Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who are those ABA Legal Rebels?

It seems that the legal profession is determined to turn today’s economic chaos into opportunity by changing the way attorneys do business. The American Bar Association has paid attention!

To celebrate these emerging practices, the ABA Journal has launched the Legal Rebels project to profile innovators in the legal profession who are finding new ways to practice law, represent their clients, adjudicate cases and train the next generation of lawyers. These innovators will be profiled in the ABA Journal and on the ABA web site, describing the changes they are making and the impact they are having on the practice of law.

For the most part, these ‘mavericks’ are leveraging the Internet to work faster and better but, most of all, to work different. The Legal Rebels featured in September included:

Denise Annunciata: Paralegal Power developed her own very successful Virtual Paralegal Services and represents a break from the usual ABA policy of only featuring attorneys.

Patrick J. Lamb: A Betting Man founded the law firm Valorum with other biglaw refugees.

Roderick A. Palmore: Demanding Diversity spearheaded the Associate of Corporate Counsel program Call to Action where other General Counsels evaluate outside law firms’ diversity efforts.

David Van Zandt: Purple Praise is te Dean of Nortwestern's law school who always wears purple, the school color. Showing his school pride is only a small piece of Van Zandt's business and marketing plan...he's also seeks advice from lawyers and clients about legal education, and changing the application process to include applicant interviews and establish a preference for candidates who have professional work experience.

Richard Granat: Internet Obsessive has several online ventures that focus on using the Internet to deliver legal services to underserved firms and clients.

Jeffrey J. Hughes: The Legal Grinder established an office that is also a coffeehouse. He owns Legal Grind, a Santa Monica, Calif., coffee­house/storefront law office where drinks are free and the legal advice is reasonable. For $45 you get 20 minutes with a lawyer; specific tasks—like a restraining order—can be had for $150. His wife is a paralegal who does contract work for him

Laurel Edgeworth: The Matchmaker created the Law Clerk Connection, a virtual forum that allows law students to bid on contract clerking assignments.

The stories about the inroads these innovators are making are fascinating. Be sure to watch for Legal Rebels who will be featured in the October issue of the ABA Journal and, also, follow the Legal Rebels Tour ’09.

The ABA is to be congratulated for recognizing these Legal Rebels who are embracing technology and transition to new media to reinvent themselves in the new economy.

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