Kiwi Camara | CEO of DISCO

The Top VC Funded Legal Tech Company | Post Law School at 19 | Ringing the IPO Bell | Diversity of Thought | For the Love of Austin | First Generation Immigrant | Ballroom Dancing

 


I interviewed Kiwi Camara | Chief Executive Officer of DISCO on Friday, December 17th, 2021.

We began the episode by discussing Kiwi’s education story and journey to law which included skipping high school, completing his undergraduate degree in computer science while in Hawaii, and then finishing his Harvard law degree by 19. We then discussed his foray into a Houston litigation boutique which pulled him from a life of academia and what led him and his partner to launch DISCO. Kiwi shared why DISCO and the product story, the fundraising VC story, and eventually them going IPO. We discussed who inspired him as a new CEO and what his focus is on for personal growth as a leader. From there, we discussed what he expects to happen in the next 10 years to the legal industry and it had to do with software. We discussed Kiwi’s love for Austin and the state of Texas. We discussed his family’s immigration story from the Philippines, his hobbies, reading preferences, and his super power.


Here are some highlights of my interview with Kiwi Camara:

Practicing law is going to be so much more fun for you because you’ll get to actually do it as you imagined it when you were a law student before you were beaten down by the world. Software is coming to rescue you and to automate away the rest.

A lot of people in legal tech describe themselves as refugees from the law, but I loved the practice of law and it was a very difficult decision for me to make the jump to DISCO. 

When you train an associate, you don’t do 1000 debt deals. You do one or two, and you train an associate to do them repeatedly. Well, this is the next step because instead of training an associate, you’re training a computer.

The way you raise money is to build a great company. It’s not to take a company and then focus on how you spin it or articulate the story in a better way, or have the right comms.

You’re at the New York Stock Exchange, and you see the company’s name that you’ve built on every stand and the banner in front of the exchange, and you get to ring the bell. There’s no moment like it.

If you look at the greatest leaders in any field, they’re not like each other. Everyone has a unique style, and you need to develop your own unique style.

As you get bigger, you have more diversity of views which is very good. It allows you to not get trapped in your old way of thinking and to be open to new ideas and innovation. 

What’s interesting about Austin, you get this tremendous energy here, that is hard to replicate and you also have this vibe where people help each other. Texans are all in it together.  We’re on the frontier. We’re gonna pitch in. We’re gonna make it work.


Links referred to in this episode:

Kiwi Camara | LinkedIn Profile

Kiwi Camara | Website

DISCO | Website

2019 Technology Fast 500 List by Deloitte

2020 Technology Fast 500 List by Deloitte

2021 Forbes Cloud 100 List

Judge Harris Hartz | Federal Judicial Center Website

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

Kent Radford | LinkedIn Profile

Bessemer Venture Partners | Website

RetailRoadshow.com

Satya Nadella | Microsoft Website Profile

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Audio Transcription 

***To Download the PDF Transcript, click here*** 

Greetings, friends. This is Chris Batz, your host of The Law Firm Leadership Podcast.

In today’s episode, I spoke with the CEO of the most VC-funded legal tech company in the United States. We discussed his journey to the CEO chair, his perspective of the legal industry, his love for Austin, Texas, and so much more. 

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to this podcast and leave a review on iTunes. We interview corporate defense law firm leaders, partners, general counsel, legal consultants, and now CEOs.

You are listening to Episode 62 of The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. 

Chris: Welcome to The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Chris Batz with The Lion Group.

Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Kiwi Camara, Founder and CEO of DISCO in Austin, Texas. Kiwi founded DISCO in 2013 to help legal professionals deliver the highest quality of services more efficiently through Cloud and AI technology, enabling lawyers to focus on the practice of law. Under his leadership, DISCO has become one of the largest and best-funded enterprise, legal tech companies today. Also, DISCO was recognized on the 2019 and 2020 Deloitte Technology Fast 500, and in the 2020 and 2021 Forbes Cloud 100. He was also recognized by the Software Report as one of the Top 50 SaaS CEOs of 2020. Before founding DISCO, Camara earned his JD at age 19 from Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Harris Hartz of the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was a PhD student in Economics at Stanford, taught corporate law at Northwestern, and was a founding partner of Camara and Sibley LLP in Houston. 

Welcome, Kiwi, to The Law Firm Leadership Podcast. It’s great to have you on the show.

Kiwi: Thanks so much, Chris. Delighted to be here.

Leap Frogging High School 

Chris: Uniquely, you ended up graduating from law school at 19 years old. Can you share some of that journey with my audience?

Kiwi: It was a crazy series of accidents. When I was growing up, Johns Hopkins had this thing called the Center for Talented Youth. They would administer grade-level standardized tests in seventh grade. Then, if you did well, they would invite you to sit the real SAT. I did that and I did well, so I applied to different schools. Ultimately, the compromise with my parents was that I would skip high school, but I would do it locally. We were living in Hawaii at the time, so I went to school in Hawaii. I started in 1998 and graduated in 2001. It was the height of the dot-com boom. I’d been very interested in computers and programming, so I majored in computer science and math. I was into artificial intelligence at the time, before the boom, and I fully intended to go to graduate school in CS. It was only by accident that I became interested in the law. When I was a junior, I needed a political science requirement to graduate. I took this constitutional law course that was being taught law school style. It was Socratic Method cases, and I just fell in love with the subject. I wound up applying to grad school and law school at the same time and trying law school and loved it. That got me on my path.

A Series of Weird Accidents

Chris: Tell us about your journey from law school to launching a tech company. 

Kiwi: My life is this series of weird accidents, Chris. I told you about going from computer science to law, but then when I was in law school, I got one elective my first year of law school where I had to take a corporate law class. The professor was about to publish this paper on shareholder voting, and I was an arrogant 1L and I read the paper and concluded it was completely wrong. I wrote him a note about how it was awful. He responded to that very well, and he gave me this fellowship at the law school that got me interested in legal academia. So, I clerked and then I wound up teaching for a little bit as their fellow at Northwestern. But my best friend from law school was this guy, Joe Sibley. We’d always talked about practicing together someday. He called me up and he convinced me to sell out and become a real lawyer. I moved to Houston, where Joe was located, sight unseen, in the middle of summer and we wound up building that firm together. I loved practicing law. A lot of people in legal tech describe themselves as refugees from the law, but I loved it and it was a very difficult decision for me to make the jump to DISCO. 

Launching a Tech Company

In 2012, my largest client as a lawyer was a major chemical company. They asked our firm to have a look at their ediscovery, legal document review, etc. approach across all their matters (investigations, litigation, and so on). We did. I took meetings with every provider in the space. I had the benefit of not knowing very much about the space at all which enabled me to say crazy things like all the stuff was terrible. I didn’t understand why they paid so much for it. And, from a computer science point of view, it didn’t seem that hard. Collect some documents, put them in a form where lawyers can review them, and spit them out the other end. This is my lack of knowledge at the time speaking, but it just didn’t seem hard. So we went to the client and told them we looked at everything, thought it was terrible, and we understood why senior lawyers refused to use this stuff. Our recommendation was that we’d take a stab at building a custom solution for them. Weirdly, they said yes, and we did. We hired two engineers off of a who’s hiring thread on Hacker News and got them to move down to Houston to a law firm, not a software company, and we had them build the first version of DISCO ediscovery. We loved using it. The client loved using it and it sort of spread to the rest of my firm’s clients. Then, in 2013, we spun it out and started offering it to legal departments that had not been clients of the firm. It continued taking off. Over the course of that year, I got more and more excited about how much of a difference it made in our practice as lawyers to have software that was modern in its performance and capabilities, but really purpose-built to work the way we expected. As lawyers, ediscovery and document review are a big part of all our cases, and we hated the old solutions. We loved this thing that we built initially with just a couple of engineers. We got to thinking that if it could make that big of an impact in our practice, could we do the same thing in more and more areas of law? Could we build software to automate away the parts of the practice that don’t really require human legal judgment? We drank the Kool-Aid and got excited about that broader vision. I convinced one of my partners, Kent Radford, to join me and we bought out the firm and made the jump to DISCO at the end of 2013.

Automating Doc Review and Making it Magical  

Chris: When you spoke with your client and looked at their existing vendors and providers, were you looking at it from a UI perspective of the interface itself or just the guts of it in the machine and what it produced?

Kiwi: So, three things to answer you. The most fundamental piece is that if you look at all the solutions that existed at the time and even many of the solutions that are in the industry today, they have lawyers and legal professionals doing things they shouldn’t do. There are these people, data operations people, project managers, folks like that, who are dealing with the nitty-gritty of data. They look at a set of data and decide how it needs to be processed and what needs to be done to it. Then, they do things like allocate compute capacity to those different tasks. And this is a big category of spend. From our point of view, no human, not just lawyers, but no human should be doing that. That should all be automated which is made possible by elastic computing in the cloud. That’s one category. 

When you get to what the lawyers do, here is the example I like to give to lawyers because they understand it. It’s like doing legal research before Lexis and Westlaw. The tools were so difficult to use, so cumbersome, so slow, and the performance was so bad, that it was pretty rare for a lawyer, especially a senior lawyer, to sit down and run searches and explore documents and so on. Instead, what you would do is describe what you want orally or in a memo, and give it to services person either inside the firm or outside the firm, and they would interact with the software, and they would get you your results. To me, that was like using the law librarian to do legal research, in which you get good results, but the problem is not the results. The problem is that it’s like going back in time to the 80s. I thought it would be much better to do what Lexis and Westlaw had done for the law, which is to put it directly at the fingertips of the senior lawyer whose judgment the client is actually paying for. They’re paying for this critical thing, which is figuring out the evidence and figuring out the story that ultimately you will tell to the jury. So, that was observation number two, that it separated lawyers from getting their hands on the evidence.

Number three, the law firm doesn’t care about cost, right, because it’s not our money, but the client obviously cares tremendously about cost. We did look at it from a cost point of view, and I think the cost of many of these solutions is actually a consequence of the first two points, which is because they require humans to do so many things that really should be automated, the cost is enormous. And because of that cost, the human labor is driven by the amount of data, because the amount of data is growing exponentially, the costs were growing exponentially. And so what we set out to do is to build a solution that automated the parts of that process that don’t require human legal judgment. We automated things like drag and drop elastic computing that automates away the work of getting data into a system, then visual analytics, or rich search language support for syntax that’s reminiscent of Westlaw and Lexus, the ability for a lawyer to drill in just the way you would if you were using Google or Westlaw or any of these other search tools you’re familiar with. So, lawyers get their hands on the evidence directly, and then artificial intelligence is used to automate review over huge collections of documents so that the experience of using the software is like training an associate. When you train an associate, you don’t do 1000 debt deals. You do one or two, and you train an associate to do them repeatedly. Well, this is the next step because instead of training an associate, you’re training a computer. And that’s what the AI components of DISCO ediscovery do. They allow you to automate the actual process of legal document review. 

Now, I don’t want to dismiss the UI point. The UI point is important though it’s not the why. If you get the functional design correct, which are the points I was talking about, and you make users work on the things that require their judgment and automate away the rest, the result of that is a product experience that lawyers described as magical. They say things like, “This is the way it would work if I built software.” Sometimes, that gets translated as nice UX. But where software companies make the mistake is when they do what you say, which is they take something that’s functionally broken and make it pretty. That doesn’t make anybody buy it.

Most Well-Funded Legal Tech Co

Chris: You’re the number one most well-funded legal tech company prior to IPO in US history. What was that journey, like?

Kiwi: It was crazy. Literally, people in the early days said we were crazy. So, ediscovery was not a new space. Everybody had to have some solution because it’s legally required that you do these things. So, there’s no green field at all. It wasn’t even the first generation. We called ourselves a third generation ediscovery company. The first generation was the on premise tools that got installed in law firms. The second generation was the combination of focused tools for processing, reviewing analytics, and then a services layer sitting on top and that spawned a $15 billion industry. There were big incumbents and everyone thought we were crazy for that reason and that we wouldn’t get people to buy the product.

The second reason people thought we were crazy, and this is on the investor side, is that you could not point to any big legal tech outcome. Legal tech wasn’t a word. For software companies building for lawyers, the biggest outcome was maybe around the amount of $400 million some years ago. But there were no multibillion-dollar outcomes. So, when we set up to raise money, we were turned down a lot at all stages of the company’s growth. This includes the financing that happened in December before the IPO. We struggled to raise money at that time, even when the metrics were incredibly obvious. The reason was skepticism. We were the first company. If you bring new innovation in security, it’s relatively easy to raise money. But if you bring new innovation in an area where there haven’t been big software companies, it’s difficult. I’m really thankful to the investors who believed in us in the early days. Folks like Bessemer Venture Partners, who did the two earliest rounds, were really placing a big bet on truly creating something new. It was not just a new company, but a new category. Now, of course, that’s changed which is great. Now, legal tech is a hot segment and venture capital is flowing in at early-stage and public capital is flowing in later. It’s wonderful because you’re going to see this huge cornucopia of legal tech startups trying new things. Some of them will stick, and some of them won’t. But it’s going to accelerate innovation in the legal tech space in a way that we haven’t seen before.

Chris: Kiwi, what’s one bit of advice you would give someone if they had another great idea and they were needing to raise funds?

Kiwi: Now, I think it’s much more straightforward. I would give the same advice to a legal tech founder that I would give to any startup founder. Everything you work on, the story, how you articulate the idea, how nice the deck is, and whether you get the right introductions to investors, all of that stuff pales in comparison to the shape of the revenue graph. If you ever have a spare moment, what you should spend time on is making the shape of the revenue graph good. That’s what early-stage tech investors invest in. Focus on substance over form. The way you raise money is to build a great company. It’s not to take a company and then focus on how you spin it or articulate the story in a better way, or have the right comms. It’s to build a great company.

Building a Platform for the Lifecycle of  Litigation 

Chris: Could you give us a brief overview of what DISCO is now?

Kiwi: We started with DISCO ediscovery, which was our attempt to automate a lot of the work that goes into legal document review and ediscovery. Then, we expanded to DISCO Review, which actually is an AI-powered solution that replaces the huge numbers of hours that go into manual document review. Then, we expanded to Case Builder which is an attempt to build a platform for the full lifecycle of a litigation or investigation. Those are our products. If you zoom out, what we’ve built is a company that brings together deep expertise in how to deliver Valley grade software, coupled with a deep love and respect for the law that lets us build product experiences that feel magical to lawyers. Our aspiration is to continue growing our product set over time, so that we’re able to build tools for more and more categories of legal work, freeing great lawyers to focus on the kinds of things they went to law school to do.

Chris: What’s your current headcount right now?

Kiwi: Something like 500.  

IPO: The Olympic Podium of Finance

Chris: What was it like to take the company public in July 2021?

Kiwi: It was crazy. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime journeys, and we did it in an accelerated way. We made the decision to do it in January 2021 and were out in July. Most people will tell you it’s normally a 12-18 month process. Our ability to do that is a testament to the amazing team that we’ve built, especially in our finance and legal functions at DISCO who were able to prepare the S-1 and all the disclosure documents and work with banks and law firms and really get everything going.

The most fun part of the IPO is telling the story on a far bigger stage than you ever do when you’re a private company. One example is the IPO videos that go up on RetailRoadshow.com when you do the road trip. Anyone can watch them so you get Hollywood-caliber folks to fulfill these things. It’s really fun to see your story played out on the 30-minute roadshow video. Then, while the videos are up, you’re having these one-on-one meetings and group meetings with the most sophisticated public market investors in the world. By the way, these investors have a bad reputation in Silicon Valley because all the private investors think they’re smarter, but these public market investors are incredibly savvy. In very short periods of time, they do amazing amounts of diligence. They go out and talk to customers, they learn the industry, and then they engage with you for 30-60 minutes of Q&A. The questions are good too. They really learn the business, and then they place big bets. So, they have to make a decision quickly and have conviction behind it. I really enjoyed that part of the process. It culminates in that magical moment that they call the Olympic podium of finance. You’re at the New York Stock Exchange, and you see the company’s name that you’ve built on every stand and the banner in front of the exchange, and you get to ring the bell. There’s no moment like it, Chris.

Ringing the Bell

Chris: How did ringing that bell make you feel?

Kiwi: For us, it was a two-part thing. We went public on the New York Stock Exchange and the night before they put a massive banner on the outside. We brought 80 people from DISCO to have the opportunity to participate. Remember, this is just coming out of COVID, so that was pretty much our first in-person gathering since COVID. Many haven’t seen each other for a year and a half and then, the exchange threw us a party after it close the evening before. You’re on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, having drinks the day before your company will go public. It’s so great. 

Then, on the day of there’s the bell ringing ceremony. There’s the bell when the market opens. There’s what they call the first trade bell, which I think is the coolest one. You’re standing outside the stand of your market maker, in our case Citadel, and you wait. There’s an auction and people are submitting their buy and sell orders. At some point, the auction clears and trading opens in your stock and you see the first price like the first print on the ticker. And then, I whacked the heck out of that bell on the floor of the exchange. It’s just amazing.

Chris: Did you ever think you’d be the CEO of a publicly-traded company?

Kiwi: No, I didn’t. I thought I was gonna be a university researcher in AI. I was a programmer. That was my passion. Business was the furthest thing from my mind, and, more fundamentally, law was the furthest thing from my mind.

Inspired by a Judge and CEO 

Chris: Kiwi, who has inspired you in your level of leadership?

Kiwi: Everyone has their own style. When I’m giving advice to other people, the advice I give is to not mimic. The observation is that if you look at the greatest leaders in any field, they’re not like each other. Everyone has a unique style, and you need to develop your own unique style. Now that said, there are so many amazing people. To this day, I’m very much inspired by the judge I clerked for, Harris Hartz. He is a mental model of what a great high integrity, hard-working judge is, straight down the middle of the fairway. If you talk to people who have known him for years, they will tell stories from his practice about such high integrity. He had a watch beside his desk when he was working and he would log leaving to go to the restroom. He was just fastidious about his billable time. It’s a minor thing, but it’s that spirit that ran through all his work. He read every case, he read every article, and he did the work. It was very inspiring that level of craft. 

In business, I look up to folks like Satya Nadella who has transformed the culture of Microsoft, and how that culture transformation has turned into such amazing results for a company that when I was in school, it was the evil empire. Nobody wanted to work at Microsoft. It was thought to be great and big and dominant. People thought about it the way the people in my generation thought about IBM, as the last era’s giant. Now, it’s a giant again on the ascendancy and that is Satya. I could keep off rattling off names, but as a reader, I look at how they achieve great results in so many different ways, and I try to combine the bits and pieces.

Diversity of Thought

Chris: Kiwi, what’s one area right now that’s a growth curve for you?

Kiwi: It’s around this scale of the organization, and consequently, the diversity of views that are in the organization about just about everything. When you’re an early-stage company, what typically happens is you attract the type of people who agree with you. That’s why they’re coming. As you get bigger and bigger, you have more and more diversity of views, it’s very good. It allows you to not get trapped in your old way of thinking and to be open to new ideas and innovation. It makes you more effective as an organization. But it does mean you have to deal with a new level of disagreement and have the need to drive alignment across the big organization. An example is expectation around how we should respond to COVID. People are all over the spectrum with their level of concern around COVID and what they think the right response should be. And yet many of those decisions cannot be made individually, they need to be made collectively. That’s an area of disagreement, but it can come up in all kinds of areas of business. For me, culture and how we stay aligned and fast-moving in a place where we have very diverse views and disagreements is something I’m spending a lot of time on.

Software is Coming 

Chris: 10 years from now, what will be changed in the legal industry?

Kiwi: Software is coming. What I tell people is to look at your daily life, whether you’re in a legal department or a law firm, and then walk the halls and observe what your colleagues are spending time on. Ask yourself what percentage of that work is a) the kind of work you went to law school to do or b) actually requires independent human judgment. Those parts of the work are staying and in fact, those parts of the work are going to grow. It’s going to be so much more fun for you because you’ll get to actually practice law as you imagined it when you were a law student before you were beaten down by the world. Software is coming to rescue you and automate away the rest. People think DISCO and our peers are great success stories. We’re just getting started. Software has barely begun its journey of transforming the way the practice works.


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DISCO’s Client Evolution

Chris: Who comprises your client roster from a high-level perspective?

Kiwi: We work with the largest enterprises in the world and the law firms that represent them. And the caveat, which your listeners will understand, is that the law firms who represent them doesn’t necessarily mean we’re talking about the AmLaw200 these days. There are all of these boutiques, especially in litigation, that are spinoffs from some of the big firms. More importantly, they take their clients with them, so they’re representing lots of big companies. That segment of litigation boutiques is the kind of work we did at my old firm. They were our first target market and our first champions. They were these entrepreneurial lawyers who didn’t have a big commitment to an existing solution. They like doing things themselves. That’s often why they left. They wanted something better. So, that’s where we started. Over the years, we moved up the market by going to their clients and then from their clients to the larger law firms that represented them. Now, DISCO is used by the vast majority of AMLaw200 firms and then large enterprises in pretty much every major sector.

Why Kiwi Loves Austin  

Chris: Tell us about how that’s been taking a company public and growing that company in Austin, Texas.

Kiwi: Austin is amazing. So, I was in college during the first dot-com boom. Austin feels now like Silicon Valley felt then (not like Silicon Valley feels now). There’s this amazing, tremendous energy of startups and of people who are building things. And I don’t mean only tech. It’s an entrepreneur’s city. We have our big Art Festival in Austin which is this entrepreneurial group that stitches together all the local studios and galleries and they do these studio tours twice a year. There are big, famous galleries, but there’s also the guy who makes ceramics in the shed behind his house on the tour. Restaurants are popping up all the time. But then, for tech, there is a huge explosion in early stage companies in Austin. What’s interesting about Austin, is that we’re able to draw heavily on the strengths of the rest of Texas. In Texas, there are a lot of these companies where people develop a deep, deep domain. They really understand banking and then people leave from there and they start banking software companies. There’s a big publicly traded one here in Austin. Or folks develop deep expertise in oil and gas or energy and go build big technology companies. There’s a famous one that does staffing for energy companies here in Austin. Or there are some of the best hospitals and medical systems in the world in Austin, Houston, and Dallas and then we have the tech company called Everly Health. The list goes on and on. You get this tremendous energy here, that is hard to replicate and you also have this vibe where people help each other.  Texas is a state made of people who moved to Texas. While I love Boston, and it’s my favorite city in the US, Texas could almost be described as the American opposite. Texas is open to people and people are helpful. Texans are all in it together.  We’re on the frontier. We’re gonna pitch in. We’re gonna make it work. It’s a very Texan thing and I love it.

Kiwi’s Immigration Story

Chris: Kiwi, you are the son of immigrant parents who were physicians in the Philippines. Is that correct?

Kiwi: Yes, and I was born in the Philippines myself, so I’m first generation.

Chris: Would you share that journey of being a part of that immigrant family coming to the US and being raised in another nation.

Kiwi: There are so many things that can be improved about the United States and our culture. But for immigrants, this country is magical. The opportunity that this country provides to people like me and to so many others is incredible. Look at the immigrants who are leading so many of the greatest companies in tech and finance services and every industry. That doesn’t happen in other places. They did something special and amazing here. 

When we came over, the first place we went to was Cleveland. My parents worked at the Cleveland Clinic. So, I spent the first half of my childhood in the hardcore Midwest in Cleveland, Ohio, and then we went to Hawaii after that. Then, I lived in so many places like Boston, Albuquerque, Palo Alto, Chicago, Houston, and now Austin. I’ve lived all over the United States, and have seen just how welcoming it is. It’s a great environment to build something and there is an enormous diversity that is contained in this country. The difference between New Orleans and New York and Montana, and all the things that are encompassed in this thing we call the United States are just amazing and special. I love this place.

Competitive Ball Room Dancing

Chris: Kiwi, you have some fun hobbies. I’d love for you to share some of them with my audience.

Kiwi: Chris, maybe it would be more accurate to say I used to have some hobbies. I spend a lot of time at DISCO now. When I was in college, a girlfriend made me take ballroom dancing lessons, but then I got more into it than she did. And I wound up becoming a competitive ballroom dancer. When I was in law school, Dean Robert Clark shared in his welcome speech, and said, “You should lean in and do hard work and learn the law and so on. But also, you should pick one thing that isn’t the law, and you should have that in your life.” For me, it was competitive ballroom dancing. I still like to go out socially, but I no longer compete. I was a judge for a while, and then I left the scene entirely. Horseback riding was my thing growing up, and then I got back into it when I came to Texas. I like poker, travel, food, and wine, so some of the more common ones.

Chris: I’m assuming that ballroom dancing has a very fascinating culture with the folks that participate. I would compare it to the culture that surrounds dog competitions. Could you share more?

Kiwi: It does have its own culture and movies, just as good as Best in Show. You can dive in and learn a bit about the culture of ballroom dancing that way. It’s a world to itself. Once you stumble in it into it, and you go down the rabbit hole, there are these different styles and different dances. But then for each style, there are different traditions that can kind of trace themselves to specific teachers. There’s an incredibly active collegiate ballroom dancing scene, especially in the Northeast of the United States. One of the best teams was MIT. MIT had this killer ballroom dancing team and they won big competitions. You can recognize where someone learned. For example, I was in Vienna, at the Vienna Opera Ball and we’re dancing a Viennese Waltz. This Viennese couple stopped us and said, “Are you from Harvard?” They recognized the style of dancing. It’s a very cool and fun world and, of course, completely separate from the law. So, if you’re a 1L, it is the ideal escape.

Chris: So if you had an invite from Dancing with the Stars, would you accept? 

Kiwi: Absolutely. 

Fantasy and Science Fiction Fan

Chris: I know you’re a reader so is anything on your desk you’d like to share with the listeners today?

Kiwi: Growing up, I was a big fantasy and science fiction fan, and I still am, and one of my favorite series was the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. As you may know, Amazon has turned it into a series which is great, highly recommend it. So, I embarked on a reread, which will keep me busy for some time. It’s 13+ massive volumes. 

Not Afraid to Do Crazy

Chris: Kiwi, last question, what is your superpower?

Kiwi: I am not afraid to do things that other people think are crazy or impossible. And I can convince other people to do them with me.

Chris: Kiwi, it’s been an honor and a pleasure. I appreciate your time today. 

Kiwi: Thanks so much, Chris.

Thank you to everyone who listened to this episode of The Law Firm Leadership Podcast.

***To Download the PDF Transcript, click here*** 


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