoping for a job that would incorporate several of my interests, from technology to law to politics. I also wanted to surround myself with intelligent, interesting people, but I wasn’t sure about the levels of opportunities available outside of the traditional solicitor/barrister dichotomy.

"SaaS businesses operate in a leaner and more dynamic way, challenging traditional orthodoxy to achieve exponential growth. It felt like legal tech startups were going against the grain"

Exploring the world of legal tech 

I’ve always had an interest in technology  - tech is reshaping every industry,  for better and for worse! I started to look into legal tech, and my first job in that space came from a company called Libryo. 

Libryo is a startup that helps global companies stay on top of regulatory law. My role involved summarising complex legalese into plain English. I worked remotely, being paid on a freelance, “gig-economy” basis. This job opened up a lot of doors for me. It allowed me to take a gap year and travel around Vietnam for two months and it also offered plenty of insight into how technology was disrupting the legal sector.

I came to realise that a lot of legal technology innovation is being driven by independent startups rather than institutional law firms. SaaS businesses operate in a leaner and more dynamic way, challenging traditional orthodoxy to achieve exponential growth. This fascinated me, given the naturally risk-averse nature of the legal industry. It felt like legal tech startups were going against the grain.

I also found the startup environment appealing; law firms can offer formulaic, set-in-stone training structures, which are great if you have a definitive career path in mind. But I wanted to explore my options, try different things, and learn to think on the job in a more entrepreneurial way. 

After a multi-stage recruitment process, I joined Juro as a legal engineer. It wasn't long before the the job emphasised several unique opportunities I have been afforded:

Prospect engagement 🤝

On my second day, I sat in on a meeting between Juro and decision-makers at a £500m-plus valuation company. They were interested in purchasing our product. The level of engagement with potential customers was incredible, and really highlighted the value of face-to-face interaction. 

"I felt more like an individual making a tangible difference rather than a cog in a massive commercial machine"

Two countries, two teams, one goal 🌍

Shortly after this meeting, I was given the opportunity to visit the product team in Riga, Latvia, with the plan of meeting the team and running through the technical side of Juro - such as the future expansion of machine learning capabilities and design/UX. It was insightful, and wonderfully geeky 🤓 I felt more like an individual making a tangible difference rather than a cog in a massive commercial machine. 

Twitter, Etsy … and now Juro 💸

We completed our successful Series A funding with Union Square Ventures - one of the best venture capital firms in the world, famous for investing in Twitter during their early stages. The news of our funding round dropped, and the phones were ringing all day with journalists asking for comments, prospects wanting demo requests, and major Silicon Valley investors wanting to make an introduction!

Wearing many hats 🎩

In just one week, we announced our Series A funding and moved to a bigger office. I was simultaneously helping to onboard three new clients - all exciting high-growth tech companies. I really enjoyed the multitude of responsibilities; from being a product expert and onboarding customers, to analysing process and learning about Juro's API. 

A role like this definitely won’t appeal to everyone. You have to handle rapid change that can seem chaotic at times, and be capable of adapting to the circumstances. But I think there are a lot of students out there who would relish the opportunity. 

Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the growth of the legal industry affects traditional career options for law students. There’s a lot of noise around how legal tech will disrupt the nature of legal work - but there’s less of a focus around whether it will shift recruitment opportunities within the industry.

Who knows - perhaps working in a startup will soon become a mainstream career path for my fellow law grads.

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Topics: Inside Juro

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