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Creating Legal Innovation: Q&A With Avinash Moondra

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Silicon Valley attracts great talent from around the world and it’s easy to see why: People of great talent see the world through a different kind of lens—they redefine the rules, solve complex problems, and create new realities that provide value to other people.

Avinash Moondra is one of those great talents. One of the first software engineers at Atrium, Avi works closely with designers, product managers, and the legal team to build, scale, and deliver software that elevates the high value work of both our legal team and our clients.

In the midst of our company growth over the past two years, I caught up with Avi to gain his perspective on the growth of Atrium’s engineering team, its unique opportunities in the Bay Area, and his advice to prospective talent interested in joining one of the most disruptive companies in the legal industry.

(And no, he’s not building a platform that replaces attorneys with robots. But more on that later.)

 

Q: You were one of the first engineers on the Atrium team. What brought you to Atrium?

A: Since studying computer science and statistics, I’ve been passionate about building software and working with data. Atrium has been a great fit because we leverage software and data continuously to analyze and improve the quality and delivery of legal work. It’s especially exciting to see us build efficiencies and derive insights far beyond what the industry has seen in the last hundred years.

These data-driven improvements are key in our role as a startup that helps other startups. By removing some of the common blockers in the legal industry, we are empowering founders and their company to focus more time and energy on what matters most: their core competencies and building out their business. No one starts a company to do 83(b) filings.

What also attracted me to Atrium was a rare opportunity to join a world-class team at such an early stage. It gives me a firsthand opportunity to shape the company in ways that will positively impact our clients, and build an organization that continues to attract great talent.

 

Q: What does the engineering team look like today compared to when you first joined?

A: When I first joined Atrium, we were in a bit of a wild, wild west territory—process iterations have naturally improved our productivity not just in engineering, but across multiple teams throughout the entire company. It has been an evolution that continues to be extremely rewarding. Atrium fosters an environment for team members to drive impact and shape decision-making, whether it’s influencing the kinds of technologies we select or weighing in on market and product strategies.

I consider our engineering team to be a team of teams, and the teams range from about two to five people. Our small-team approach helps us build software in a highly productive way and distribute product challenges across the best members of our team. We also form working groups of cross-functional team members, which allows us to push forward larger infrastructure projects more efficiently.

 

Q: How is being an engineer at Atrium different than being an engineer at any other tech company?

A: The biggest difference in being an engineer at Atrium versus another company is the advantage we have to physically sit feet away from our customers. In my experience, that is a pretty atypical experience. What this provides our team with is closed-loop feedback with the end users of the software we are building. As a result, I not only build better software, but I can build it faster.

One of the most exciting parts about being a software engineer at Atrium is that we aren’t just a software company—we’re also a services company. The technology we’re building not only impacts our clients – ensuring they’re able to focus on building their business, and not worry about legal – but our entire legal staff to deliver more efficient legal services.

Atrium is building a business that’s incredibly different than the rest of Silicon Valley. We are innovating in two different areas with two different types of people, from service professionals to builders, product designers, and engineers.

 

Q: What excites you about the work at Atrium?

A: Thinking about its future. We are growing beyond our law firm and the legal services we provide our clients. Our engineering team is building the technical foundations of a purpose-built technology platform that can connect everyone from business and legal professionals to external legal experts.

Truthfully, it’s a massive vision and we’re laying down the first bricks of a technical solution that requires the right mix of forward-looking strategy and tactical decision-making. We’re changing how founders can approach their business.

For example, imagine being a founder or a member of an in-house counsel at a company. You request a proposal for a complex, legal project through the Atrium platform. In return, multiple legal specialists provide you with recommended solutions to choose between—all with competitive proposals and quotes. In many ways, we’re talking about providing founders with the best quality work at competitive, fair pricing and that’s a win for the entire industry.

Contrary to a more automation mode of thinking, we aren’t in the business of replacing attorneys with robots. We are enabling everyone from practice assistants to paralegals to attorneys to partners to have access to the data and insights they need to deliver the best legal service they can to their clients.

 

Q: How would you describe the people and culture at Atrium?

A: The diversity here is hands-down my favorite aspect of working at Atrium. We have such a diverse range of people—on our engineering team and across the company—that not only makes it fun to come to work but makes us more productive as a team. From different backgrounds to contrasting perspectives, collaborating as a team helps us build out intuitive, disruptive technologies and capabilities in an industry known for its legacy methodologies.

The opportunity we have to meet with folks across the company also gives us, as engineers, unique insight into the different angles of our business, which ultimately translates into building better software for our clients and attorneys.

Atrium is conscious of making its company a great place to work for every employee. We’re building this great company with people who treat each other well, hang out after hours because they want to, and just work together really well.

 

Q: With engineers in high demand through the Bay Area, why should someone work at Atrium?

A: Atrium provides engineers with an incredibly rewarding opportunity to start from the ground up in this industry—to be there from zero to one. It’s common to join a team or a company that’s already locked into existing software or ways of thinking.

Atrium offers engineers something different. As an early member of our team, you would have the opportunity to influence how we build product and infrastructure.

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Cassie Pallesen is Atrium's Head of Content Strategy. Before Atrium, Cassie built and led Anaplan's global content team as well as held marketing roles at Autodesk and Bluewolf (an IBM company). Cassie is a well-rounded marketer with experience in website & content strategy, marketing communications, product marketing, demand generation, and content development.