2 min read October 2021 — vTestify provides software to the legal industry that simplifies workflows and makes remote proceedings simple and secure. In an interview with Invest:, CEO Mike Hewitt discussed the impact of the pandemic on the utilization of technology in the legal industry. He noted how the historically conservative industry was forced to adapt to new technologies and the industry will certainly never return to its old ways of doing things.
What makes the Raleigh-Durham area a great location for vTestify?
We formed this company in Florida but we came back to the Raleigh-Durham area for the same reasons as the bigger companies that are moving here, such as Apple or Google. Ultimately, it’s all about access to talent and the thriving business ecosystem. The Achilles’ heel of this area years ago was a lack of access to investment capital but that has been changing with Apple and Google putting their East Coast headquarters here and with so many startups coming here.
What is the state of legal tech in Raleigh?
The legal tech sector is becoming a very strong, thriving ecosystem in Raleigh. The largest and oldest legal tech provider, LexisNexis, is based here; its technology center is at NC State on the Centennial Campus. LexisNexis continues to double down on its investment in the area, as are others.
What is the purpose of vTestify?
We want to be the best capture tool for evidence that is out there. This is our niche. We’re an enabling technology for various legal matters, such as court reporting, arbitration and mediation. Our software product reduces costs for clients because they don’t have to travel for their trials, saving them time. It even helps to reduce their carbon footprint.
The cost of travel for lawyers was very prohibitive; the quality of the case was directly related to how much you could invest into it. There is also a dwindling supply of court reporters. There are almost no court reporting schools left in the United States. Virtually no new people are coming into the industry and there’s an aging out of the current court reporters. We’re helping the legal industry bridge this human capital gap.
How has the legal world been permanently impacted by the pandemic?
The world of law has significantly changed as a result of the pandemic. Most notably, the utilization of technologies for court was met with apprehension pre-pandemic, while now it’s viewed as very helpful. For instance, court reporters probably won’t ever want to go back to being in rooms due to the efficiencies of being online. Rather than having to travel into town and set up equipment for a deposition, everything can be done conveniently online. There are many companies implementing hybrid strategies that weren’t being implemented pre-pandemic.
Has Zoom marginalized your capture software?
Zoom has been great for us. It absolutely has not marginalized us; it elevates what we do. Zoom is a fantastic horizontal tool but law is one of the very few professions that is highly verticalized. Some may think that you just need a simple video conference for legal matters, but what about exhibits? How do you mark exhibits as true copies that weren’t altered? What about annotations? If you’re looking at an accident, how are you able to show vantage points? How do you differentiate audio transcripts from two people talking at the same time? This is just the tip of the iceberg. We made 500-plus improvements to our software over the past year. That shows the nuances of our technology.
What is your outlook for the legal industry?
I believe the industry is becoming more singularly platform-based. The legal industry is moving quicker than other industries in coming toward technological innovation and integration. I think we’ll see a platform emerge for litigation management where everything can be found under that one platform, whether it be connections and ediscovery, depositions, arbitration, mediation or evidence under oath. The legal industry is going toward an integrated solution rather than individual pieces. We’re focused on being that platform.
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