ABA Journal

Legal Rebels and Trailblazers speak!

Hear these innovators tell the tales of how they began changing legal practice and where they see law is going in the future.


How technology can improve immigration policy and practice

The U.S. immigration system is complex and confusing, and it causes no shortage of stress for those who have to go through it.

Taking on unauthorized practice of law regulations to expand access to justice

Are you struggling with debt? Do you have collectors breathing down your neck, threatening to repossess your property and filing lawsuits against you in court? For many Americans facing this dilemma, their options are fairly limited.

EmotionTrac analyzes facial expressions in real time to help lawyers pick juries, market themselves

Facial recognition software is becoming a greater part of our everyday lives. The police use it to investigate crime. Smartphones and computers use it to secure data. Businesses use it to provide more customized, targeted solutions and experiences for its customers. Even bar examiners used it to conduct remote testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TurnSignl app seeks to provide real-time legal assistance and de-escalation of tension during traffic stops

Like many Americans, Jazz Hampton and two of his friends, Andre Creighton and Mychal Frelix, watched in horror as two fellow Minnesotans, Philando Castile and George Floyd, were killed by police officers following what seemed to be routine traffic stops. If only there had been a way to de-escalate those situations while protecting the rights of the person detained, as well as the law enforcement officer involved. So they came up with one.

With alternative dispute rising in popularity, this platform aims to help mediators and arbitrators

As a young personal injury litigator in Georgia, Gino Brogdon Jr. says he was accustomed to using different technology tools to manage his practice. But when Brogdon began working as a mediator, he realized that there were limited tech options to assist him in the alternative dispute resolution realm.

How a social justice innovation lab is developing new types of legal services

The Innovation for Justice lab launched at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law in 2018 with the goal of designing, building and testing new solutions to addressing the justice gap impacting millions of Americans.

How this contracts platform uses AI to help users manage and analyze key documents

Evisort co-founder Jake Sussman says when the company began developing its contract management and analysis platform, its goal was to use artificial intelligence as a last resort.

How an e-discovery platform has evolved to meet the new challenges facing clients

AJ Shankar, the founder and CEO of e-discovery platform Everlaw, likes to say his company’s technology is designed to help clients find needles in a haystack.

How a law prof is training paraprofessionals to represent immigrants in legal proceedings

Michele Pistone, a professor at the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, says there are not enough immigration lawyers and attorneys who take on pro bono cases to meet the demand of immigrants seeking legal assistance.

Why this BigLaw firm is embracing an ‘augmented automation solution’ for clients

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati announced last month that it had teamed up with Workiva Inc. to create an application that automates the S-1 form that companies must file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission when going public.

Why an online legal marketplace has added tech companies and other alternative providers

Priori is an online platform known for using data and technology to connect in-house legal teams with lawyers and law firms who can assist with a wide variety of projects. But Basha Rubin, CEO and co-founder at Priori, says the company noticed that clients were sometimes turning to its online marketplace for help with problems that “might be best solved by a ‘new law’ company or a nontraditional legal provider.”

This online platform aims to help pro se litigants with complex civil cases

Sonja Ebron and her wife, Debra Slone, saw firsthand how difficult it can be to represent yourself in civil cases through experiences they had being sued and suing others.

How one bankruptcy software company had a banner year despite filings hitting a low

When COVID-19 began hitting the United States hard in spring 2020, Janine Sickmeyer was among those in the bankruptcy world who thought that there would be a tsunami of cases.

A new evidence management tool aims to help public defenders process video and audio

Near the end of her time studying at the University of Chicago, Devshi Mehrotra read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, written by author Michelle Alexander.

New AI-powered legal writing tool aims to help lawyers craft winning briefs

Shortly after Jacqueline Schafer entered the courtroom for the final hearing in an asylum case that she was litigating several years ago, she sensed that the judge was not sympathetic to the claims of her Honduran clients.

How one firm is trying to convince technology clients to embrace subscription pricing

When Joyce Tong Oelrich and her former Microsoft Corp. colleague Zohra Tejani discussed starting their own law firm two years ago, the experienced in-house lawyers agreed that they should take a subscription-pricing approach with clients.

Experienced cloud-based law firm thrives during COVID-19, co-founder says

When the spread of the novel coronavirus last spring prompted traditional law firms across the country to shutter their physical offices amid much economic uncertainty, the management team at cloud-based law firm FisherBroyles had very different concerns on its radar. The team wanted to make sure that the firm was ready to quickly ramp up hiring.

Virtual onboarding has provided some unexpected benefits, firm shareholder says

Virtual trivia nights and happy hours are among the activities that Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks has hosted in recent months to help welcome new hires into the fold amid a remote working environment.

Law firms should not rush lateral hiring, due diligence expert says

With the shift to virtual recruitment amid the COVID-19 crisis, the speed at which law firms vet and hire lateral partners has increased, according to Michael Ellenhorn, the founder and CEO of Decipher. But Ellenhorn, whose company helps legal industry clients evaluate potential hires, says law firms would be wise not to quicken the hiring process too much.

Deloitte is monitoring regulatory reforms but is focused on growing new practice

As states such as Utah and Arizona have approved opening up their legal marketplaces to alternative business structures in recent months, there has been speculation that the Big Four accounting firms would be among those seeking to take advantage.

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