In this episode, we speak with Anne Griffin, Lead Product Manager at OpenLaw. OpenLaw is a ConsenSys spoke that is building next generation smart legal agreements. We cover a lot of great topics in this discussion such as how the OpenLaw team is trying to build a Wikipedia-like community to drive contract law forward, what their business model is, how they overcome being such a geographically distributed and remote-first team, and much more.

Like in many industries, the legal community still uses incredibly outdated technologies such as Microsoft Word and track changes to work through long and complex legal agreements. Anne walks us through how she and her team are trying to push against that inertia and bring law into the 21st century. She also gives us her perspective on why OpenLaw will supplement rather than automate law and replace lawyers.

Particularly interesting is hearing how incredibly distributed the OpenLaw team is with employees in Thailand, India, the US and Europe, and how they overcome the obvious challenges that presents. Some of their tools and tactics they use to mitigate those challenges are really interesting and well worth considering if your team is struggling with being remote-first and highly distributed.


Show Notes

  • [0:31] Show intro.
  • [1:02] Anne’s background and path to crypto.
  • [8:51] Description of OpenLaw and the project’s history.
  • [16:09] If OpenLaw is GitHub-ifying contract law, how do courts view enforceability of smart contracts?
  • [18:29] How blockchain technology may or may not affect the job of lawyers.
  • [19:50] The origin story of OpenLaw and background on the founders.
  • [23:41] How the OpenLaw team validates assumptions around solving customer problems, target market, users, etc.
  • [32:50] Current state of OpenLaw products and the business model.
  • [34:50] Where and how OpenLaw connects to the Ethereum blockchain.
  • [36:13] Verbal walkthrough of OpenLaw user experience.
  • [40:11] Areas of friction within the OpenLaw user experience and how they’re trying to overcome that.
  • [42:22] Division of responsibilities for design across the OpenLaw team and process for getting design work done.
  • [46:03] Where do ideas for the roadmap come from?
  • [46:54] OpenLaw’s use of personas to support user research.
  • [49:15] How does OpenLaw quality control contract templates that make it onto the platform?
  • [51:30] Team dynamics, composition, geographic distribution and culture around coordination across the team.
  • [55:09] Tools and tactics OpenLaw used to support remote-first team.
  • [57:01] How the team captures knowledge to be shared internally.
  • [1:01:08] Ways to overcome the tight market for hiring blockchain engineers.
  • [1:03:13] Measuring success at OpenLaw.
  • [1:06:43] What is and is not open source within OpenLaw and how they defend their business given what is open source.
  • [1:08:26] Personal tidbit about Anne.