Estimated read time: 7 minutes
We’re pleased to announce Melinda Ward has joined the Helm360 team as our new Director of Managed Services.
Melinda has extensive experience in the legal space, and specializes in leading global teams and global projects. Her resume includes time with Thomson Reuters and Intapp, giving her a deep understanding of the legal industry’s best-of-breed applications and systems.
We’re excited to incorporate Melinda’s experience, knowledge, and insights into our company fabric. Here’s a brief interview with her that highlights her vision for our Managed Services Team, and where she sees the legal industry going.
Helm360: Hello Melinda, and welcome. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live, and how did you get there?
MW: Hi. I’m originally from Pennsylvania. That’s where I grew up and received my education. I moved to Chicago after university and started my career there. Now I live in London, England. I came to the U.K. when I worked with Thomson Reuters and stayed. I’ve been here 17 years and love it.
Helm360: How did you come to legal tech?
MW: I came to legal tech by way of McDonald’s believe it or not. Early in my career, I was seconded to McDonald’s global headquarters as a senior test engineer for deployments, big system upgrades, and such. I shared a cubicle with a consultant who got me into a small consulting firm once our project was finished. From there, we were recruited by a former McDonald’s exec who took a job as CTO of one of the world’s largest law firms. He was frustrated with the vendors they were using for a billing system implementation, and knew we could do the work. One thing led to another, and here I am.
Helm360: You have an impressive resume. Why Helm360?
MW: I know Helm360 by reputation. I’ve also known Bimal Dave, and others on the Helm360 team, for a long time, so there’s a personal connection. However, when I sat down with Bim and started learning his vision for Helm, I liked what I heard. I liked that Helm360 is very in tune with client needs, and is focused on bringing smart solutions to the table.
“… managed services allow a relationship to develop between Helm360 and the client that provides expert tech capabilities with a team that knows the firm’s systems, needs, and goals. This concept allows firms to maintain their legal tech and be future-ready, while keeping costs down.”
For instance, the Managed Services Team is a direct response to a current client need. Law firms are reducing non-revenue producing departments and slimming down expenses. As a result, a lot of firms don’t have – or don’t have as many – people in-house to do customizations and maintenance activities for their Elite 3E, Intapp, Aderant, etc. systems. Instead of going to a different vendor and starting from scratch each time there’s a need, managed services allow a relationship to develop between Helm360 and the client that provides expert tech capabilities with a team that knows the firm’s systems, needs, and goals. This concept allows firms to maintain their legal tech and be future-ready, while keeping costs down.
Also, when Bim showed me the Termi and Digital Eye products I was blown away. These were exactly the kind of tools that we had dreamed of having a few years ago. I can see the vision for these tools and how they can impact the legal industry. It’s really cool to see this vision becoming reality, and I want to be a part of it.
Helm360: What’s your favorite part of your job?
MW: Building great teams. I like the collaborative approach where everyone has room to do their best work. Knowing I can support people in reaching their goals and helping them grow is extremely rewarding. By supporting the team well, the client is then also supported well – so everyone wins.
On a personal level, I loved working with international clients on-site over the years, where I learned how to adjust to the culture and mannerisms to bring about change. It’s a buzz to see people come around to a new, more efficient way of working that expands their possibilities.
Helm360: What do you see as the future of legal tech? How does Helm360 fit into that vision?
MW: The cloud trend is here to stay. The Covid pandemic really accelerated the need to have data accessible anywhere, any time, and having the increased security that the cloud can provide if done well. So, the future is cloud-based and it’s using assisted technologies to deliver information faster and more efficiently.
Helm360 is already addressing these trends with its Termi product. There’s a lot of information in law firms held in a lot of disparate places. It’s hard for users to gather all the pieces they need to run reports, review billing, perform due diligence, or whatever. To be able to use an AI tool like Termi to gather all those components and present them quickly to the end user will be revolutionary. It’s going to contribute to the success of big global firms with their distributed workforces in particular.
Helm360: What do you see as law firms’ greatest tech struggle right now? How does Helm360 fit into the solution?
MW: I think the data accessibility we just talked about is one challenge. I’d put data quality as another top challenge.
Throughout my career, data quality has been a major sticking point when it comes to successful implementations and upgrades. So many firms are operating with dirty data: multiple records, incomplete records, etc. Much of this dirty data is the result of decisions that were made 10 or more years ago, when technology wasn’t as sophisticated. The result is this bad data quality has been carried forward over the years and it’s snowballed. It really hampers firms’ ability to move forward using the data and make the most of today’s technology.
Again, Helm360 is coming into the Legal Tech market with an innovative tool that addresses this problem. Digital Eye makes it amazingly fast and easy to find bad data, giving options to repair it and maintain data health going forward. And it’s so easy to use! It’s still in the early stages, but you can already see the impact it will have on law firms.
Helm360: A large part of your career has focused on mentoring consultants. How do you see that work influencing your success at Helm360?
“I love building great teams. I want to give the Managed Services Team the knowledge I’ve gained over 20+ years in legal tech, so they have these extra tools to connect the dots and be proactive when they’re working on projects”
MW: As I mentioned before, I love building great teams. I want to give the Managed Services Team the knowledge I’ve gained over 20+ years in legal tech, so they have these extra tools to connect the dots and be proactive when they’re working on projects. (It is far better for the team to learn from my historic mistakes, than for everyone to make the same mistakes again!) I want my team to have the confidence to communicate their insights and recommendations, so our clients get the full power of our expertise. I also want them to have a clear understanding of their career paths and opportunities within Helm360. In short, I’m going to use my experience to bring cohesion, communication, and consolidation to the team, so we can provide outstanding service to Helm360’s clients.
Helm360: And finally, something fun: What’s on your non-work bucket list?
MW: I love traveling for work and for fun. I’d really like to go back to Iceland in the summer. I’ve seen the aurora borealis in the winter, which was lovely, but I’d like the other perspective – waterfalls, lava fields, and fantastic landscapes. I’d also like to go on one of those steam railway trips. The Orient Express or another vintage train like that for a couple of days. (I have just seen the Orient Express will have new routes across Italy in 2023 which is tempting.)
Many thanks to Melinda for her time and candor. Again, welcome to the Helm360 family. We’re looking forward to working with you.
Interested in learning more about Managed Services? Curious to know what benefits it can bring to your firm? Contact us! We’re happy to answer questions and talk about your unique needs.