Jason Cecil works to improve technology at The Missouri Bar
Whether it’s the “nuts and bolts” or the “30,000-foot view” of information technology, Missouri Bar Chief Technology Officer Jason Cecil said he constantly looks for ways to improve technology infrastructure for bar staff and members.
Cecil has served as the CTO for five years, working on technology hardware like computers and servers, as well as strategically planning ways the bar can utilize technology to help lawyers even better serve their clients.
To ensure he is thinking ahead, Cecil constantly reads and researches industry trends and news. This helps him plan for situations before they become issues.
“I like to learn lessons from other people rather than having to suffer through learning the lessons ourselves,” he said.
For example, the IT Department put more emphasis on cybersecurity over the last couple of years, implementing multi-factor authorization for staff’s computers and creating new PIN numbers for Missouri Bar members. They also contract with a company that monitors everything in the bar’s technology infrastructure and immediately alerts the department of suspicious activity.
No one is immune from hacking attempts, so Cecil and the IT Department are constantly identifying and remedying vulnerabilities within the bar’s technology infrastructure.
“We have a duty to do everything in our power to limit our risk and reduce our chances of becoming one of those victims,” he said. “We’ve been entrusted with information and we’re going to do the best we’re able to do to protect that information.”
The strategic planning by Cecil and the IT Department also helped the bar quickly transition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Four years ago, IT staff foresaw situations where bar staff and members may not have access to the Bar Center. They obviously didn’t expect a pandemic to hit in 2020, but their blueprint created a smooth transition since they had already implemented the tools needed for remote work.
“It took one day to transition everyone to remote work and our members and the public, for all intents and purposes, couldn’t even tell the difference,” Cecil recalled. “The strategy, planning, and investments we made in the two to three years leading up to the pandemic, it allowed us to be fully prepared for remote work.”
This year, Cecil said the IT Department plans to focus on projects that increase cybersecurity at the bar and efficiency for staff.
Cecil said he enjoys the problem-solving aspect of his job. He regularly finds innovative ways to help Missouri Bar staff do their jobs better and improve interactions members and the public have with the state bar.
“It’s a pretty creative process but also technical, so I get to mix those two things that I don’t think a lot of other professions get to do,” he said.
Before joining The Missouri Bar, Cecil was the chief information officer for Capital Region Medical Center Health System for eight years. As CIO, he researched ways to improve technology systems and business components within the company.
This experience taught Cecil the importance of the human component of technology.
“You could put forth the best technology that ever existed but if the person won’t use or can’t use it, doesn’t get proper training, or you don’t have buy-in on the new process, then it’s going to fail,” he said. “So, we try to approach projects and changes we make at The Missouri Bar with the human component at the forefront always.”
While The Missouri Bar is ahead of the curve in terms of technology, Cecil said, there is always room for improvement. He encouraged members to provide feedback on what the bar is doing well and what it could improve upon. Members can email Cecil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Cecil isn’t leading technology improvements at the bar, he enjoys kayaking and working on projects at home.