Ken Grady – Judges Q&A

Ken Grady, Adjunct Professor & Research Fellow, Michigan State University College of Law

Why did you chose to become a judge for the British Legal Technology Awards 2019?

Well done awards programs help industries in several ways. They act as an informal screening process identifying the noteworthy and bringing them to the attention of a wider audience. They help improve the quality of work being done in an area by showing what the “best of the best” are doing, thereby challenging competitors to do better. They also provide public recognition for what often can be challenging work done under significant time pressure and performance standards that otherwise would not receive the recognition it deserves. By becoming a judge, I wanted to help the legal industry achieve these benefits from a top-notch awards program.

What Key Advice Would you Give to a Company Entering the Awards?

Although it is a cliché, it is a good one to follow: Put your best foot forward. Take the time to do each part of the process well. The legal industry likes to convey the message that high-quality work is one of the attributes of professionals. Since these awards focus on recognizing the best of our industry – the products and services of professionals, it follows that what applicants submit should be of the highest quality.

What Makes an Entry Stand Out for you?

Identify what you are doing that provides a unique solution to a problem, a solution that is better than any others available, and make sure you present the qualities and specific benefits of that solution clearly. Give sufficient context to your results, so that the significance of the benefits is apparent. Too often, those benefits are buried in flowery prose and colorful graphics. (Since the awards focus on technology, a Star Wars analogy may help. Han Solo brags that he made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs. Interesting, but it only makes an impression when we learn that the typical distance for a Kessel run is 20 parsecs.)

What in your Opinion Elevates an Entrant to Become a Winner?

As in any competition, becoming a winner requires going beyond the ordinary. Doing your job, doing what was expected, and meeting goals are all fine things to do, but they do not take any of us beyond ordinary. To be a winner, you need to exceed ordinary and not by just a bit. Winners do their job plus much that was not part of the job, they accomplish the unexpected, and they exceed goals by a noticeable margin. Explain how what you did exceeded what the expectations were for your project or program, and how that superlative performance benefitted a target group.

Find out more about Ken here.

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