Raad Ahmed, founder and CEO, LawTrades: Ahmed is looking to shift the infrastructure powering attorneys. His startup LawTrades matches attorneys to relevant casework and provides a platform to help individual attorneys build practice-specific branding based on their work. “Individualism is sort of the future. I believe individual attorneys will build individual brands bigger than the biggest law firms on the planet,” Ahmed told LTN.
Andrew Arruda, CEO, ROSS Intelligence: Arruda was one of the earliest forces behind the legal industry’s current obsession with artificial intelligence (AI). Arruda’s startup ROSS Intelligence entered the legal sphere with what people for a long time were convinced was the first “artificially intelligent attorney,” and has since developed a few different applications for his legal research platform. Most recently, Arruda announced that the company would launch EVA, which uses AI to personalize research recommendations.
Megan Beauchemin, director of business intelligence and analytics, InOutsource: Beauchemin is a data maven at a time when law firms are clamoring to figure out how to leverage business analytics. At InOutsource, Beauchemin creates data landscape assessments and works with clients to design firm-wide data and technology strategies.
Nicole Bradick, CEO, Theory & Principle: Bradick has been a longtime champion of technology in closing the access to justice gap. As a co-founder of CuroLegal, she partnered with organizations on a series of checklist tools to help historically marginalized groups assess potential legal concerns. She is now operating a design and consulting firm, Theory & Principle, for organizations who hope to develop similar projects.
Jake Heller, CEO of Casetext: Heller grew up in Silicon Valley, which is part of the reason he took his law degree and experience as a Ropes & Gray attorney and headed back into the tech industry. In 2016, his company Casetext announced an AI-driven research assistant, CARA, to provide suggestions based on tuned machine learning. Heller is also fluent in programming, a skill set he believes is increasingly important within legal work. “I actually think that knowing how to code and being an attorney go hand in hand,” Heller told LTN.
Adam Kuhn, e-discovery attorney and senior product marketing manager, OpenText: Kuhn went straight from law school into a career in e-discovery, first as an attorney for Symantec, and later as e-discovery counsel for Recommind. Kuhn also serves as a fellow for the McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law.
Tony Lai, co-founder, Legal.io: Lai is a man about town in the Bay Area. Not only does he co-lead legal marketplace tool Legal.io, but he serves as co-chair of Stanford’s CodeX Blockchain group and as an advisor to StartX around legal and social innovation. Lai told LTN that he is “working to support something that the community as a whole is working toward, a larger purpose” in his legal tech work.
Irene Mo, ABA Center for Innovation NextGen fellow: In her last year of law school, Mo held a panel on legal technology for access to justice. Mo has since moved on to other justice-related technology projects. As an ABA Center for Innovation fellow, she is working on developing tools and trainings to help low income communities of color understand and reduce their privacy and data security risks.
Hannah Samendinger, general counsel and product manager, Alt Legal: Samendinger realized fairly quickly into law school that she wasn’t interested in the Big Law rat race. Instead, she landed a job as general counsel and product manager for intellectual property management platform Alt Legal. “Working in legal technology lets me see direct results of my work and its impact on the growth of our company. It also expands my work knowledge beyond the law, such as learning computer programming and product development,” she told LTN.
Michael Sander, director, Fastcase Analytics: Sander managed to parlay his former startup business, docket and analytics software company Docket Alarm, into both a successful acquisition and a job. Legal research company Fastcase brought Sander and his software aboard to help the company bring better data and analytics to its users. Sander ended up with a purely innovation-focused job as the head of Fastcase Analytics. “The idea is to free us up so we can really start focusing on the product,” Sander told LTN.
Sarah Schaaf, CEO, Headnote: Schaaf found herself disenchanted by traditional law careers and decided to develop technology that would make solo and small firm billing less of a headache for young attorneys. Her e-billing startup, Headnote, is a lightweight approach to e-billing, managing e-check and trust account payment handling without all the bloat of a Big Law firm billing platform.
Nicole Shanahan, founder, ClearAccessIP: Shanahan began development for ClearAccessIP, an integrated patent management and collaboration software, back in law school, but has spent her career looking more broadly at the application of data and technology to law. She also serves as a Stanford CodeX fellow, where she is working on projects applying data science to prosecutorial work in local municipalities and formulating economic theory around the pace and nature of society’s adoption of legal artificial intelligence.
Eva Shang & Christian Haigh, co-founders, Legalist: Shang and Haigh, perhaps the youngest two on this list, dropped out of Harvard last year to make a full-time go of Legalist, a litigation financing platform using AI to assess the merits of potential litigation. “I think what really is Legalist’s core value proposition is that we are so friendly to the 70 percent of lawyers in America who work at small law firms. We’re trying to really be on the same level as those people and be responsive to their needs, rather than the needs of the traditional white-shoe law industry,” Shang told The Recorder.
Julia Shapiro, founder, Hire an Esquire: Shapiro founded legal staffing startup Hire an Esquire with the idea that millennials entering the legal workforce had different expectations for their careers than the Big Law partner track, and deserved strong technology to support their work. “My main point of entry was just being of a certain generation where we expected technology to make our lives easier. Seeing the staffing process, coming into it, it just seemed ridiculous,” she said. “Dealing with these sub-optimal processes was shocking,” she told LTN.
Jerry Ting, CEO and co-founder of Evisort: Ting, along with a few Harvard Law classmates and collaborators at MIT, began developing Evisort to analyze language in contracts and categorize the content. Although founding Evisort as a startup wasn’t necessarily part of Ting’s original plan for law school, but decided to dive into the legal tech market after hearing from attorneys about the frustrations of inefficiency in contract work. “Lawyers across every company are struggling to find a way to manage their contracts, and we’re excited to be tackling the problem during such an exciting time,” Ting told LTN.
Bryan Wilson, head of the DFNDER Project: Wilson is using technology to tackle wrongful convictions. The DFNDER Project, part of his work as a fellow with the ABA Center for Innovation, is a data-driven review framework that works to identify potential cognitive biases in e-discovery review and forensics that can lead to unfair conviction. “It’s about making everything more transparent and helping the justice system function at a higher level,” he told LTN of the project.
Amy Wan, co-founder and CEO of Sagewise: Amy Wan self-defines as a "legal hacker." She serves as founder and co-organizer of the Legal Hackers LA chapter, and started her own legal technology startup Sagewise, a dispute resolution infrastructure for smart contracts.
With the rise of innovation comes a whole new legion of Millennial legal technologists looking to shape, shake up, and ultimately disrupt old habits in the practice of law. These eighteen young leaders are hoping to make their respective marks on the legal industry in the new few years.