Advances in technology coupled with business model innovations are disrupting the legal profession to improve the legal marketplace and the provision of legal services in the U.S. While the key drivers of this movement include a wide range of tech savvy lawyers, academics, innovative law firms, legal tech companies, courts, bar associations, revamped legal education programs and clinics, and a host of non-profit legal service providers. There has been a recent trend of newly established legal networks, which serves as an catalyst for greater legal innovation.
The collective efforts of these legal networks produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects to disrupt the legal industry and improve access to justice for all. However, our job is not done. My goal and call to action for this post is to educate readers on the various resources and networks out there. In addition, to encourage greater cross network collaborations and knowledge sharing amongst the broad range of legal networks. In order to reduce the silos and redundancies within the legal profession and the various innovation efforts.
Highlighted below is a list I compiled, comprised of various innovative legal networks across sector, who are using an open and collective approach to achieve common goals. This list includes both, well established networks, and a host of new initiatives.
Evolve Law was founded by co-conspirators Mary Juetten of Traklight and Jules Miller formerly of Hire an Esquire. Evolve Law encourages greater collaboration among entrepreneurs to move the industry forward together by bringing together legal tech companies, attorneys, in-house counsel, entrepreneurs, and law schools for events centered around product demos, education, and discussion around the future of law.
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s Legal Impact Network is a dynamic collaborative of advocacy organizations from across the country working with communities to end poverty and achieve racial justice at the federal, state, and local levels. The Legal Impact Network brings together strong legal and policy advocates from throughout the country who are using innovative, coordinated strategies to address poverty and advance racial justice.
SRLN is a network of innovative lawyers, judges, court staff, legal technologists, librarians and other allied professionals who believe everyone deserves access to justice. SRLN advances innovative, evidence-based access-oriented solutions such as comprehensive court and legal aid self-help services, simplified court rules and procedure, and integrated systems that efficiently and effectively connect people who need lawyers to lawyers.
Launched in 2016 at the recommendation of the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, the ABA Center for Innovation is creating more accessible, efficient, and effective legal services in the United States and around the globe. The Center for Innovation collaborates to identify, encourage, and accelerate innovations that improve access to quality legal services.
LSNTAP helps nonprofit legal aid programs improve client services through effective and innovative use of technology. To do this, LSNTAP provides technology training, maintain information, create online tools, and host community forums such as the LStech email list.
ILTA is a peer networking organization, providing information to members to maximize the value of technology in support of the legal profession. ILTA is a clearinghouse for the latest information about innovative legal products and support services that impact the legal profession worldwide.
PBN is a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, PBN transforms the way legal help reaches those in need. PBN empowers the public with information and self-help tools to improve their lives, equips advocates with the resources to make a stronger impact, and mobilize volunteers to expand help available.
ATJ Tech Fellows is an national summer fellowship program which trains future lawyers with the skills and competencies to be competitive in the legal market and readily equipped to bridge our nation’s access to justice gap. Fellows participate in a 10-week summer placement at various legal services organizations across the nation. Where they spend the summer working on cutting edge projects that leverage technology and innovation to efficiently improve the delivery of legal services.
Legal Hackers is a global movement of lawyers, policymakers, technologists, and academics who explore and develop creative solutions to some of the most pressing issues at the intersection of law and technology. Through local meetups, hackathons, and workshops, Legal Hackers spot issues and opportunities where technology can improve and inform the practice of law and where law, legal practice, and policy can adapt to rapidly changing technology.
TAP is an online forum facilitated by Microsoft for academics leading the dialogue on the impact of technological innovation in the following areas: competition policy and antitrust, innovation and economic growth, intellectual property, interoperability and standards, networks, the internet, and cloud computing, and privacy and security. The goal of TAP is to promote academic research and generate substantive policy debate around these issues.
LWOW is a learning and development program housed within University of Miami School of Law that brings together lawyers, businesspeople, and students in an experiential learning environment that transforms how participants problem solve and cultivate relationships. LWOW is about culture change and building 21st century lawyering skills and networking across generations and career paths.
Created by Curo Legal founder Nicole Bradick, the A2J Tech & Design Slack Group serves as a discussion clearinghouse for new A2J tech projects and ideas, the latest legal innovation articles and news, collaboration amongst industry leaders, and data/research sharing. To join this network, please connect with Nicole on Twitter @NicoleBradick
At CodeX, researchers, lawyers, entrepreneurs and technologists work side-by-side to advance the frontier of legal technology, bringing new levels of legal efficiency, transparency, and access to legal systems around the world. CodeX‘s emphasis is on the research and development of computational law — the branch of legal informatics concerned with the automation and mechanization of legal analysis.
The Legal Design Lab is an interdisciplinary team based at Stanford Law School & d.school, working at the intersection of human-centered design, technology & law to build a new generation of legal products & services. The Legal Design Lab runs workshops, and conduct evidence based research and experiments in legal innovation to contribute to a wider knowledge base and community.
The Access to Justice Lab is dedicated to transforming adjudicatory administration and engagement with the courts into evidence-based fields. The Lab is housed within the Center on the Legal Profession (CLP) at Harvard Law School, which seeks to make a substantial contribution to the modern practice of law by increasing understanding of the structures, norms and dynamics of the global legal profession.
LTRC provides legal technology resources to ABA members through various outlets including a technology blog, publications, monthly webinars and its extensive website. The LTRC staff also collaborates with the ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems (SCOTIS), whose members provide guidance and oversight to the ABA on both external and internal technology issues.
Tech For Justice is an national initiative aimed to accelerate the development of technology applications and processes that improve access to justice in human rights, legal aid, and the environment. Tech For Justice aims to support those who need critical help more efficiently, and change processes that no longer serve the people.
NCAJ is the academically affiliated national organization exclusively dedicated to policy reform that helps people obtain justice in the courts. NCAJ relies on data to make the United States justice system more accessible and fair. In their flagship project, the Justice Index, www.justiceindex.org, NCAJ uses the latest data analytics and data visualization strategies to create incentives for establishing best policies for access to justice in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In other projects, NCAJ is doing research on new models of legal assistance, including those involving “non-lawyers”, and is also working to strengthen language assistance and disability assistance in our state justice systems.
LegalRnD is another law school affiliated network dedicated to training law students to improve legal-service delivery and access across the legal industry. They achieve this goal through the use of scientific research and development, organizational excellence, and technology. LegalRnD brings together professionals from a broad range of disciplines including: legal aid organizations, solo practitioners, corporate legal departments, law firms, courts, and entire justice systems.
While not a per se legal network, LSC TIG grants seek to improve legal services delivery to the low-income population and to increase access by low-income persons to high quality legal services, to the judicial system, and to legal information. This informal network convenes an annual conference comprised of the nation’s leading technologists, legal aid advocates, court personnel, academics and other professionals to exchange ideas and explore innovative ways of using technology to promote full access and high-quality legal representation for low-income people.
CALI is a non-profit consortium of law schools, law libraries and related organizations. CALI hosts and facilitates the creation of CALI Lessons, a library of over 1,000 interactive legal tutorials written by law professors and geared towards law students. Additionally, CALI has partnered with Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Center for Access to Justice & Technology to create A2J Author, a tool designed to create guided interviews that help Self-Represented Litigants to navigate the legal landscape. CALI also convenes an annual conference of legal industry experts to explore legal education challenges, and examine how new standards and technologies are changing the rhythm of legal education.
Paladin creates an easy way for lawyers to find cases they’re passionate about and to capture impact data for the benefit of all. Paladin also helps law firms, companies and law schools manage their pro bono with streamlined sourcing, tracking and outcome reporting on a modern, tech-forward platform.
Didn’t make the list? Please feel free to comment or drop us a note if you know of other groups and legal networks we missed.