American Bar Association

ABA announces plan to create Center for Innovation

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The ABA has wasted no time acting on one of the recommendations from the Commission on the Future of Legal Services’ final report.

On Monday, the ABA announced the creation of a Center for Innovation, which will be located at the ABA’s headquarters in Chicago. The purpose of the Center will be to foster innovative and ground-breaking approaches to bridging the access to justice gap as well as to improve the delivery of legal services. The Center will also serve as a resource center for ABA members, keep track of the ABA’s innovative efforts and provide fellowships for attorneys to collaborate with professionals in the technological, entrepreneurial and design industries.

“Closing the access-to-justice gap and making the legal system accessible to all people is of critical importance.The Center for Innovation will help bring together the best and most forward-thinking ideas for making our system more efficient and available,” ABA President Linda Klein said in a press release. Janet Jackson, the former director of the ABA’s Office of the President, will serve as managing director of the center.

In a Q&A with the National Law Journal, Suffolk University Law School Dean Andrew Perlman, who serves as chair of the center’s governing board, said that the center already has one major project lined up. “We are going to assist with a court-annexed online dispute resolution pilot project that is taking place in New York,” Perlman told the NLJ. “The judicial division of the ABA is going to be the primary leader of that effort, but the center will support it.”

Perlman also said that the center plans to help foster innovation within the legal education field, as well as from the law firm world. “There has been a lot of work over the years in the ABA to help innovate how legal services are delivered,” Perlman said. “The center will help to support those existing efforts, supplement them, and bring them to a new level of visibility.”

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