Guest article provided by: legislate.tech
Women. Law. Technology. Not three words that would have been put together in the past and certainly not three words that would make up a woman’s professional career. However, the emphasis here is on the past- it’s not just women in legal tech anymore, it’s successful women in legal tech who are disrupting not one, but two, traditionally male professions.
In this article, we ask the women at Legislate, who make up over half of the company’s employees five questions about being a woman in tech and myth-bust some common misconceptions.
- “What is a normal day at Legislate?”
As a fast-moving startup based between Oxford and Seville, the team starts the day by joining a company-wide daily standup. On this call, each member of the team takes turns to explain what they were working on the day before and what they will be working on that day. The standup is a great opportunity to share and credit the work of one another, see how everyone’s work fits together and crucially bond the team through a daily fun fact or joke.
Prior to the standup, the tech team works hard to organise and prioritise the day’s work, deciding what needs to be done and tested, so that after the standup the team can get to work! Paula, who works as a full stack developer, then continues with the daily tasks, bugs and new features to ensure the continuous improvement of the application whilst María, Leigslate’s QA Engineer, tests the features and fixes that the development team has completed to ensure that the application works correctly and creates automated tests to improve future testing. Vaishali, Legislate’s Knowledge Engineer, works closely with the tech team and primarily with the application’s knowledge graphs. As a new and novel technology (United States Patent No. 11,087,219), Vaishali’s work involves brainstorming ideas of its application and trial and error to navigate new applications of the graph to improve the product. Amber, Legislate’s Legal Engineer, is responsible for preparing the contracts for the Legislate platform that the tech team develops meaning her day often involves drafting new contracts for Legislate’s growing user base. Finally, Catherine, Legislate’s Growth Analyst, is responsible for growing the Legislate community and planning its development whilst supporting clients.
Overall, the women at Legislate agree that every day at Legislate is different- no two days are the same. With responsibility for their own areas of work, the team is constantly learning, developing and experimenting. Paula emphasises how encouraging it is to have a half female team and that it drives her to keep improving.
- “What is one thing you know now about working as a woman in a legal tech startup that you did not know before?”
The Legislate team all responded to this question suggesting that they were surprised by how many women actually work in tech and the opportunities open to them. Vaishali discussed how we often hear within the tech industry that females are often underrepresented or that they lack interest in the field. Nearly a year after being at Legislate, Vaishali couldn’t agree less with this assumption and María added that from the beginning of her journey into tech she encountered lots of women and had no difficulty in feeling that she belonged in the industry.
- “Did you struggle to find a role in your industry as a woman?”
The team spoke positively of their general experiences of trying to find a role in technology and law as women. Whilst noting that the legal industry is competitive, Amber said she didn’t face any hurdles due to her gender when finding a job and Catherine would have to agree. Similarly, Paula, Maria and Vaishali all agreed that there were plenty of opportunities available to them and that women are becoming increasingly present in the industry as the gender gap narrows. Whilst the team agreed that they did not face any problems, they did recall that in some situations it can be intimidating, especially in heavily male dominated companies.
- Did you feel that you were entering an industry where you would have to work harder than your male counterparts?
The whole team agreed that they have never felt that they have had to work harder than their male counterparts to enter the industry. Whilst getting your foot in the door is always a challenge, the team felt as though they did not have to work disproportionately harder than their male counterparts to get the same opportunities. More importantly, the team felt that they did not have to work harder than their male counterparts once in their role and thought that individuals were credited and given the same opportunities regardless of their sex.
- What would you recommend a business founder in the industry do to help remove stereotypes and barriers for women in tech?
The team agreed that choosing the correct team was the most important thing a business founder could do in the industry to remove stereotypes and barriers. The team were quick to assert this didn’t mean choosing a completely female team, in fact quite the opposite, but choosing a group of supportive, eager and like minded individuals that share in the goal of bettering and developing the company. Some added that involving females who are part of the company in the hiring process could be a good step to achieve this and would also help entry level women feel more at ease in entering the industry. Ultimately, breaking down the stereotype means hiring an entire team of people who share in the same vision and encourage one another to grow. Being transparent about who forms your team and the work that they do to the wider public is also a sure way to remove stereotypes more broadly for future generations.
In conclusion, the women at Legislate felt that they were not disadvantgaed in their industry by virtue of their sex. Particularly having spent time working at a legal tech startup, the women were frustrated by the misconceptions that circulated as through experience they viewed them as untrue. Overall, the team believed that the crucial thing was to mythbust the misconceptions about women working in legal tech- it would be a shame to lose talent to an outdated stereotype.
Legislate is a contracting platform where landlords can create contracts relevant to the property they rent, ranging from tenancy agreements to letter agreements for serving notices. Read our tutorial to learn how to create your tenancy agreements in minutes with Legislate. Book a demo and Sign up today to put the confidence back into contracting.