– by David Kinnear
Judith Tigner is Senior Vice President of Client Success at Mitratech. In this role, Judith leads the Professional Services, Global Support and Hosting departments and is focused on improving the client experience from implementation and beyond. We caught up with Judith to discuss her role and her outlook on the road ahead for the modern legal industry.
Judith Tigner is a long-time user of technology – and it feeds her passion for making it better. She has a resolute curiosity about technology and her enthusiasm is infectious. Her roots in software go back to 1991, doing data entry in libraries. Not glamorous work, some might say, but it’s remarkable how that early experience pays dividends these days – understanding process, order and the critical importance of managing data properly. It also serves her well in understanding the challenges that clients face. In those days – perhaps not dissimilarly to today – many people were afraid of technology. Judith became the “go to” person. It gave her an insight into the future we live in today. A lot of clients still want and need that trusted “go to” partner.
Her experience in data management from the ground up stands her in good stead. There’s no show-boating here. Judith notes that the role of her team is “most often behind the scenes – putting ourselves in our clients’ shoes. We come prepared to solve problems because that’s what clients need.”
We recently interviewed the CEO of Mitratech, Jason Parkman, and I was singularly impressed by the caliber of leadership culture he is encouraging in the organization. So I asked Judith what she most likes about the Mitratech organization. Her own answer was revealing of the sort of modern legal industry organization that (we think) will thrive as markets shift: “It’s the people I work with. We come together. There’s a genuine interest in coming together to solve client problems.” There is a helpful transparency in the organization – reflected in a collaborative team style. Judith speaks to how they “share issues and experiences within the team to find answers – and also to help them be better coaches for their clients.” Instead of trying to cling on to technical gotchas they can hold over clients (as some sales teams have been known to do), Judith and the team see their role as hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder, coaching the coaches – so their clients are themselves better equipped internally to help their own clients.
So what does the typical client look like – and what are they experiencing? Says Judith: “They are trying to do more with less. They’re trying to streamline processes so people are not bogged down by process limitations. They’re trying to hit deadlines and get stuff done – we help them remove some of the roadblocks.
We spoke of the direction the legal industry is taking and what the future looks like. Judith speaks of the Legal Department “being viewed in a different light now. Whereas the old view was more transactional and one-off driven, the modern view is reflecting the role of project management and best practices.” From a product perspective, the attention rightly turns to “what you actually need.” It’s remarkable what can be achieved and how many happy customers you can have by “designing for the 80% instead of trying to address every nuance.”
Our conversation turned to what clients might say to us if we asked – the nitty-gritty, as it were. How does her team like to be known – what are the defining characteristics they value. Judith spoke eloquently:
“We have a listening ear; we’re here to listen and help. Transparency and honesty is critical. Calling it how it is – being straight with clients and about what is and isn’t possible. That’s really important. And owning the relationship – the importance of being on the level with your clients and not passing the buck when it’s difficult.” Judith coined a phrase that we like a lot to describe the way they operate: the “chain of trust.” She wants clients to know they can rely on the chain and every individual link. As market demands increase and become evermore complex, especially for regulated industry customers, that’s a critical proposition.
Attention turned to the future – we like to ask our interviewees what they see ahead for the legal industry – and how it applies to their particular field. A common theme we hear is clients being required to do “more with less – or more for less”. As many clients face a sharply-accelerating increase in volume of data to handle, many are also facing significant increases in regulatory constraints and demands. It is a perfect storm scenario for clients that are not prepared to leverage technology effectively.
Judith speaks to “the growth in good systems of record – but also the avalanche of new and growing data sources to address, prioritize.” She notes the broad shift to being “more proactive and more predictive” with data – but sounds a note of caution about “trying to do too much too soon.” It’s a timely observation. “As data lakes grow and data mining opportunities increase, smart organizations will determine their highest priorities and avoid trying to do everything at once. A focus on ‘must-have’ versus ‘nice-to-have’.” The bottom line? “Build on success instead of being spread too thin and winning none,” she adds.
We had just a couple of minutes to wrap up our conversation – but just enough time to field some of our wildcard questions. There is no right or wrong answer to any of these – but the answers are always fun!
HPC: Which would you pick – a fancy restaurant or a food truck?
JT: A restaurant with food truck attitude and amazing food – without having to dress up for it.
HPC: Favorite movie?
JT: Almost Famous.
HPC: Your favorite activity when not saving the world?
JT: Going to the movies with my husband.
HPC: The one book you would want to have with you on a desert island?
JT: “Me Talk Pretty One Day”
HPC: Which would you pick: a Ferrari, a Prius – or a bicycle.
JT: The Prius.
We think clients are in great hands with Judith. As the pace of change accelerates and today’s “data lakes” grow into veritable “data oceans”, clients will have a lot of very important decisions to make both strategically, tactically and technically. In Judith, they will have someone with deep roots and the wisdom of experience to call on. And they will also have a partner in the boat – not just a spectator onshore – to row alongside them.
“It’s the people I work with. We come together. There’s a genuine interest in coming together to solve client problems.” JT
“We have a listening ear; we’re here to listen and help. Transparency and honesty is critical.” JT
“As data lakes grow and data mining opportunities increase, smart organizations will determine their highest priorities and avoid trying to do everything at once. A focus on ‘must-have’ versus ‘nice-to-have’.” JT
“Calling it how it is – being straight with clients and about what is and isn’t possible. That’s really important.” JT
“Build on success instead of being spread too thin and winning none.” JT
“…the importance of being on the level with your clients and not passing the buck when it’s difficult.” JT
Judith Tigner, SVP Client Success
Judith Tigner is Senior Vice President of Client Success at Mitratech. In this role, Judith leads the Professional Services, Global Support and Hosting departments and is focused on improving the client experience from implementation and beyond.
Judith has more than 20 years of experience in the implementation and support of software. She started her career at Mitratech 7 years ago as Vice President of Professional Services. Previously she was Director of Global Training and Consulting at SirsiDynix, focused on driving client adoption.
Judith received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri-St Louis. In her spare time, Judith enjoys photography, the outdoors, and living in the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas.