From USC Law Magazine: Enterprising entrepreneur Tony Thai (JD 2014)

Julie Riggott • February 16, 2024
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When Tony Thai (JD 2014), a software engineer-turned-attorney, started his first legal job, he was shocked at how outdated the legal industry’s technology was. His work was interesting and challenging, but he didn’t understand why lawyers spent countless hours on tedious tasks that diverted their attention from counseling clients and thinking strategically. With his experience as a software engineer, he came up with a solution: HyperDraft, a document and workflow automation platform designed to simplify legal document creation, review and collaboration.

“I spent years searching for, and had even advised other companies on how to build something that lawyers could use, says Thai, who worked at four big law firms and was assistant general counsel for two large technology companies. “Eventually, I started building software. Soon after, my in-house clients and law firm colleagues were asking to use it. That’s when I started building HyperDraft out as a commercial solution that other legal professionals could also use.”

Today, HyperDraft is a trusted technology partner to Fortune 500 health care, private equity, financial and technology companies across the U.S., helping them to transition legacy processes into digital workflows.

Thai built HyperDraft with the mission to help lawyers work at their best without unnecessary sacrifices of their time.

“All lawyers are entrepreneurs. For many, instead of risking capital, they risk their time. Time is a fundamental resource that you’ll never be able to get back,” he says. “Invest in it so you can grow your skill set and your relationships.”

Thai never thought he would practice law. An entrepreneur at heart, he was tired of having to hire and pay for attorneys for his projects and decided to go to law school himself. He fell in love with the profession much to the surprise of his friends and family who thought he would return to his life as an engineer and entrepreneur after graduating from Gould. “I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy practicing law. I stayed practicing, and soaked up as much learning as I possibly could, knowing that I wanted to be a builder again at some point,” he says.

For Thai, the most important takeaway from his Gould education was learning how to build community.

“I went to a large public school for undergrad, and I didn’t understand the major difference between being at a private institution that invested so greatly in community building until attending Gould,” he says. “Trojans are a part of every major business conversation, and the community is quick to accept, mentor and help other Trojans. Witnessing the power of the Trojan Network taught me the importance of community and how to build my professional network.”

With HyperDraft, Thai is building a community of lawyers who hope to innovate the legal industry and push it in a more positive direction.

“We are providing value to our customers, building a community, and sharing knowledge to push the legal industry forward,” he says.

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