There’s a lot of cool things happening in legal innovation these days, though not all of it is high tech.  Thus, over this summer, I’ve made an effort to publish content that has nothing to do with data, process, or technology but a lot to do with lawyers living their professional values and trying to make a difference. See, e.g., Post 166 (Lori Mihalich-Levin writing about efforts to improve the attorney-parent experience); Post 181 (Neil Hamilton bringing the competency-based medical education movement to a legal audience).

Today’s guest contributor, Terrance Stroud, very much fits that mold.  Terrance is a 2003 graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, who currently serves as Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Social Services, the largest municipal social services agency in the country.  As a New York native and a graduate of Brooklyn College, some might find in improbable that Terrance ended up in a college town in the Midwest to attend law school.  But Indiana Law’s longtime admissions director, Frank Motley (now retired), had an eye for talent and a gift for selling how three years in Bloomington for law school could change your life.  Sure, the faculty did its part, but a large number of the students Frank handpicked were destined to become lifelong friends.  That’s what happened to Terrance, and he’s been paying it forward ever since.

The subject of Terrance’s post (192) is Maurer Law’s NY Externship Program, which Terrance created in 2017 and currently directs as an adjunct professor. The basic purpose of the program is to help Indiana Law students break into the New York market, which is the world’s most competitive and very difficult to do without insider knowledge. Fortunately, since returning to New York City in 2003, Terrance has served in many different roles in state and city government (legislative aide, liaison to other government agencies, senior administrator), which has resulted in a large network and a broad view on how to build your career.

Terrance Stroud’s story of the NY Externship Program is important for two reasons. First, any law school can replicate this success by tapping enthusiastic and able members of your alumni community—they’re always present, but we have to engage and listen.  Second, it reveals how much innovation depends upon the fundamentals of investing in relationships, no tech required.  See Post 192. Many thanks, Terrance, for your generosity of spirit.