Inside the Mind of a Legal Advisory Board Member: Tips, Perspectives and Insights

April 4, 2023


Legal expertise has been the backbone of Arken’s software since 1992, shaping product development and maintaining our professional standards. Our Legal Advisory Board, made up of highly experienced legal professionals, ensures our software upholds legal best practices and keeps precedents up to date – so you don’t have to. The board is responsible for a number of things, including ongoing assessment of Arken documents in line with best practice to reviewing output of client feedback. 


Samantha Warner, Head of Product here at Arken is a member of the board. We asked her some questions so that you can get to know her better.  


What part of law do you find the most interesting? 

It’s not so much the area of law as a love of gnarly legals issues. There is often a Eureka moment when you have worked through a principle to a logical conclusion and all the pieces of a piece of legal reasoning drop into place, and I still find that exciting (perhaps I need to get out more!) In terms of areas of law – I love that my job is so varied bringing in all aspects of estate planning, trusts, equity and contract law on a regular basis, and lots of other more unexpected gems every now and then. 


What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the legal industry? 

“Lawyer” these days does not simply mean choosing between being a barrister or solicitor. When I read law initially, I had no idea that my current type of job existed (actually it was so long ago now, that it possibly didn’t!). But a background in law is incredibly valuable and opens up a world of opportunities as in-house legal counsel, in business and in legal tech. It is a question of being open to the world of opportunities that a legal background can lead to and finding the career within those opportunities that makes you want to get up and get to work in the morning. And the legal jobs of tomorrow won’t have been invented yet. 


Would you say more companies are becoming open to legal technology? 

Yes, they have to be. So many efficiencies can be gained  and so much risk can be reduced by embracing the right tech solution that companies have been forced to adapt to new technologies by competitive pressures. And in some cases it really is a case of survival of the technologically fittest – companies that do not evolve and adapt to the latest technologies in the market will undoubtedly fall behind as their competitors take advantage of their reticence.  


How do you think legal technology is evolving? 

There has been an overwhelming proliferation of technical solutions to every problem that you can think of (and for many that you probably can’t). The choice is quite overwhelming sometimes, and the danger is that in trying to fill various needs that they have, companies will address the solution with multiple products. The key here is specialisation and integration. Companies need to find the best in class solution which solves the biggest number of their needs rather than juggling multiple solutions. And products which integrate with other products are the holy grail – this means that you can have best-in-class solutions across the board through a single interface which is much more efficient for the user in terms of data entry and holistic data analytics. Increasingly, the best products are looking to integrate with other “best” products and I think this trend will continue. 


How long have you been on Arken’s Legal Advisory Board? 

I started the Legal Advisory Board when I joined Arken in 2018 and have really enjoyed the discussion and insights provided by the other members who have such an impressive wealth of legal and industry knowledge between them. 


Tell us a bit about your role in Arken’s Legal Advisory Board. 

As Head of Product, I compile a list of questions that I would like considered around the way the Arken products operate based on customer feedback, any legal developments and any questions I have as to best practice. I then convene a meeting with the LAB to discuss these questions and decide on solutions. It is then a process of specifying any changes that are required to be made to any of the products and supervising these through the development, testing and release cycle. Happily, if any question arises on an ad hoc basis, I have the enormous experience of the LAB to call on – it really is a bit like having a Bat Phone! 


What do you think of the Arken product suite? 

At the risk of sounding like an advert for breakfast cereal, Arken is the original and the best technical solution for estate planning professionals. When it was created (as Professional Wills) over 30 years ago, the Arken solution was utterly novel and innovative. There was simply nothing else like it, built by a private client solicitor it addressed the needs of the market by enabling practitioners to produce nuanced and highly complex estate planning documents consistently and with up to date precedents in a fraction of the time it would take them with manual drafting. And while the product has evolved over time, becoming a cloud-based family of integrated products, it has kept its market leading position because, even with the numerous new entrants to the market, Arken Professional still stands out as the go-to tool for the estate planning professional because of the complexity it can handle and the quality of output. With over 2 million lines of code in this one product alone, with all manner of trusts incorporated as standard, I have yet to meet the Will scenario that Arken cannot cope with (normally with no manual editing required at all.) And the same spirit of innovation continues as it did 30 years ago – we are constantly creating new products to add to the Arken suite, and partnering and integrating with other best in class solutions to give our clients the end-to-end experience they deserve. But I am biased: my job is to be a product evangelist for Arken. However, our user-feedback is glowing – just last week we got the unsolicited comment from a happy client saying of Arken Professional “I couldn’t run my business without it”  – enough said. 


What do you think of the team at Arken?  

Team is a much overused word, however in the case of the Arken crew, I cannot think of a better one  – they are a group of committed people working towards a common goal alongside people they really like. People tend to vote with their feet if they aren’t happy and they will move on. Conversely, we have (in the last 3 months) celebrated a 30, 26, 15 and 10 year work anniversary (and there are many people who are about to break similar milestones). We are a happy lot, and we enjoy what we do: no-one takes themselves too seriously, but we are very serious about our collective job. I have never had the Sunday night blues since working at Arken, and that is a testament to the team. 


If you would like to find out more about our Legal Advisory Board, please contact us.