ABA Journal

Legal Rebels Profiles

Jonathan Petts and Rohan Pavuluri joined forces and took on Chapter 7 bankruptcy


Legal Rebels Rohan Pavuluri and Jonathan Petts never had reason to think much about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Both came from well-off families and graduated from Ivy League universities. They strongly think that the law shouldn’t discriminate based on income.

Gina Clayton-Johnson helps women who know what it’s like to have a family member locked up


“I realized that there’s a big problem with mass incarceration that we’re not seeing as much research on—that one in four women have a family member in prison,” says Legal Rebel Gina Clayton-Johnson, founder of the Essie Justice Group.

Keith Lee couldn't find a place online where lawyers could communicate freely—so he created it

The founders of SimpleCitizen resolve to streamline the immigration process

Dorna Moini’s software helps legal aid groups and law firms automate users’ form-filling

A seminal 1990s event sparked Colin Starger’s devotion to aiding criminal defendants, inmates


Legal Rebel Colin Starger, a 2002 Columbia Law School graduate, introduced the SCOTUS Mapping Project, an online tool that allows users to chart competing lines of Supreme Court majority and dissenting opinions.

With Kimball Dean Parker’s tools, people are better able to access the justice system

Cynthia Conti-Cook crunches the numbers to hold NYPD accountable for misconduct


As a staff attorney at the special litigation unit at the New York Legal Aid Society, a reminder of Cynthia Conti-Cook’s father’s indictment is the cornerstone of a career that seeks justice by speaking truth to power through litigation and data.

Lawyers, organizations design task-automation software with Jonathan Pyle’s Docassemble


In 2015, Jonathan Pyle built Docassemble, a free, open-source platform for expert systems and document assembly. People use it to assemble filings for a variety of legal issues, including divorce, eviction and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Mississippi ranks last when it comes to access to justice; Tiffany Graves hopes to change that

Nothing is off-limits for this California bar task force


The group, which laid the groundwork for what could become the largest modern reform to the state’s professional rules potentially set a road map for others around the country.

Thanks to Legal Hackers, hackathons are an important tool for making law more accessible

An LSC grant program is trying to increase access to justice through tech


The Technology Initiative Grant Program awards regional LSC offices money for creating technology plans that help low-income people with their legal needs.

Measures for Justice brings about reform by traveling the country to record criminal justice data


Staffers of travel the country unearthing, cleaning and publishing county-level criminal justice data in what they hope will be each of America’s 3,141 boroughs, counties, independent cities, parishes and the District of Columbia.

Utah became first state to change ethics regulations to allow for alternative business structures


The leadership of Justice Constandinos “Deno” Himonas and John Lund paved the way for the Utah Supreme Court’s unanimous vote in August to adopt a package of sweeping regulatory changes.

Thanks to chief justice, the Michigan Supreme Court pivoted to remote proceedings during COVID-19


Court is less intimidating on screen, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack says. “When you are in the comfort of your own home, where you feel safe and secure, it’s easier to feel confident in letting the court know what’s on your mind.”

Housing lawyer Sateesh Nori knew COVID-19 would force courts to go digital—so he stepped in to help


As COVID-19 spread through New York City and shuttered its courthouses in March 2020, Sateesh Nori realized JustFix.nyc could do even more to empower tenants to exercise their rights during the pandemic.

Jayne Reardon is changing the practice of law by promoting civility and looking toward the future


Reardon is a great listener who gets people’s support by understanding their agendas and emotions. “She plays the long game, not the short game. She never comes in and jams something down people’s throats,” law professor William Henderson says.

Judge Scott Schlegel deployed tools to help keep his docket moving at the height of the pandemic


Soon after his 2013 election to the bench in Louisiana’s 24th Judicial District, Judge Scott Schlegel started looking for ways to repurpose technology common in the private sector for deployment in the court system.

Judge John Tran spearheaded adoption of tech to facilitate remote hearings and helped train lawyers


After the Virginia Supreme Court issued an order June 22 stating that remote proceedings should be used to conduct as much business as possible, Tran offered webinars to help lawyers with the Fairfax Bar Association get up to speed with Webex.

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