Irene Mo, attorney and NextGen Fellow at the ABA Center for Innovation. Find her on Twitter @imokx.
How did you become involved in legal tech?
I became involved in legal tech as a 1L at Michigan State University College of Law. I went to MSU Law specifically for Professor Dan Katz and the ReInvent Law program. After researching a bunch of law schools, the ReInvent Law program seemed to be the best option for me to build on top of my quantitative background and apply these skills to the practice of law. When Professor Katz left for Chicago-Kent after my 1L year, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help Professor Daniel W. Linna Jr. launch and shape LegalRnD—The Center for Legal Services Innovation.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
I am currently a NextGen fellow at the ABA Center for Innovation. My project is focused on helping low-income and marginalized individuals understand privacy and data security risks. I am attacking this problem by helping the professionals that work with this community and the community itself. The first prong of my project is integrating a privacy checkup tool, Security Planner, into the current resources of state-wide legal services websites. The second prong is developing a technology-related evidentiary toolkit for civil attorneys with the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Another project I am working on is finding my next job. My fellowship ends in August and I am hoping to find a litigation position where I can apply the skills that I have built in legal tech.
Is there a legal tech resource of any kind that you find yourself returning to or that was particularly formative for you?
Both Professor Linna and Ken Grady are formative resources in my life. I am fortunate to have had them as professors when I was in law school and they both still frequently mentor me. It is particularly important for anyone starting out in legal technology to remember: 1) technology is not a silver bullet, and 2) understanding the people and processes affected by a problem is essential to solving it. Both of them have hammered those principals into their classes so much that anytime I feel the urge to “solution-jump” I can hear them scolding me in my head.
What technology do you think lawyers could look at in a different way that would benefit society?
I would like attorneys to be more open-minded about artificial intelligence. There are two ends of the spectrum. One end is scared because they think lawyers will be replaced by AI and the other end is angry because they think there is no possible way AI can do the things lawyers do. It would be great if we had more people in the middle who recognize AI + lawyers > lawyers themselves, and incorporating AI into the practice of law, in whatever form, will be the new standard of practice. There are opportunities for lawyers right now to get involved in shaping AI in the legal field.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
Find a mentor. Mentors are essential to your success. They will make sure you get introduced to the right people and involved in meaningful projects and organizations.
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
Last year, Nicole Bradick told me to beware of just being the cute pet men like to have around or the media darling of legal tech. She told me it is important to remember that I am a force to be reckoned with and that I have a voice to contribute to substantive issues. I have been thinking about this piece of advice since Nicole told me that.
Feature image from #WOCinTechChat