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.

Marc’s career is both impressive and humbling.  First the impressive part:  After getting his undergraduate degree (in Music and Philosophy) from MIT, Marc earned a law degree from Harvard Law School.  In 1984, after a few years in practice, Marc took a clinical teaching position at Harvard Law, where he got involved with Project Pericles, an R&D program on the application of information technology to legal services and clinical legal education.  That lasted for more than a decade.  In 1998, Marc founded Capstone Practice Systems, which advises, trains, and builds systems for top law firms and legal departments, as well as many nonprofit organizations.  Over the course of his long career, Marc has done path-breaking work on document automation and artificial intelligence and served as an executive for several startups.  He’s also been a leader in international law and technology organizations, a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, and a past co-chair of the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force.

The humbling part is pretty obvious: When it comes to legal technology and innovation, Marc was in the trenches 30 years before it was cool.  Thus, he sees through the hype that tends to draw in the rest of us.  Personally, I am very grateful to access his accumulated wisdom, which has no comparable substitute.   As you read Marc’s first post, “Looking at legal knowledge technology through an unusual lens (301),” you’ll quickly appreciate the depth and breadth of his perspective.  It’s about time we handed him the mic.