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An #ignite preview: Mary Juetten

Leading up to Vanderbilt Law's Summit on Law and Innovation on April 30, 2018, we're sharing brief teasers of the provocative ideas our speakers will explore. Today, we get a glimpse into Mary Juetten's #ignite talk. Enjoy!

About Mary Juetten (@maryjuetten)

Mary E. Juetten, CA, CPA, JD is founder and CEO of Traklight, and has dedicated her more­ than­ 30­ year career to helping businesses achieve and protect their success. Mary serves on the Group Legal Services Association Board and is an Access Advocate for LegalShield. In 2015, Mary co-founded Evolve Law, an organization for change and technology adoption in the law. She was named to the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center 2016 Women in Legal Tech list and the Fastcase 50 Class of 2016. Follow her on Twitter @maryjuetten and find her book on "Small Law Firm KPIs" here.

Mary, what big ideas will you ignite at SoLI?

In the 1970s, I was chastised in front of the entire class for speaking up with an off the wall answer, “Don’t be so bold, Mary Ellen King.” Little did my Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Maybe, know that she actually set the tone for the rest of my life and career. If I am not pushing the envelope with bold statements and actions, I do not see the point.

Lawyers: do not fear legal technology or the robots, instead look in the mirror and fear an inability to change and adapt to today’s technology. The legal profession, industry, or business is not special; it’s just like other professions, all of whom embrace technology, particularly to serve clients. We have a chance to change our profession without repeating others’ mistakes. Simply, without bold leadership towards wholesale change, the law will become irrelevant.

The old adage – customers vote with their feet - can now be updated, clients vote with their thumbs. State bars and the ABA are regulatory trade associations with self-serving missions that do not put clients first, while construing technology as borderline unethical. We need to meet the clients where they are – online, in-person, wherever - no special snowflake excuses. Let’s take the energy going into UPL challenges against the inevitable expansion of legal services options and instead, work on big impact projects that include technology.

Legal Technologists are working on tools to either help attorneys run their practice or generate more clients. While that is necessary, we are told over and over that technology is dangerous and that the lawyers want better or different systems. However, I have been in business for over 30 years; developing technology for over a decade; and now I am going to practice law with technology, it’s a no-brainer in real life.

A knee jerk reaction to everything is to do it all ourselves or state all the reasons why technology cannot solve all the problems. However, no doctor implements their own practice management system; no engineer operates without a project management system; no accountant coded their document management or file system. Technology enables the business world and certainly all of our personal lives. Why such a battle?

There is so much lawyer infighting, posturing, debating, and basically hand-wringing over losing market share to competitors and technology. Yet, 80% of Americans are underserved. Further, emails and transcripts by attorneys advocating that non-lawyers cannot serve clients. How can a J.D. program that does not include any instruction on running a business; using technology; required clinical or practical experience; nor articling or working under an experienced attorney somehow better prepares a JD to serve than an educated legal technician?

Start with Clients. Focus on access and look for technology and innovation, not solely legal technology. My personal mission is to improve access to justice through innovation which means change. We need a group that effects change without politics and without multi-year report creation. Who is with me?

I know, don’t be so bold. #onward.

Join us at SoLI2018! Learn about big ideas, share your own, and be part of breaking down silos and building connections across the legal profession. Radical collaboration: we go faster, and farther, together.

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