Bishu Solomon Girma and Lauren Colbeck featured

Two legal tech leaders on their route to success

Bishu Solomon Girma and Lauren Colbeck

Bishu Solomon Girma and Lauren Colbeck

Bishu Solomon Girma and Lauren Colbeck both hold senior positions at Access Legal, part of business software specialist, The Access Group.

Since launching in April 2021, the new legal division has appointed a number of female tech specialists to help deliver its vision of helping law firms to become more efficient and commercially successful. Lauren Colbeck was one of the first to join the senior team, taking the position of head of product, having previously working at law cloud software firm Peppermint Technology, where she spent three years in a similar role. Bishu Solomon Girma joined in September as head of customer success to drive forward Access Legal’s customer-first approach, with over a decade’s legal industry experience in both the UK and Canada.

We’re thrilled to see these two talented and experienced women have been given the opportunity to share their skills and inspire others. So, how did they get to the top?

Diverse backgrounds

For Lauren, her strategic thinking gained her a role after university that would build on her natural skillset, in an environment that introduced her to tech. Explaining more, she said:

“I started out as a business analyst at Experian, which is a data, analytics and technology company. Being able to gain insights from data was key, so I quickly got a good understanding of the opportunities that consumers and businesses could get from good quality information, managed well.

“I held product roles in Experian that enabled me to explore direct-to-consumer and business-to-business solutions, as well as various technology platforms from on-premise through to mobile. I eventually became product manager for Experian’s SaaS application processing and decisioning solution that helped organisations across the globe to scale up. This was related to businesses in multiple industries, and I focused on the legal sector when I joined a specialist law tech firm to lead the product management function. Of course, it is a complex and very knowledge-based sector, but the fundamental challenges in legal firms are much the same as many other organisations, so the transition was smooth.”

Bishu, on the other hand, cut her teeth in the legal profession, working at firms in the UK and Canada. She said:

“I began my career articling at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto, before serving as in-house counsel at a North American auto manufacturer, where I focused on corporate commercial law.

“By gaining this industry experience, I could see lots of opportunities that law firms were missing, and how tech could help. I soon moved into the technology space managing teams of lawyers and then consultants as they navigated the use of technology for document production in complex litigation and regulatory investigations. Having started off hands-on working with documents and using the technology directly, I grew my career and eventually became Vice President of Client Services and Forensics for the European division of legal solutions provider Epiq.

“With so many years spent seeing how the legal sector could do more for their clients, I love being able to transform the way legal professionals operate. In the end, tech has the potential to unlock access to legal expertise and innovation across the industry.”

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One common goal

Despite their different backgrounds, both Bishu and Lauren share the same common philosophy that technology and data are key to helping law firms unlock their potential. It’s not just information technology that’s needed to reach such senior positions in tech, however. They both lead large teams of staff, so people management skills are also essential, as well as an astute understanding of their client’s needs – which increasingly includes improving efficiency. Bishu told us:

I get most excited about demonstrating the value of our suite of legal software that will help lawyers and legal professionals spend less time on repetitive and administrative tasks and allow them to spend more time focusing on providing expert legal advice.”

Changing beliefs

Lauren’s ambitions echo Bishu’s statement, and explained:

“On the face of it, many people working in the legal sector might say they don’t need technology to provide the best client experience. But the market demands are changing – I’m sure many are aware of the growing competition between firms and clients’ propensity to shop around. It has to be remembered that legal firms are businesses that want to grow.”

“Being able to do things digitally and remotely meets consumer expectations and allows them to deliver a better service. You never rely on it entirely but instead use it strategically to support decisions and deliver better client experiences.”

Lauren went on to say that while technology might not have been a priority for all legal firms in the past, growing numbers are interested in data:

“Many of them are open-minded about the opportunities available to them, and that’s really increased over the past 18 months.”

Bishu echoed this sentiment, adding:

“Digital transformation might feel like a leap for law firms that don’t have the same technical resources as retailers, for example. But that’s why we’re here – with the help of SaaS providers, firms can make considerable gains.”

Learn more about The Access Group’s legal division online at www.theaccessgroup.com/en-gb/legal/.