As editor of Legal Evolution, I’m always on the lookout for next-generation talent, as they have the advantage of fresh eyes.  See Post 201 (noting the “next generation” as a priority for future content). Today, with a guest post from Yvonne Nath, see Post 223,  I’m delighted to deliver some of the fruits of that ongoing search.

Back in 2017, during the first year teaching Diffusion of Innovation in the Legal Industry at Northwestern Law, I issued an open invitation to my network to attend the final student presentations.  See LinkedIn invite (Nov 2017).  Several friends showed up–all innovators and early adopters, of course–including Yvonne Nath, who saw the invite through one of our common connections.  In fact, Yvonne Nath flew in from Cleveland, as she was looking for new and fresh ideas in her new role as Director of Strategic Operations for an Ohio-based AmLaw 200 firm.

Because Yvonne traveled so far for my class, as she seemed to believe that traditional law firms might be interested in cutting-edge innovation, I figured that it was worth the price of a Gino’s East pizza to hear the back story.  So from 9 pm until they kicked us out at 11, Bruce Melton (another pure innovator) and I interrogated Yvonne with questions.

Although I have been studying the legal industry for nearly two decades, it has taken nearly that long to shed my inherent naivete. In the short- to medium-term, that perspective has led to my full share of misses. Yet, a willingness to show up and try new ideas tends to do pretty well over the long-term, as the learning is real and starts to compound.  Suffice to say, I identified with Yvonne’s high-energy and idealism, albeit a full generation removed, and wanted her to be successful within the harsh and recalcitrant legal industry.

And I wasn’t the only one who saw promise and potential.  During class, Yvonne sat next to my long-time friend Joe Altonji, one of the principals at Law Vision. They stayed in touch, and a year later, Joe invited Yvonne to join his firm.

Now, nearly four years later, Yvonne has continued to acquire a rare mix of knowledge and experience. Yet, she retains her trademark high energy and optimism.  I hope you enjoy her fresh perspective as much as I do.