Since the late 1990s, Joyce Raby has spent a career bringing technology to legal aid. While a booster and believer in technology's potential to improve America's legal system, her experience is tempering.
"We've been saying for a very long time that technology was going to be the saving grace for the justice ecosystem," she says. "I don't think it is."
For litigators accustomed to conducting discovery inside large warehouses surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of cardboard file boxes, combing through several forests' worth of paper to find the few relevant documents was like trying to find the needle in the haystack.
Robert Litt has confronted cybersecurity and encryption issues for two presidential administrations. With Russian interference in the 2016 election as a backdrop, Litt, an ABA Journal Legal Rebels Trailblazer, says the U.S. has been facing online threats essentially since the internet's creation.
John Tredennick started a focus on legal technology in 1988—back when law firms saw it as something limited to fancy computers and adding machines. He asked Holland & Hart, the Denver-based firm where he was a partner, to add the words chief information officer to his title. Inspiration came from an American Bar Association conference.
It's common now for large law firms to have a chief knowledge officer to determine how technology can help lawyers do their jobs more effectively. When Michael Mills first took on that type of role for Davis Polk & Wardwell in 1990, hardly any others were around to imitate. The internet barely even existed.
For more than three decades, Richard Susskind has been one of the profession's most prolific voices in support of implementing technology with legal services delivery. He's the author of more than 10 books on the topic, and his next one will focus on technology in the courtroom.
For years, Paul Lippe has been a leader in helping corporate law departments adopt the approaches used in the best and most innovative parts of their own companies—and in doing so, significantly changing the relationships with and the work done by their outside lawyers.
Born and raised in Austria, Roland Vogl fell in love with California almost from the moment he arrived in 1999 as a student at Stanford Law School. In particular, he was drawn to the entrepreneurial ethos of Stanford's home base of Silicon Valley.
"The idea of being in Silicon Valley and being immersed in the gung-ho spirit where people solve problems—not so much by policy and lawmaking but by building new systems—really appealed to me," says Vogl, a 2017 Legal Rebels Trailblazer.
The website Lawyerist focuses on getting attorneys information they want. Determining what that is isn't hard, says founder Sam Glover, because readers frequently tell him through the site's discussion forum or on social media.