When Alex Su graduated from law school, he planned on becoming, as he puts it, “a big shot trial lawyer.” But when he began working at one of the nation’s biggest firms, instead of sitting second chair at trial, he found himself handling large document review cases. A few years and a career change later, the tasks he handled as an associate—creating privilege logs, binders, and productions—remain immensely valuable experiences. Now an Account Executive at Logikcull, Alex uses his past BigLaw discovery experience everyday, helping improve the discovery process for other attorneys.
We sat down with Alex to talk about his career, his move from legal practice to legal technology, and his experience at Logikcull so far.
So why did you decide to go law school?
I’ve always known that I wanted to go to law school. My parents are immigrants and they always had me or my sister translate things for them so I understood the importance of having a strong command of the English language. I’ve always wanted to communicate well and be super articulate, so I thought, who’s the best at that? Trial lawyers! And that’s what I decided to be when I grew up.
And then you got into Northwestern Law, correct?
Yeah that’s right. I got into Northwestern, off the waitlist, actually, so it took some hustling to get admitted. But I got in! And had a really great time there.
So you graduate from law school, what did you do from there?
I ended up doing pretty well in law school. I got good grades, made law review, and ended up clerking for a fantastic federal judge after graduation. After that, I went to work for an Am Law 100 firm in New York. As it turns out, in BigLaw, most litigation associates don’t do any trial work. Instead, we do a ton of eDiscovery or document review type work and I really hated it. I told all of my friends, I told my family, I told everyone about how much I hated it. That kind of work just didn't feel like what I had signed up for—I wanted to be a trial lawyer! But, like most new law grads, I had student loans to pay. Once I paid them off, I was out of there.
"When we went up against [BigLaw], my smaller firm had fewer attorneys working on the case, but would leverage technology to level the playing field. That was the first time I ever thought, hey this legal tech stuff is pretty interesting."
Is that when you decided to switch career paths?
That’s right—after that I joined a smaller plaintiff’s law firm that had a reputation for beating BigLaw firms. I mean, they were great at the legal work, but what gave them an enormous competitive advantage was that they were early adopters of technology.
This was particularly true when it came to eDiscovery tools. In litigation, who wins usually is decided by who can find the most important documents quickly. The bigger firms tend to rely on legacy eDiscovery software, because as an organization, they are risk averse and less forward-looking. So BigLaw is generally slow when searching for and finding documents during fact discovery. When we went up against them, my smaller firm had fewer attorneys working on the case, but would leverage technology to level the playing field. That was the first time I ever thought, hey this legal tech stuff is pretty interesting.
Got it. And is that how you found Logikcull?
Yup! I started reading all I could about the legal tech industry, and it wasn’t long until Logikcull popped up on my radar. I remember that one of the the first things I did was Google "Logikcull Reviews." Especially since I remembered how terrible most eDiscovery software was. I mean, it's just a fact of law firm life that litigators simply accepted. But when I saw those Logikcull reviews—how many there were and how strong they were, I was like "Wow, this is kind of crazy!" An eDiscovery platform that has a ton of people who leave positive reviews and have become cheerleaders for it? That’s just not something you ever see in the space. So that was when I decided, well, this is a company to watch.
"An eDiscovery platform that has a ton of people who leave positive reviews and have become cheerleaders for it? Back then it felt unprecedented."
Back then it felt unprecedented. So when I was making a career transition, I knew I wanted to be on the Logikcull team. At the time, I knew they were hiring for SDRs—entry level sales—and I figured, well, I like to work with people and I know all about the problems users have when it comes to eDiscovery. Sales sounded like a way to do that—not from a pure “let me pitch this to you” way, but more of a “let me understand your problems, and see how technology can help solve them.”
So a problem solver.
Yeah, a problem solver! And I know this is something a lot of lawyers want to do—work with people and solve important problems. They don’t get to do that in their legal jobs—and yet they don’t know what else to do. Part of that comes from the belief that it’s a huge risk to leave the practice of law. But there’s less risk than you think. From where I sit, I can see enormous demand, a huge need in the legal tech space for lawyers—especially for those who have experience in the practice areas where legal tech companies operate. In retrospect, leaving law was far less of a risk than it originally seemed. Here I still very much feel like a part of the legal profession, but I have found a role that truly plays to my strengths and allows me to help an entire industry I’m passionate about.
"I can see enormous demand, a huge need in the legal tech space for lawyers—especially for those who have experience in the practice areas where legal tech companies operate."
Do you have any advice to someone then who has been a lawyer or in the legal profession who may be looking to transition out?
Don’t try to emulate someone else’s successful career. Instead, the most important thing to do is actually look inward and say ok, where do I have strengths and weakness? Where are the opportunities around me? Where will my strengths have tremendous value? Where will my weaknesses be unimportant? For example, if you’re like me and you’re not particularly good at doing a lot of detail oriented work, don’t try to emulate a successful BigLaw attorney’s career path. But if you're good at active listening and problem solving, then something like legaltech sales could be an extraordinary opportunity for you. Even if … especially if you don’t know anyone else who’s done that before. So my advice would be, really look at where you excel and focus on where that strength is needed.
This post originally appeared on Building the Loop, our blog highlighting Logikcull culture, employee achievements, and product developments.
Alex is based in our San Francisco office and was recently awarded as one of our Values Leaders for the past quarter. Feel free to connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn. He’s always happy to chat about Logikcull, the company or our software.