Ode to Alvin Tedjamulia | 2021 Fastcase 50 Award Winner
The Fastcase 50 award panel has recognized what the NetDocuments team and broader legal tech community have known for decades: Alvin Tedjamulia is a one-of-a kind, a thoughtful innovator, masterful story teller, and cloud tech evangelist. And, after assessing a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, judges, law librarians, and bar association executives, Fastcase has named Alvin Tedjamulia, NetDocuments co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), one of their Fastcase 50 honorees for 2021.
Long time legal technology influencer, editor, content creator, and lawyer Bob Ambrogi wrote about the Fastcase 50 class of 2021 here and sums it up best: “If you are wondering where the innovators are in law, look no farther than the Fastcase 50, the annual award doled out by the legal intelligence company Fastcase that honors 50 of the law's smartest, most courageous, innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders.’”
I have known Alvin about seven years or so, which is only a drop in the bucket considering his 40+ years of knowledge and experience. I like to say that ‘Alvin years’ are like dog years, in terms of what I – and many others – have learned from him regarding a breadth of topics including legal technology, cloud computing, leadership, respect, remote places, and foreign cultures (more on that later).
I first met Alvin at the NetDocuments HQ in Lehi, Utah that showcases stunning views of the Salt Lake City-area Traverse Mountains from nearly every conference room. I was meeting with him for a briefing about the company’s technology and cloud computing – topics I anticipated might lull me to sleep if it weren't for the views. Much to my surprise, the meeting with Alvin was the highlight of my visit. I found myself captivated and spellbound as he shared his legal tech history which included co-founding SoftSolutions, an early document management system (DMS) popular within legal, in 1989; transitioning to CTO at WordPerfect after its acquisition of SoftSolutions; assuming the role of VP of Advanced Technologies at Novell, after it acquired WordPerfect; and acting as original chief designer for Comprehensive Law Office (CLO), an accounting and time & billing system for law firms (which is now part of Aderant). All of this occurring well before he even got to his all-consuming passion … cloud computing.
In 1999, when few lawyers had any concept of what it meant to work in the cloud, let alone turn over all of their documents and content to it (including their clients' highly sensitive information), Alvin co-founded NetDocuments—the first cloud-based document and email management solution created for legal professionals. Selling ice to Eskimos sounded like child's play in comparison.
Anyone who knows Alvin knows he is an unassuming gentleman, rather reserved at first but engaging, passionate, and highly articulate. Once you say ‘cloud,’ he will look you in the eyes and crack a big, knowing smile. He is (in)famous within the legal community for his off the wall presentations. Attend one of his executive briefings and don't be surprised if he imparts a geography lesson about the Amazon, informs you about storks in France, shares his tales of Thai ducks trained to manage rice paddies, and takes you back to the origins of mankind and the power of fire; all while reminding you how NetDocuments' native cloud is just like all of these examples, but better.
All of what we admire about Alvin is what makes him so incredibly deserving of the long overdue Fastcase 50 recognition. If you haven’t met him yet, add it to your bucket list (NetDocuments’ 2021 INSPIRE conference might be a great place to check it off). You won’t be disappointed.
Jobst Elster is the head of content and legal market strategy at InsideLegal, and VP of Envision Agency. He brings extensive experience in market analysis, market research, public relations, and product marketing to the legal industry. He has served as a legal market strategist for the last 22 years, advising companies entering the legal market, involved in mergers and acquisitions, and expanding operations overseas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @InsideLegal.