For nearly 12 years, Steenhuis worked as a senior housing attorney, systems administrator and developer at Greater Boston Legal Services, where he also built Massachusetts Defense for Eviction, which helps pro se tenants defend themselves.
JusticeText reviews video and audio files and generates searchable transcripts of them. The technology uses a speech-to-text machine learning algorithm to process data such as body camera videos and recordings of jailhouse conversations for users.
When Stacy Butler, the director of the Innovation for Justice Program, is asked if she will ever practice law again, she doesn’t hesitate to answer. “No,” Butler says. “It was adversarial and antagonistic. It did not feed my soul.”
Josh Blandi founded UniCourt, which gives law firms and businesses real-time access to court records and legal data for case research and tracking, business development, competitive intelligence and various other purposes.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t understand the system. I kind of ambled my way through. It’s a major reason for my motivation to improve the legal system, including legal education, and help others navigate it,” says Zachariah DeMeola of LSAC.
Intent on demystifying the process for people representing themselves, Sonja Ebron, who also has a background in artificial intelligence; and Debra Slone, who has a PhD in library and information science, launched Courtroom5 in 2017.
Natalie Anne Knowlton’s work for the IAALS has provided data and reference for states that have overhauled or are considering modifying their UPL regulations to allow for alternative business structures or limited nonlawyer practice.
Uzoma Orchingwa and Gabriel Saruhashi used their savings to launch the technology nonprofit Ameelio in March 2020. The duo offers families a free mobile app that allows them to send letters into prisons.
Patrick Palace’s current volunteer work includes serving as vice chair of the ABA Center for Innovation and secretary of the National Conference of Bar Presidents—two groups with members who sometimes don’t agree on regulation changes in the law.
Janis Puracal helps people who are trying to prove their innocence after a conviction. But she also works with clients pretrial to reveal any flawed or misleading forensic evidence to prevent a conviction in the first place.