The global pandemic has made mental health a forefront concern around the world. For Alex Tovitz, GC of global virtual behavioral healthcare company AbleTo, it has helped show the value of legal tech in a new light.
The intersection of technology and health is truly
fascinating. AbleTo, a leading provider of virtual
behavioral healthcare, proves there is a hugely important
role for technology to play in providing healthcare, but working
out the right blend of technology and in-person connection is
an important aspect to the successful delivery of this care.
Our technology can be used to assist people in finding the right
therapy and programmes, and when it comes to behavioural
healthcare people’s reliance on technology is only going to
increase. Our telehealth tools strengthen the relationship
between our therapist and our patients in a safe digital space.
Our services consist of a number of licensed therapists that
provide virtual behaviour therapy to individuals and businesses.
During the pandemic our company grew significantly. The
strain of lockdown caused many people to turn to online health
services in a way we had never seen before.
Given the centrality of tech to our offering, it is no surprise that
our work in the legal team is also heavily reliant on technology
to deliver service to the business. For example, we have
been working with a number of vendors to implement a new
contract management platform. Making all contract work
digital will be our next step as a growing organisation.
We also operate a very distributed legal team, with
professionals based everywhere from Florida to Texas and
upstate New York. To be efficient with that set-up you need to
coordinate effectively, and tech tools – even fairly simple ones
like Google Docs – are essential in allowing the team to share
documents and stay connected.
However, it is the not so simple tools that offer the most
exciting possibilities. When I first started practicing law over 20
years ago, I could not have predicted where we are today when
it comes to legal technology. The legal tech space is growing
and there is really a wealth of options on the market now.
For any lawyer that is midway through their career, getting
comfortable with technology and change is very important.
I started my career in litigation and a large part of the job
was manually looking up case law. A lot of what I did was
stamping, numbering and producing documents. Just last year
I was handling some legal matters and I could see how much
legal tech has made the practice of law more streamlined and
This pace of change will continue and it will have a
transformational impact on in-house teams. While artificial
intelligence has been hyped for a long time, it is clear that
practical applications now exist. Certainly, algorithms are being
created that not only assist with contract management, but
also generate basic legal advice. It is inconceivable that such
tools will not be used to help improve team efficiency over the
Another interesting emerging technology is blockchain, AI and
smart contracts. How quickly these spaces develop are yet
to be determined. Nevertheless, I believe legal technology is
bound to change the practice of law within the next ten years.
Attorneys – including myself – should continue to embrace the
change that comes with legal tech.
This is a potential danger for the career stability of lawyers –
after all, in an already crowded market the last thing a lawyer
wants to hear is that technology will make large parts of the
job redundant. However, for general counsel, and perhaps
also for professional advisers of all kinds, it is an intriguing
If tech can be used to reduce administrative work, and all
the signs are that it can be used very effectively to do this,
then more time can be spent on legal analysis and strategic
legal work. Any form of technology that helps lawyers
represent their clients more effectively and efficiently should
be embraced. This is where I see legal technology making the
One of our top priorities at AbleTo when it comes to technology
is privacy and protecting the health data of our users. Making
sure we have the right privacy infrastructure is not only a legal
imperative, but also a business one. Our participants share
very personal data on our platform, and we work very hard to
ensure it remains private and secure. I have a dedicated chief
privacy officer who works to ensure this data remains secure.
We also need to make sure we are compliant with all national
and state laws when it comes to data protection.