This article originally appeared in the September issue of Business Review Canada!
We live in a world where technology rules—that’s pretty obvious. Between the latest smartphone, app, wearable device and 3- and 4-D formats, it’s all about tech!
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And it goes without saying that innovators and accelerators are key to the continued advancement of business: Without these forward-thinkers, none of this is possible.
Among these visionaries is Edyta Kowalewska, the Canadian-based lawyer who developed Lawyerlinx.com, a new website created to provide easy access to justice and credible information to help with all-things legal.
We had the opportunity to gain insight from Kowalewska regarding the motivation behind this service, as well as what it means to be a new leader in the tech field.
BRCA: What originally gave you the inspiration to create LawyerLinx.com?
EK: The inspiration behind LawyerLinx was an “A-Ha” moment when I realized that you could access much more information online about a car or refrigerator you were planning to buy versus a lawyer you were thinking about hiring.
Equally pivotal was my recognition that in comparison to various consumer products and services you can research and compare with relative ease, legal services (which carry significant financial costs and produce long lasting consequences for the client) lacked a centralized, streamlined tool to allow a consumer to obtain the information they require to make informed decisions about how, when and from whom they obtain such legal services.
Many individuals and businesses forgo obtaining legal advice altogether due to a perceived difficulty involved in finding and working with a lawyer. The lack of accessibility to the legal profession and lack of legal literacy are all underlying issues which ultimately effect access to justice. Using technology, I set out to make the legal profession, legal services and legal literacy in Canada more accessible to both individuals and businesses.
Through my experience as a lawyer, I found the supply and demand sides of the legal market misaligned and disconnected. This inspired me to create a platform that would provide a user-friendly system to connect consumers of legal services to the legal profession. The result is an innovative legal marketplace that does just that: connects individuals and businesses alike to great Canadian lawyers and legal services.
BRCA: What are some of your day-to-day activities or responsibilities?
EK: As a legal tech start-up, the capabilities of our platform and consumer experience are at the forefront of everything we do. Ensuring that the platform features are functioning well, receiving and using user feedback to continuously develop and improve the platform means daily development meetings.
I also spend a lot of time staying on top of news and developments in the legal industry, technology sector and consumer experience research. Some other daily tasks include:
BRCA: What are your thoughts on what it means to be a tech leader? What particular qualities does it take to earn this title and how do you become a leader in this industry?
EK: A technology leader is an innovative and resourceful thinker who has mastered the art of execution and who either develops new technology or creates new ways of applying existing technology that answers or creates a need or opportunity in the market.
In my opinion, the focus of a tech leader is not the technology itself, but the benefit or value it brings to its users. I think this is the only way to have truly innovative ideas. Not necessarily focusing on the “how” of your vision, but starting with and being guided by what you are working to create and why. To me, a tech leader is a visionary with a purpose.
As a tech leader, I have a clear long-term vision of how the company will use technology to bring value to consumers of legal services. However, my vision and goals are agile and flexible enough to listen to and adapt to feedback, as well as the ever changing market needs and opportunities.
In terms of qualities required to succeed in this industry, you certainly have to be unrelenting and unstoppable. You have to have a clear vision of not only what you are striving to create but also why. Taking risks, being comfortable with uncertainty as well as anticipating, noticing and seizing opportunities as they arise are essential.
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