LEGAL CONSULTANT LIMELIGHT: PHILLIP HAMPTON
Our guide to the nation’s most trusted legal consultants and strategists has plenty of talented professionals who spent part of their careers as lawyers – or at least considered doing so. Phillip Hampton approached the legal space from a purely technological background, with a B.S. and M.S. in computer science and an early career in software engineering. In fact, the founder and chairman of LOGICFORCE believes that this personal focus and expertise helps underscore the credibility of his firm as an industry leader in technology consulting. Helping law firms meet their complex and constantly-changing technology needs has been the LOGICFORCE mission for more than 20 years.
Lawdragon: Can you tell us a little bit about what LOGICFORCE does?
Phillip Hampton: LOGICFORCE provides comprehensive information technology services for the legal industry. Our New Style Legal IT® (NSLIT) offering is a fresh approach for law firms looking to leverage advancements in technology not only to realize new operating efficiencies but also to significantly enhance business development for the firm. We provide a complete end-to-end Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution for the law firm’s operating network. Our clients depend on us to maintain a safe, efficient, relevant, and up-to-date network that is predictable in cost and efficient in operation.
In addition, with our 20-plus years of experience in the legal space, we provide expert-level technology services for unique litigation technology needs. Our litigation support services include e-Discovery collections, processing, hosting, project management, and trial tech support. Our digital forensics lab provides expert-level forensic analysis and testimony for both large and small matters. We are a holistic solution for law firms that find it cost prohibitive to insource all the services that we provide or frustrating to evaluate and manage a shifting landscape of many vendors to supply these services.
LD: Are there any trends you are seeing in your area of consulting or advising in terms of the types of matters keeping you busy these days?
PH: We are definitely seeing a trend toward more outsourcing of all facets of the IT infrastructure for law firms of all sizes. For many years, as the legal technology space was developing, it was common to see law firms insourcing much of their infrastructure with a hodgepodge of outdated servers and software. As the space has matured and successful firms have realized the strategic advantage of new technology, we have seen more and more firms outsource the provisioning and ongoing guidance of their technology to experts in the field. Rather than just being a cost of doing business on a P&L statement, law firms have evolved to view their technology as a driver of new business and their technology provider as a strategic partner. As such, we partner with our clients to uniquely address their technology needs; our New Style Legal IT® program feels more like an insourced solution at an outsourced price, which is the best of both worlds.
LD: What was your educational focus or early career path that prepared you for your role at LOGICFORCE?
PH: My educational background is in technology. I received a B.S degree in computer science and mathematics and an M.S. degree in computer science. This educational background was important in bolstering my credibility at the beginning of my career. Additionally, these credentials were important later in my career to qualify me as an expert witness for computer-related investigations and testimony. Equally important as my scientific education background, however, is the well-rounded liberal arts curriculum I took as an undergraduate. The ability to think critically, communicate and write effectively has been a significant factor in successfully building consulting relationships with legal professionals.
My early career was in software engineering and I eventually moved into database administration, project management, and departmental management. My foray into the legal space was almost accidental as the first client of my solo consulting career happened to be a law firm. The timing of this first engagement was fortuitous in that it was at the very beginning phase of the seismic growth that would occur in the legal tech space.
LD: Did you have a mentor who was important to the development of your professional life?
PH: An early mentor who had a large role in shaping the course of my professional life and business was actually my first client. He was the partner in charge of technology at the first law firm that I had a contract with. Although he was an attorney, he also had training in electrical engineering as an undergraduate and was prominently known in our region as the resident expert on all things related to legal technology. He hired me because he became frustrated with managing the firm’s technology while maintaining a heavy case load of complex litigation. He introduced me to many other attorneys and firms in the region and allowed me to share the stage with him for numerous CLE seminars and other speaking engagements. More importantly, he believed in me and my ability to solve complex problems, even when I had doubts about myself. The opportunity he afforded me and the encouragement he provided as I was trying to get my consulting business off the ground were invaluable. He is a valued friend and mentor to this day.
LD: Is there a matter or client in your career that stands out as especially memorable?
PH: One of the more memorable matters that we took on was for a law firm whose corporate client was facing a federal criminal investigation, class action lawsuits, and a myriad of other matters stemming from an initial FBI investigation. Our task was to collect, process, host, and manage all the discovery data for the various parties involved in the case. The amount of data that had to be collected and processed was huge and involved tens of millions of records. And, as is common in this type of litigation, the delivery deadlines were always aggressive. Beyond just the technical requirements for this multi-year project, the management of the data needs for many different parties – attorneys, executives, auditors, investigators, DOJ personnel – with different interests was a challenge we accepted and successfully navigated.
LD: What do you think makes LOGICFORCE unique?
PH: First and foremost, we are a technology firm. Over the years, I have watched other companies evolve to service the burgeoning legal tech space by adding on technology services to an existing non-tech business model. Many were chasing quick profits or just trying to diversify in a market that was rapidly changing. Our core business has always been technology. We have been focused on technology for the entire 20-plus years of our existence. We have grown up with the legal tech industry. Many of the services we provide today are radically different from what we provided 10 or 15 years ago. Five years from now, we know the legal technology landscape will be much different. As a result, our business model is always evolving to introduce best innovations, best practices, and best of breed technology to ensure that our clients are on the forefront of tech preparedness. This organic approach to the market has and will continue to be a unique advantage for us.
LD: Are you involved in any community or public interest activities?
PH: I serve on the boards of several non-profits, one of which is a transitional housing facility for men who are reentering society after incarceration. This work, along with my involvement in many activities at my local church, fuels me with a sense of purpose that is bigger than myself. Mentoring others is a path that I have taken as I have gotten older and, hopefully, wiser. I have enjoyed mentoring other young entrepreneurs in whom I recognize that spark of creativity, fear, and adventure that started my own quest to build a business. It has also been rewarding to mentor and counsel people who may have fallen but have the faith and fortitude to get back up and, in many cases, start all over. “Quit” is not in my vocabulary; and I love sharing that optimism for the future with everyone I meet.
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