As one of the few law students at the ABA TECHSHOW, I am pretty pumped about the unique perspective I now take with me into my career. Not only does the University of Oklahoma provide amazing opportunities for us to become technologically literate lawyers but experiencing the TECHSHOW provided a new view of the legal profession and the path of my potential career, one in which I may just become a legal entrepreneur.
Not to dog on our profession, but we are, in large part, still beholden to many who do not quite want to step into the 21st century. You know who I mean. Those partners who really don’t believe technology can be effective in the legal world. To these people I say: 1. Can I have a job? And 2. Let’s walk hand in hand and use some of the amazing tools other lawyers have created for us.
While partaking in tech skills training and learning about the available legal technologies, was in-and-of itself an invaluable experience, meeting lawyers turned entrepreneurs was definitely my favorite part of the ABA TECHSHOW.
Entering Law school I had no idea who I wanted to be, much less what I wanted to do. The law seemed interesting and I wasn’t quite ready to “adult” yet. I will never forget sitting in law school orientation and learning about the “legal mind.” At the time I sat quietly, eating my lunch, and internally rolling my eyes. Okay we get it, you’re going to make us smart. But as I reached the half way mark of my law school career I really started feeling my legal mind take shape and even my spouse would get annoyed when we would argue because I would manage to reason my way out of whatever it is I was probably wrong about.
Now as a 3L, I am excited about venturing out and finding a career. They say the career path used to be that of a ladder, you take the first step and if you make a good faith effort at your job you will see the next steps appearing and you will make your way to the top. Now, many people say it’s like a jungle gym. You start at the bottom and you take many twists and turns and when you reach a resting point you look back at your winding path, not entirely sure how you ended up where you are.
I find this will be increasingly true for lawyers as we step forward into our careers equipped not only with a formal legal education but with our legal minds, discerning and understanding the world around us in a unique way. I saw this more than ever at the TECHSHOW when I spoke with “former” attorneys about their start-ups and small businesses.
So many lawyers have stepped out from their traditional roles and used their personal experiences to make the profession better through their innovative ideas. Companies like Headnote and Casetext are founded by lawyers who know the business and saw a need for change and growth. Using their legal minds combined with their entrepreneurial spirit, they created successful companies offering digital solutions for a profession that tends to struggle with stepping into the digital world.
Meeting people who have taken their legal minds and become movers and shakers, using business innovation to make our profession better, faster, and more successful, improving access to justice and many other aspects of the legal realm. For a profession that builds its life on helping others it’s pretty awesome to meet those who have set out their careers to help those in their profession better help others.
Maybe one day I will find myself lawyer-turned entrepreneur and I will stand on the TECHSHOW floor, talking to law students, teaching them how to use my amazing new product. If not, I hope I can build my career in a way that empowers those with the passion and the insight to create amazing legal tech, using their legal minds to advance and stimulate our profession, to move it in a direction of innovation.
Meg Reeder-Cramer, 3L