Business of Law

Fastcase announces 50 legal innovators to watch

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With a record number of nominations, online legal research company Fastcase chose its latest class of 50 legal innovators and visionaries to honor in 2013. They include legal technologists and law professors, from start-ups to the establishment, who are inventing, adopting and advocating for new models of delivering legal services.

Honoree Raj Abhyanker, co-founder of Trademarkia, which served as the world’s largest trademark firm, recently opened a retail storefront reminiscent of Apple computer stores for legal services in Palo Alto, Calif. The gist is to change the way consumers shop for lawyers and to promote accessible and affordable legal services.

That mission is shared by Charley Moore, the founder and executive chairman of Rocket Lawyer, and Richard Granat, founder and CEO of the Granat Group. Granat’s prolific works include one of the nation’s first virtual law offices, a self-help website for Maryland family law and a legal forms company.

Granat’s efforts to deregulate the legal profession as a means to bridge the access to justice gap for middle-class and lower-income consumers are supported by fellow honoree, Renee Newman Knake, an associate professor of law at Michigan State University. Knake and her colleague Daniel Martin Katz, who co-founded & co-directs ReInvent Law with her, are among a half-dozen legal academics selected.

Tom Barnett, executive director of the State Bar of South Dakota, was honored for his work with the state legislature to create an incentive program to bring lawyers to underserved, rural communities. Barnett is joined by bar leaders in Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, and also Paulette Brown, a partner at Edwards Wildman, whose uncontested nomination for president of the ABA in 2015 would make her the first African-American women to lead the American Bar Association.

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