The Workchop Conversation with Bright Oleka

Written by Jesulayomi Adetola

March 25, 2021

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

This week, we have Bright Oleka, Head of Product at JUDY. Bright is a graduate of statistics from Abia state University but fell in love with tech. He started out as a web developer, and he then tagged along his cousin Vincent Okeke in creating West Africa’s first e-learning platform called doviLearn.com. He is also a lover of great design and is obsessed with client relationship management.

What is the problem you aimed to solve when starting Judy?

My Co-founder is the son of a Justice of the Appeal Court of Ghana. Growing up, he was often tasked with assisting his father in bookmarking cases in law reports, pointing out inaccurate citations, and other paralegal duties. Over the years, he came across various software that were supposed to make his ‘job’ obsolete, but they were all clunky (old-fashioned). After completing his CS degree, he investigated the issue further, only to find that the problem stretched far beyond Ghana. Hence, JUDY was born.

What does your work as a Product Head involve?

As the head of product, I work closely with the tech team in creating some user-centric products we have launched over time like our desktop application, JUDY Lite and our most premium feature: JUDY Plus. I’m also heavily involved with customer relationship management.

How does Judy work in making legal research faster and efficiently to lawyers?

We have obtained, digitized, and uploaded over 70,000 cases from the Supreme and Appeal Courts of Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya to our database. After digitization, the cases required additional formatting and grammatical corrections. Therefore, we built an internal Editorial Dashboard where our team of lawyers edit, format, and annotate principles established in a  case. 

This enables us to present cases to users in a properly formatted, navigable structure. We then use our lawyers’ annotations as labeled training data (about 10,000 data points so far) to subsequently develop insights for end-users, such as finding cases with similar principles, or similar issues. Each data point (of the training data)  generally consists of a specific legal principle and the corresponding passage where that principle is applicable. With sufficient training, our model is able to identify all relevant legal principles in a given case judgment.

Search results are further prioritized by how frequently a case has been referenced, therefore, landmark cases rank higher.

With a well-trained AI, we will scalably derive insights from cases and forgo a large editorial team. We have also developed a method to fine tune our algorithm to generate case summaries.

What apps, gadgets or tools have you been relying on to work and how do you use them?

Due to the pandemic, I work remotely and the tools below are what I use to effectively carry out a lot of my day-to-day tasks.

  1. Google Meet & Zoom for communication
  2. Slack  & Airtable for Project management
  3. Intercom for client complaint resolution and feedback
  4. Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator & Premier Pro for designs & video editing

What are you currently reading, watching or listening to?

I’m not reading any book at the moment but my daily addictions are on podcasts & YouTube. I listen to a lot of content from “The Business of Design” Podcast and also Alex Harris material’s because of his knowledge on Product growth, user engagement & design.

Who would you like to answer these questions?

I would recommend Charles Thompson, Chief Technical Officer, JUDY.

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