As Managing Director and Principal at Biztech Lawyers, Anthony Bekker understands the importance of being across the best legal resource technology. In this article, we explore how Practical Law has become a critical tool for Anthony and his team – from conducting legal research to adapting and repurposing documents for cutting-edge legal matters.
Q: Can you tell us about Biztech Lawyers and the services you provide?
A: Biztech Lawyers provides high-quality legal services to tech companies across the growth lifecycle. Our team of specialist technology lawyers and ex-General Counsels draw on extensive experience across various industries, including fintech, SAAS, data privacy, and corporate transactions. Our focus is on helping tech companies grow from inception to $100M+ exits and NASDAQ listings. We have a team of 20 lawyers across Australia, the US, and the UK, so we can handle client workloads around the clock; particularly in high-intensity, time-sensitive matters.
Q: This high-level of specialisation would require you to be completely across the best technology for your business?
A: It has become more and more important to be completely across the best legal resource technology as our business grows and this is increasingly the case with our multi-jurisdictional offering. We specialise in giving our clients comprehensive yet actionable advice on the cross-border legal issues that are critical to them.
Q: Can you describe your process when you conduct legal research?
A: Generally, we draw on our personal and team’s experience first. Most of the lawyers in our organisation have been senior in-house counsel so have a broad exposure to various legal issues. We then look to our own internal precedent bank. Next it will often be Practical Law.
Given the diversity of our client base, we work on a very broad range of legal matters.
Given our clients are doing very cutting-edge work, it’s most often a case of adapting and repurposing something that already exists. In those cases, Practical Law is very helpful.
For example, we were recently working on an end-user licence agreement for a space company. We were able to confidently access Practical Law documents either in Australia, the UK or the US and adapt them for Australian law purposes.
We also subscribe to Westlaw here and in the US and use secondary sources such as Laws of Australia. But Practical Law is the driving force for us. We can start in either Practical Law or Westlaw and then drill through to the other.
Q: Why did you make the change when you chose Practical Law? What were the pain points you were looking to resolve?
A: I had a circuitous route to starting Biztech Lawyers and moving back into private practice, which is also where I started out. But I transitioned out of private practice, went in-house and into government in the UK, did an MBA, got out of law all together, became a strategy consultant. Then I became the General Counsel at Rokt, an e-commerce marketing technology start-up that I helped grow from Australia to eight countries and now Rokt is considering a listing on the NASDAQ.
When I was General Counsel there, at that time we didn’t have deep legal research resources, but I desperately wished that I had. Because we were doing a pretty diverse bunch of things at that point. Having identified a real gap in the market for technology-focused legal counsel, but moving from in-house, I came to start Biztech Lawyers with very little in terms of documents or precedents.
So, I think I subscribed to Practical Law pretty much from the beginning to fill that gap. And kept the subscription live. I started off originally with Practical Law Australia, but for the sort of work that we’re doing, the UK content often fills the gaps. And now we’ve subscribed to the US as well because we have clients that want to expand into the US. The issues in the technology sector become at one point, global issues. As an Australian business, you’ve got Australian companies, transacting with businesses all over the world, and so you need to have an understanding of what the laws are in those countries. Even if you’re only advising technically on Australian law.
Q: You find Practical Law is the best tool across the board?
A: Yes, it’s a stand-out. The competitor products are not nearly as comprehensive or as good. Practical Law’s content is easily discoverable, well-structured, and the topics are well thought-through. The ‘matter maps’ are particularly helpful for planning a transaction from end to end.
Practical Law breaks down the issues in a way that is very easy to use and easy to digest, with related content that is easily accessible.
You might be looking at an overview article, for example, and then look at the related items to help you identify which concept or topic, or tangent, you need to go to next.
The search functionality is good, and the templates are strong. The drafting notes are especially helpful for guiding junior lawyers on considerations with specific clauses, which elevates the quality of our work.
Practical Law is critical to our business as it provides authoritative and comprehensive guidance, that clients assume we know when operating in the top tier. It’s a great resource for client service and has become a valuable training tool for guiding other lawyers.
Q: Can you think of a particular situation where Practical Law saved your bacon, when you wouldn’t have been able to get the information you needed from anywhere else?
A: There have been times when I’ve been on the phone with clients discussing a topic I’m not familiar with, and being able to refer to Practical Law in real-time has been incredibly helpful. It at least allows me to point someone in the right direction.
Q: Looking to the future and anticipating an ever-increasing demand on your work do you see this as an investment in the future?
Q: What would work be like without it, do you think?
A: I’ve looked at some of the other available offerings and found them to be lacking in terms of both the quality of the content and comprehensiveness. While GPT-4 has great potential at a conceptual level, it is prone to ‘hallucinations’ and therefore, not always completely reliable, though that may change soon. So, without Practical Law, we would likely have to rely on a patchwork of solutions, rather than having the convenience of a single, comprehensive resource.
For other lawyers, especially those starting off not working in large firms, where you don’t have the depth, Practical Law can be an equalising force. I’m surprised when practitioners start out on their own, and don’t subscribe. I wonder how they manage without it, unless they’ve curated their own collection of documents and precedents while working elsewhere. Personally, I didn’t have that benefit.
As an organisation that offers end-to-end legal services to technology start-ups, scale-ups, and founders across most business law disciplines, we have a depth of understanding that is not uncommon for an organisation of our size. Practical Law has helped us achieve this depth of understanding and has given us the confidence to service clients across the spectrum of matters they have on their plate. As we continue to grow and expand our team, Practical Law has been a useful tool to help us build our knowledge and service clients across the full range of legal needs.
About Biztech Lawyers
Biztech Lawyers is a team of specialist technology lawyers and ex-General Counsels (GCs) that provides high-quality legal services to tech company founders, CXOs, and their legal teams across the growth lifecycle. The team has a deep understanding of the complexities and needs of tech businesses and draws on extensive experience across various industries, including fintech, SAAS, data privacy, and corporate transactions. Biztech Lawyers’ focus is on helping tech companies grow from inception to $100M+ exits and NASDAQ listings. To date, they have helped hundreds of tech companies, particularly in fintech, with their legal needs.
As an agile global law firm, Biztech Lawyers has a team of 20 lawyers across offices in Sydney (Australia), New York City (US), and London (UK). The team’s geographic diversity allows them to flex up and seamlessly handle client workloads around the clock, especially in high-intensity, time-sensitive matters.
Biztech Lawyers’ bold and integrated approach to legal and strategic commercial guidance provides clients with comprehensive support and guidance throughout their growth journey, whether it’s fundraising, corporate transactions, data privacy, or any other legal needs.