Ironclad Journal icon Ironclad BLOG

Starting a New Journey: Introducing Ironclad’s Chief Community Officer, Mary O’Carroll

April 22, 2021 4 min read
Mart O'Carroll Ironclad Legal Ops

Our team is thrilled to host guest contributor Mary O’Carroll today to share about her newest adventure and what it means for the Ironclad community.

The perfect job, the kind that challenges and exhilarates in equal measure, is a rare and special thing. It is a priceless feeling when you believe completely in what you do, and in the people you do it with.

I have been fortunate to have that twice in my career. First at Google, where I was given the opportunity to stand up a legal operations function 13 years ago, at a time when the field barely existed. Then a few years later, lightning struck once more when, together with a handful of other rebels from in-house departments, I helped start the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). That small legal innovation group quickly grew into a thriving global community, where I would eventually serve as President.

Being part of these two organizations, holding these two jobs that I love, has defined much of my life for well over a decade. The work was relentless, consuming most of my waking hours, but I never minded. Simply put, I am obsessed with legal operations. My bedside table is covered in legal innovation nerd books. All the podcasts I listen to are on this topic. My Twitter feed only follows legal disruption people. So to be able to have two high-profile roles in this emerging field, to be trusted and supported by colleagues I deeply respect…Well, it just does not get any better than that.

I have always felt that way. I still feel that way now. That is why it feels surreal to say that I am leaving Google and stepping down as President of CLOC. Today, I am joining a new team and starting a new chapter as Chief Community Officer at Ironclad.

An inspiring, energizing mission

This was not an easy decision, but I believe it is the right one. When younger colleagues ask me for career advice, I tell them just two things: Take on big, scary challenges and Try to work with people you can learn from. To me, the opportunity to be part of Ironclad’s mission, to help shape a new community of innovators focused on redefining contracting, meets both standards.

I first encountered Ironclad years ago and was impressed not just by their obvious technical prowess—I still remember being blown away by their early demo–but also by the clarity and depth of their vision. From the start, Jason, Cai, and the team sought to create revolutionary change, to find a completely new way to address one of the most basic needs in our, or any, industry. They are taking the contract from what it has always been–essentially a necessary evil in the world of business–and uncovering ways to make it fluid, adaptive, and intelligent.

Contracting is the most exciting sector in legal tech today. It is the next area that needs to be completely digitized and reimagined, and carries massive potential for innovation and value creation. I call contracting “the 80% problem” because it is so ubiquitous, affecting so many people, companies, and workflows. Talk to anyone in just about any organization, of any size, and any industry, that deals with contracts and I guarantee that they will tell you they hate the way it works today. If you can fix that, you are fixing the biggest and most persistent challenge in our industry.

One of the things I am most excited about is how Ironclad is pushing to leverage the information trapped in business contracts. This is the secret weapon no one has unlocked yet. Instead of simply being a point of friction in every workflow, the contract can become a new source of value and insight, with stunning possibilities for the entire company. There are probably more business insights to be drawn from contracts than any other body of information in an organization. And when you start to improve a process that will directly affect a company’s revenue and their ability to execute business operations, everyone starts to get interested.  

A powerful new community

Another thing that really attracted me to Ironclad is that, from the start, the company put community at the center of their vision. They understand that technology and process are powerful, but only when placed in service to people. The very existence of my new role is a testament to that belief. As Chief Community Officer, I am stepping into a new role with a unique mandate: To create the world’s leading community focused on unlocking the value of digital contracts

I often say that what attracted me to Legal was the opportunity to solve problems, but what kept me working in the industry was finding “my people.” My experience with the legal operations community showed me what a passionate, driven group of people from different backgrounds can accomplish when they work together. When you are connected with others, and all pulling together, you feel like you can solve any problem. I live for it.

I see that same passion, that same creativity, that same unstoppable optimism and belief in Ironclad. I want to help foster and nurture a strong community based on mutual value, the free exchange of ideas and practices, and a shared commitment to creating a better future. I feel like I have found my people all over again!

Starting a new journey

So that is why I am joining Ironclad. Not to leave the mission to which I have dedicated my career–to redefine the business of law–but to advance it. I may be changing teams and shifting roles, but I am still serving the same larger purpose.

I start this new journey with gratitude and appreciation for the many people who have touched my career. I have learned so much from you, and been so fortunate to have had you in my life. I love our world, this legal operations world, too much to ever walk away. I have just found a new, thrilling part of it to focus on.

For me, lightning has struck again. I have a new job that I love. I am so excited to begin this new journey with Ironclad and the digital contracting community. I look forward to what we can accomplish together.

Want more content like this? Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Book your live demo

Mary Shen O’Carroll is Ironclad’s Chief Community Officer. Previously, she was the Director of Legal Operations at Google, as well as the President of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). In her early career, she served as the Profitability Manager for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and was an investment banker and strategic management consultant. Mary is also a passionate leader pushing forward disruptive technology and processes designed to change the future of the legal industry.