In the first-released Star Wars installment, Han Solo brags that he can captain the Millennium Falcon through a smuggling route in just under 12 parsecs—a parsec being a truly astronomical measurement of 3.26 light-years. The route itself is 18 parsecs, illustrating that Solo is a brassy pilot willing to fly closer to black holes and cut the route by a third.
When his law firm enlisted then-litigator Daniel W. Linna Jr. for a presentation on evaluating potential trial outcomes, he presented his Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn peers with a hypothetical case—a teaching approach he used later as an adjunct at the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law.
Philippa Ryan thinks a lot about trust. A barrister in Australia, she lectures on the subject, and her PhD thesis focused on the breach of trust and the liability of third parties. So when Ryan heard about trustless relationships enabled by blockchain technology, her interest was piqued.
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.
In 2005, Mark Britton sat at a kitchen table in Sardinia, Italy.
It had been about two years since he left the online travel company Expedia, where he was an executive, and he was ready to uncork something new. It wasn’t a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or grenache that the Mediterranean island is known for: He was aerating an idea that could change how legal services were delivered in the United States.
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.
The noble legal profession is notorious for its inability to move away from long-standing traditions. While many firms of all sizes experiment with new technologies, methodologies and business practices, the vast legal landscape can hardly be distinguished from itself two or more decades ago.