Michael Ross Ventures into Legal Tech

Last Tuesday at the DPELC-MSL Speaker Series, students had the chance to hear from Michael Ross, a Northwestern Law alumnus who is now a Product Manager at LexCheck. His work for this pre-Series A start-up is focused on their main products: a Microsoft Word add-in and a web platform, both of which can be used to review contracts and purchase agreements.

Michael shared the story of how he went from being the son of a Computer Systems Architect to a JD at Northwestern Law, and how his experience in law firms sparked his interest in entering the world of legal tech. Along the way, Michael did a stint at Honda, where he observed the manufacturing of tangible goods and gained insight into how information can behave in a similar, intangible process. Michael’s interest in automation and acceleration propelled him forward in each of his roles, building out the skills and vocabulary necessary for working in tech, designing products for use in a corporate legal environment.

Michael shared three pieces of advice for MSL students looking to work in legal tech:

  1. Leverage experts to help you understand what you need to know; you do not need to be a software developer to help build great products.
  2. Manage expectations: create a set of goals for yourself and your client that you (or your product) can achieve.
  3. Speaking the language of law and having experience in tech is indispensable: you don’t need to be an expert in either side of the equation, but you must be able to communicate with both audiences in order to succeed.
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