Working as an amateur octogenarian futurist, Peter D. Lederer explores possible futures for the study and practice of law. The precursor for this was a career in the law spanning some seven decades. He studied law at the University of Chicago Law School and, for one year, at the University of Bern. He practiced for more than 40 years with Baker McKenzie, in this global law firm’s Chicago, New York and Zurich offices.

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There are times in our lives when we question ourselves. When we feel an innate desire to take a look at who we are and what we are seeking to accomplish for ourselves. Lately I have been doing this. I have not done it because I was starting to doubt the need to do what I do or whether I am doing the right thing. I have been questioning myself because I felt a need to see how I can improve continuing to advocate for, write for, and create change within the legal profession.

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A key area where legal tech can make a tremendous difference is in the area of access to justice or, more specifically, making the legal system more accessible and affordable to those with little means. This interview is with one of those people who has dedicated his life to this very cause and I’m honored to have been able to interview him. Quinten Steenhuis has been with Greater Boston Legal Services for over 11 years and serves as their Senior Housing Attorney and Network Administrator. In his own words, “My work since 2009 includes both direct legal representation of low-income tenants, primary responsibility for systems administration and architecture of GBLS’s computer infrastructure, and development of open source user-facing technology projects. I focus my IT work on scripting, automation, and monitoring to build a reliable system that encourages collaboration and facilitates the service of our client population.”

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I started interviewing legal innovation leaders with many goals in mind. Foremost among them, however, was the goal of educating myself on just what legal innovation and legal technology were all about. Each new interview I post allows me to continue to achieve my goal every day. Legal innovation and improving the practice of law has become my passion. There remains much work to be done and much learning to be had in this area, but progress is being made each day.

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Susan Hackett is truly one of a kind and a powerful voice within the legal profession especially with regards to change and transformation within the legal industry. She currently is CEO of Legal Executive Leadership, LLC, which is a recognized leader in building smarter legal practices, with more than 3 decades of experience helping law departments (and those who serve them) deliver distinguishing value and improve the way they work. She helps her clients change behaviors, improve operational processes, drive demonstrable client results, and move confidently from traditional practice toward legal executive leadership.

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Patrick Palace is the owner of Palace Law, which is comprised of two firms, one focusing on workers’ compensation and  the other on personal injury law. He is and has been a partner in a number of joint ventures with tech companies developing new tools for lawyers. He serves on the Board of the ABA Center for Innovation and on the Executive Counsel for the National Conference of Bar Presidents, among others.  He was also the President of the Washington State Bar Association.

Tell me a little about your background and how that informed your views of legal innovation and/or legal technology.

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Pratik Patel is a leader and an innovator. In his own words, he is a “forward-thinking entrepreneur, consultant and business advisor with deep experience in legal department and law firm spend, strategy, technology and operations.” Pratik is the Head of Innovation at Elevate and I asked him about a range of topics related to his work and his experience within the legal innovation space.

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Let me tell you a story. An ambitious and optimistic young man is thrilled to learn that he has been accepted to his top choice of law schools. The young man through the course of the first few weeks of law school learns that he has a lot to learn, yet he remains engaged and excited for the challenges that are ahead.

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Dr. Roland Vogl is a pioneer within the legal informatics space. Dr. Vogl is currently Executive Director of CodeX – the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics and a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School. Dr. Vogl also was named to the American Bar Association 2017 Class of Legal Rebels, a highly-regarded group of legal innovators and he was previously selected as one of the 2016 Fastcase 50. Dr. Vogl also serves on the advisory boards of LexCheck, IPNexus and LegalForce.

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