We sat down with the newest member of the WordRake team, Ivy B. Grey, after completing her first month on the job. Ivy joined us in early November as our Director of Business Strategy. A legal tech entrepreneur and former lawyer, Ivy brings a wealth of knowledge to the WordRake team, and we’re excited to sit down with her and hear her progress and vision for the future.
What made you decide to join WordRake?
I joined WordRake because I love the software and I admire the people. I’d been using WordRake in my law practice for the past few years and WordRake’s CEO Jim Figel had been helping me navigate the legal tech space. As our mentoring relationship grew, so did my regard for the company. So by the time I was facing this decision, I already had a deep understanding of how Microsoft Word add-ins fit within a firm’s collection of technology resources and I had a strong relationship built on trust. But I also saw the potential to improve the software, and customer understanding and adoption of it, based on my recent legal practice experience. Together, those factors made the decision easy.
What do you believe are the biggest strengths you bring to WordRake’s business strategy?
My multidisciplinary background is unique--and it’s a strength. Most recently, I was practicing law and developing a legal-specific version of a proofreading add-in. But before I even considered becoming a lawyer, I’d worked in strategy, advertising, PR, technical writing, and IT. So that varied experience made me uniquely positioned to lead WordRake’s business strategy. Many companies struggle because each person has a silo of experience and the knowledge never really crosses over to become more than the sum of its parts. With my experience, I think I’ll serve as a bridge so WordRake will really take off.
As you think about goals for your first quarter with WordRake, what are your top priorities?
WordRake has grown very organically, which has allowed everyone to focus on building the best possible software by contributing however they can. But now, to grow faster, we must work smarter. To do that, I’m working on focusing our efforts, streamlining our workflows, and systematizing our work. With this, I expect to deliver more content faster, get more consultavative information to our users so they get more out of using WordRake, and improve follow-up and communication so current and potential users feel cared for and confident in their decision to choose WordRake.
What have you learned working with PerfectIt that you hope to apply to your role at WordRake?
Working with PerfectIt taught me how to develop, spec out, and test a product distributed using the software as a service model; frame discussions about Microsoft Word add-ins; and demonstrate the benefits of a high-impact, low-cost product. Working with Daniel Heuman also helped update my business skills for the digital world--learning design thinking was eye-opening. All of these skills transfer well to my work at WordRake.
Why did you start using WordRake?
I wanted to be a better and more confident writer. When I helped start a law firm, became a senior lawyer, and began mentoring others, I knew the world would start seeing more of my work--without help or advice from others. To feel comfortable putting my work out there, I turned to technology. I used WordRake and PerfectIt daily. And in my new role with Griffin Hamersky (in 2015) I also found myself without staff. I needed to produce the same high quality work, but faster and without a secretary. Again, I turned to technology.
As a former practicing lawyer, what kinds of correspondence did you use WordRake for most frequently?
I used WordRake on every brief and memo. Some long letters, too.
Thinking longer-term, where do you want to see WordRake in one year? Three years?
WordRake already has scores of happy customers and an incredible renewal rate. It’s also the top choice for editing software. That makes it hard to answer a question like this! So I hope to grow market share and convince more people that legal writing software will help them--even if they don’t yet consider legal writing a pain point. Working better and faster in one the most important parts of lawyer work is always a good thing. So, in a year, I want to see more associates discovering WordRake and bringing it to their partners and associate committees, and I want to see more small firms adopting WordRake. In three years, I want anyone who writes for a living to recognize the WordRake name--not just lawyers.
We don’t just want to know about your professional strengths and goals. Let’s do a few questions to get to know you just a little better:
Favorite book? This is always changing. It’s either In Cold Blood by Truman Capote or Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler.
Favorite place to write? An Irish pub called McNamaras.
Coffee or tea? Coffee… with lots of cream and sugar.
East coast or West coast? Though I grew up in California, the East Coast. I like how large cities are clustered together and easy to move between via train.
What’s your favorite hobby? How did you start? Swing dancing. I tried ballroom and swing dancing because the program was run through Harvey Mudd, which was mostly men at the time. I went to Scripps, which was across the street and all women. More than twenty years later, I’m still dancing!