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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Innovation is a word that is everywhere. Innovate this, innovate that, innovation will make you rich, innovation is the present and the future, etc. In the legal world, this incessant use of the word has become a way for some legal startups and law firms alike to market themselves and try to make the case for being forward-thinking. Books about innovation also tend to reflect this trend. There are, however, a few that do not fall into this category. One of them is the book Legally Innovative: How to Maximize Your W. O. W.
Much of what I am about to say is likely well-known by readers of this blog. However, having read it before does not make the information any less salient. The legal profession has long been one that has adhered to seemingly rigid rules, processes, and practices.As this blog and many others have noted, this is becoming no longer the case. New technologies, new processes, and new players have entered the field. These new players include ones offering legal analytic services to those offering bespoke solution development services. Moreover, the number of types of legal jobs has increased as well, if you know where to look. Legal departments have often been at the forefront of these changes due in part to their closeness to the business and because of their historic reputation as a cost center.