When Rodney Smolla was featured as a Legal Rebel in 2009, he was in the midst of leading an innovative plan at Washington and Lee University School of Law, which involved eliminating traditional third-year coursework and replacing it with experiential learning.
When David Van Zandt became dean of what is now Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law in 1995, he faced a steep learning curve. Up until then, he had never managed an organization of more than a few people.
Before they were buzzwords, Luz Herrera was a pioneer in the world of "low bono" practice, nonprofit law firms and legal incubators. All three innovations have blossomed and spread across the country since then.
In the 10 years since Emery K. Harlan, co-founder of the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms, was featured as an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, he says little has changed for diversity in the profession.
When Ralph Baxter joined the inaugural class of Legal Rebels in 2009, he was the CEO and chairman of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. Just a year into the biggest recession since the Great Depression, he caught the ABA Journal’s attention through his initiatives that took Orrick from a domestic, California-based firm to an international heavyweight while navigating economic turbulence.
Many lawyers are reluctant to adopt new legal technology, says Monica Goyal, who developed platforms including My Legal Briefcase, which helps parties in the Canadian small claims courts, and Aluvion Law, which uses automation to cut legal services costs for small businesses.
Perhaps in five to seven years, as Colin Rule sees it, half of U.S. citizens who file court cases will have access to online dispute resolution software walking them step by step through their matters, resolving up to 80 percent of cases.
While business owners and in-house counsels usually find outside counsels through referrals, Basha Rubin says that often doesn’t lead to a good result in terms of cost and experience. The New York City lawyer believes that data can fill the gap.
Michele Mirto’s commitment to access to justice started as a little girl. Her parents drove home the importance of community involvement by leading their kids to donate to the food bank and homeless shelter.
In the summer of 2014, as unaccompanied minor immigrants arrived at the border en masse, Stephen Manning was focused on a lesser-noticed but equally pressing problem: representing mothers with young children in family detention.
Legal technology suits Lisa Colpoys because “there’s always something new and shiny,” says the Chicago attorney who recently left a legal aid career to help build the boot camp for the Institute for the Future of Law Practice.