“I have been really, really lucky in every move that I’ve made to be with really bright people and just be allowed to learn from them,” says today’s guest Aaron Crews who currently serves as chief product and innovation officer and head of enterprise at data and professional services company UnitedLex. On today’s episode of The Future is Bright, Aaron discusses his career trajectory, what it was like living in Silicon Valley at the peak of the tech boom, his innovation role at Littler and the tools he helped to develop. He also describes what he learned about improving business through technology while working for Walmart as Senior Associate General Counsel and head of e-discovery and why Bentonville, a small town in northwest Arkansas is the coolest city in the world.

AI, Aaron says, is following the same circuit—from service providers, to law firms and then in-house—as e-discovery did nearly fifteen years ago. As writing constitutes such a large part of a lawyer’s training, what will the generation of lawyers look like as AI writing programs all but do the work for them? Aaron shares his thoughts on the ability of AI to help people move up the food chain as well as potentially reengineer the fundamentals of an entire industry.

What does this mean for a firm whose philosophy is human first, technology second? Join today’s discussion to learn more.

Quotes

“One of my superpowers is, I’m too dumb to be afraid.” (8:07 | Aaron Crews)

“It’s a small but deep community and all of those people taught me a lot in the process. Sometimes it was a lesson in a case, the other side, at the end of something. And sometimes it was just sitting down and talking to people. ‘How do you think about that? Why do you do it that way? What do you think that should be?’ People are just kind enough to share the way they think so that I can absorb it.” (11:44 | Aaron Crews)

“The service providers were the first mover [of e-discovery], law firms then came next and then in-house started saying, ‘How much of this can we bring in and run ourselves?’ And I think you’re seeing that same process replay with AI now and so UnitedLex, in that service provider space really has been the opportunity for the last several years to really get deep in how far you can push the data science envelope in the name of helping and improving and expanding legal services.” (34:24 | Aaron Crews)

“We build and train lawyers largely through the writing process. Reading. Writing. We build arguments through writing, we refine arguments through writing. We initially assert them through writing and then the oral argument phase is the nuances and the ‘well, what about’s. That entire paradigm is eviscerated in a decade. And what is the model that we’re going to use to build and train lawyers if they’re not writing anything from scratch?” (48:02 | Aaron Crews)