Upsolve uses First Amendment to deal a modest but important blow to UPL. Is it the basis for a playbook?  Time will tell.


Earlier this week, a federal district court in New York granted an injunction in favor of Upsolve, Inc., a nonprofit legal technology company founded by Rohan Pavuluri, a public interest entrepreneur who cut his teeth in Harvard Law’s A2J Lab, and Rev. John Udo-Okon,  a pastor from the South Bronx.  Both Pavuluri and Udo-Okon both were interested in providing free legal advice to individuals facing debt collection actions.  See Upsolve Inc. v. James, No. 22-cv-627 (SDNY, May 24, 2022).

The predicaments faced by many New Yorkers are fairly typical of those faced but so many individuals, whether indigent or low-income by typical measures, throughout the United States — they simply cannot afford lawyers to assist them with their pressing legal problems.  They are the faces of the profound access to justice crisis in the United States, putting them at omnipresent risk of losing their livelihoods, their homes, or even worse fates. Through a carefully designed initiative called the American Justice Movement, Upsolve and Rev. Udo-Okon would train a group of “justice advocates” to give targeted, limited legal advice to individuals facing debt collections.

Continue Reading New and noteworthy: Upsolve Inc v. James (303)


When data drives growth, that’s a Hollywood ending. So where are the Moneyball sequels?


The graphic above tracks demographic representation across 12 law firms working for BASF Corporation, 2016 to 2021. On average, shares of BASF work grew +11% for diverse ethnicity partners and +46% for associates. For women, shares grew +24% for partners and +28% for associates. Additionally (not pictured), ethnicity and gender representation in firmwide leadership grew +10%.

What explains this blockbuster growth? To me, it’s the courageous leaders using data to achieve a shared mission.
Continue Reading Leading courageously with data (302)


Combing through the past to prepare lawyers for the future.


I’m offering a new course this fall at Suffolk University Law School in Boston called Shakespeare and Knowledge Technology.

Odd combination, right?  I know. But hopefully not as odd as you may think.

Especially in their final year of study, many law students are bored with academics and anxious to get out into paying practice. Courses that delve into seemingly unrelated subjects, like early modern literature, offer respite. Courses that provide hands-on exposure to cutting-edge legal technology kindle much positive energy. Why not both?!

Bear with me for a moment while I talk about Shakespeare. Then I will explain how he provides a great context for learning about knowledge tech.
Continue Reading Looking at legal knowledge technology through an unusual lens (301)


Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome lawyer and legal technologist Marc Lauritsen as a regular contributor.

For most people working in the legal industry, including many regular LE readers, I suspect that legal technology feels new and potentially disruptive.  But alas, as I have learned the hard way, that feeling is not very reliable.   I met Marc Lauritsen several years ago at a conference at Chicago-Kent organized by Ron Staudt (a law professor who helped launched LexisNexis’s lucrative legal research business), where I began to take in some of the war stories of the early days of law and technology.  Thirty years before the venture capitalists became interested in legal technology as a sector, a small cadre of brilliant and inventive lawyers were learning enough about technology to begin to solve some significant problems in law office practice management and experiment with ways to use technology to improve access to justice.  Others in this group include Richard Granat and Glenn Rawdon.
Continue Reading Introducing regular contributor Marc Lauritsen (300)


Maybe the ROI for legal tech comes from happier workers who stay.


Emily Chang: What do startups have to do in order to have a successful exit, whether it is an IPO or just building a great business?

Paul Graham: They have to make something that actually makes people’s lives better. It’s funny how straightforward it is.

Y Combinator’s Graham Says Startups Must Improve Lives,”  YouTube, June 17, 2011.

Here is my prediction: companies are about to spend more on legal technology, but not because they are trying to save money or be more efficient. Law firms and, to a lesser extent legal departments, are beginning to see investment in technology as a solution to unprecedented burnout and talent attrition. The further entrenchment of remote work will only amplify this trend. Smart marketers have figured out that this messaging is resonating. The deluge of messaging connecting tech and talent will shift how companies justify their return on investment. Technology does, in fact, have the potential to improve the day-to-day experience of the people on legal teams, but there is some important nuance. Let’s dive in.
Continue Reading People-driven tech: How new priorities and remote work are increasing #legaltech adoption (299)


A. Innovation methodologies are used to create novel experiments meant to improve DEI in legal, but more significantly, systems innovation creates an opportunity to advance DEI as a critical feature of the next epoch and not an afterthought.


I begin this post with a disclaimer: I’m a woman in law. I’m not racially diverse, or otherwise so. While I have an education and appreciation of the myriad DEI issues in the profession and broader society, I do not have a personal understanding beyond my own gendered experience. I speak only for myself from my place of understanding, with the best intentions towards empowering all people to flourish through equitable systems.

Q: “Wait, is this a Diversity initiative or an Innovation initiative?”

A: “It’s both.”
Continue Reading Q: How does innovation intersect with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in law? (298)


Clients too often ignore law firm incentives and market power.  They also substitute management for leadership.


Editor’s note:  This post returns to a subject first addressed here in Posts 029, 030, 031: successful law firm convergence and the management of law firm panels.  In this article, Dan looks back over AdvanceLaw’s work in the intervening five years and identifies four of the most common and consequential flaws in corporate law firm panels.  What follows draws on input from the staff of AdvanceLaw, where Dan is a Managing Director.

Why law firm panels matter

Law firm panels are a primary client strategy for controlling legal spend, but they also help stimulate innovation.   Innovation matters because panels wouldn’t be worth the effort if they didn’t produce better performance, which requires changes in how things get done.  Yet as Legal Evolution has documented in its posts on diffusion theory (tip: start with Post 001 and read chronologically),  many forces resist innovation in legal services, and those forces can only be overcome by sustained change management efforts from both law firms and clients.  Neither firms nor clients will commit to this effort if their relationship is temporary or poorly defined, so structured approaches like law firm panels are necessary to create the conditions under which innovation is at least possible.
Continue Reading The four fatal flaws of law firm panels (297)

Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

Success as a lawyer can come at the expense of personal relationships. Is it worth the price?


Few of my former partners in the global firm where I worked would understand my transition from a profits-first managing partner to a speaker and commentator on lawyer well-being.  How could this have happened?  Have I gone soft?  Quite the contrary—I remain on my mission to live a good life.

Before offering my views on law practice and lawyer careers, it’s useful for me to state my background upfront so that readers know my biases. For about three decades, I was a partner in a global law firm, practicing in a wide variety of business areas (frankly, wherever the clients led me).  For the last 15 years of that run, I was the full-time managing partner with firm-wide responsibility for the day-to-day business of the firm.  At the end of my third term as a managing partner (at age 62), I looked for another career and began teaching at a large university’s law school, where I started a legal clinic for startup and early-stage businesses.
Continue Reading Being #1 isn’t always a good thing—loneliness among lawyers (296)


A. The lawyers are not asking for it and, without a roadmap to ensure success, the legal marketing function is not incentivized to pave the way.


I recently presented on the productization of legal services and subscription-based offerings in the B2B legal space at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference. See Post 037 (noting large structural difference between B2C and B2B legal sectors). The conference and the session were, from a NewLaw perspective, underwhelming.

In this column, I will provide context and then share my learnings from this experience.
Continue Reading Q. Why are most law firm marketing professionals “ho-hum” on the productization of legal services? (295)


Standard processes deliver efficiency and risk management. Personal touch ensures effectiveness.  In our business, we need both. 


While the legal and technology professions may seem diametrically opposite in many ways, certain functional elements of the roles executed by lawyers and technologists are, perhaps surprisingly, similar. 

One example is how both professions have standards or methodologies for stepping through defined processes.  Like most conventions, these structured practices are in place for very good reasons, having been tested over time to deliver results that are predictable within a narrow band of risk. Of course, whether a lawyer or technologist, the skilled technician also understands that there will be circumstances that occasionally warrant a personal touch. 
Continue Reading Standard processes and the occasional personal touch: the common ground of lawyers and technologists (294)


Northwestern Law is doing something different.


The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law invites applications for three full-time faculty positions in its Master of Science in Law program, with an expected start date of July 1, 2022. Candidates will be considered for appointment on the law school’s lecturer track (Lecturer or Senior Lecturer); these positions are not tenure-eligible.

The Master of Science in Law (MSL) is an innovative legal master’s degree offered by the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. This program is geared specifically towards STEM professionals who are interested in topics at the intersection of law, regulation, business, and policy. The residential full-time program began in 2014; the online part-time format was added in 2017. The MSL program has a diverse student body, with both domestic and international students, and students of different ages, levels of work experience, backgrounds, race and ethnicity, and career goals. There are currently over 200 students enrolled and the program has over 400 alumni. Graduates of the MSL work in a variety of industries, including consulting, finance, pharma, biotech, engineering, healthcare, and law (including intellectual property, legal operations, and others); some go on to further study in medicine, business, law, and other fields.
Continue Reading Unique opportunity for teaching the next generation of legal professionals (293)