The Legal Technology Resource Center
’s Women of Legal Tech
initiative is intended to encourage diversity and celebrate women in legal technology. This initiative launched in 2015 with a list of innovators and leaders in legal technology and with this year’s additions, that list now includes 141 talented and influential women leaders.
Every Monday and Wednesday, we have featured a woman from our class of 2022. Today we have Nicole Morris!
Nicole Morris is Professor & Director of Innovation and Legal Tech at Emory University School of Law.
Three points to summarize you and your work in legal tech.
- Focus on the problem to be solved; Are you solving the right problem?
- Innovation is an iterative process. Getting negative results will happen and this is valuable information to assess what to do next.
- When I begin an endeavor, I ask myself, “what does success look like?” This helps me prioritize and identify the critical steps needed for a successful outcome.
How did you become involved in legal tech?
When I joined Emory Law in 2015, I discovered that there were very few law & technology programs in legal education. The Emory Law TI:GER Program was unique with its multidisciplinary approach to integrating technology commercialization and legal education. I was excited to lead this effort at the law school and continue to see great outcomes for our graduates. In addition, I am delighted to share that I have been named as the inaugural director of Emory Law’s Innovation and Legal Tech Initiative launching in the Fall 2022.
What projects have you been focused on recently?
I have two projects that I’m working on currently. First, I am working on a data literacy framework for law students. Data analytics and data science are playing an important role in the practice of law. Lawyers are using data analytics and predictive coding to review documents, draft contracts and to determine the outcome of court decisions. I want to create a data science knowledge framework for law students that adequately prepares them for the level of data fluency required of them to be successful in their careers. The second project is the ethics of innovation. This project evolved from a case study about the Theranos hoax that I drafted for my course the Fundamentals of Innovation. In case study, I ask the students questions about the role of the attorneys in enabling and perpetuating the fraud. I want to expand this to include research about the conduct of technology founders and what ethical obligations (if any) would govern the conduct of startups.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in legal tech today?
The slow adoption rate of the legal tech tools is one of the biggest challenges.
Has the pandemic changed anything about the way you, your firm, or your organization does business? Has the changes that have resulted from the pandemic improved or altered your work or how you do it?
Yes of course! We no longer will require speakers to be present in-person if we can accommodate the event by having them use Zoom or Teams.
What legal tech resource helped you the most in your legal tech career?
For me Twitter has been a game changer. I can connect with many different folks in the legal tech ecosystem (such as academics, practitioners, and business professionals) and it is my go-to resource for content in the legal tech space.
What do you see as the most important emerging tech, legal or not, right now?
ML algorithms to assist with pattern recognition and analysis of large data sets.
What do you see for the future of legal tech?
I would like to see more resources to assist buyers evaluate which legal tech tool is appropriate for their business or use case. I think we will continue to see funding support for legal tech startups and as the market gets saturated it will become harder to evaluate which tech product is best for a unique end-user.
What advice would you give to other women who want to get involved in legal tech?
Just do it. There is room for everyone who is interested whether as a user of legal tech or to educate others about various tech tools.
Give a shout-out to another woman in legal tech who you admire or have learned something from!
A shout out to legal tech pioneer Kimberly Bennett! I think she is a trailblazer and outstanding business leader.