If you’re anything like myself, the worlds of tech and legality are far from your everyday sphere of awareness. The forefront of my mind is more often occupied by the stupid TikTok I just watched, my exes Instagram post that I wish I hadn’t seen and Dakota Johnson’s Architectural Digest video (limes, anyone?). However blissfully unaware as many of us may be to the ins and outs of legal tech, it is actually a vital component of our everyday lives - technology has seeped into every pore of our modern existence, even if it may not seem apparent from the surface. MSM’s very own Dani Singam has been nominated for “European Women of Legal Tech 2020” awards, and we could not be more proud. I sat down to ask her some questions about what she does, why she does it, and what it all means.
Interviewed by Bee Beardsworth
Hey Dani, how are you? How do you feel about being nominated for the #EWOLT2020?
Feeling great thank you! I am beyond honoured to be nominated for this award. Having grown up in a mostly caucasian environment where award nominees never look like me or speak like me, I am pleased to be up there.
Where do you live and where are you from?
That's a tough one, my parents are Indians but I have lived all over the world...New Zealand, India, Switzerland and now I’ve settled into West London.
I read on your bio that you speak 5 languages? What are they and how come?
So I speak Tamil and Telugu, which are two Indian languages; these are my mother tongue and father tongue respectively. Then I learned English in NZ, and German and French in Switzerland. I started learning Spanish during lockdown, but I don’t count that yet.
For many of us, including myself, is there a simple way to explain legal tech and how it fits into our lives?
Without getting too technical, legal tech allows lawyers to do certain things much faster and with better quality with the help of special softwares and AI.
Technology has democratized access to law, overcoming geographic and socio-economic barriers. You can now file claims online, or attend virtual courts or dispute fines on an app. It may not seem like much but it is a great step for access to justice.
How did you get into this world?
Law is no longer solely about lawyers. Tech is not solely about techies. I realised that there is a need for a “modern day lawyer”, someone who is tech savvy and has that legal experience. The digital age is where millennials like me thrive, I have the best of both worlds.
From looking at the nominees, we could only find 10 women that are POC out of the nearly 150 (approx.) nominated. As a woman of colour, how does this sit with you? Do you think that POC are underrepresented in the tech industry and why?
I believe that underrepresentation of POC is an issue that is prevalent in all industries and tech is no exception to this. That being said, I am seeing an increasing number of women in leadership positions and it is a really positive sign that women and minorities are being recognised for the work they do.
Who do you admire in the tech industry?
Not quite tech, but I always admired Mary Jackson. She was the first black woman to be hired by NASA and spent her whole life advocating for change in the hiring and promoting practices at NASA and changed so many women's lives.
How would you like to utilise your position in the legal tech industry for change?
I have always believed that the justice system should be fair. I would like to do some work with courts and develop an unbiased decision making system of sorts. This would allow judges to make a decision based on facts of the case and precedent cases only, rather than indict people unfairly.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
So far the way to partnership has been very rigid and only accessible to lawyers. But we have come to see that it takes more than just lawyers to run a law firm, so why not let me have a seat at the table?
Do you think AI is going to take over the world?
Depends what you define as AI. People tend to think of Jarvis from Iron Man when we say AI, we aren’t quite there yet. We will be, eventually, but right now AI is creating new jobs and changing how jobs are done traditionally.
That being said, I don’t have an Alexa at home, make of that what you will!
And lastly, how do we vote for you?
I have a link in my bio @dani.singam