By Irene Mo • February 01, 2017•Issues, Mentoring and Networking
**UPDATE**Febraury 22, 2017 -- Missed the live-stream of #MSULawLT4A2J? Here's the recording of the event.
**UPDATE**Febraury 8, 2017 -- Please visit my new blog post for event details or you can head straight to the Facebook event or the live-stream link. (Note: There will be nothing on the live-stream link until 5 minutes before 12:00pm on 2/14.)**
----- Original Post -----
Thank you to my Twitter tribe!
As my fellowship project for Ms. JD, I wanted to plan an access to justice panel focusing on the use of legal technology to help marginalized and low-income individuals on a large scale. When I started planning the event last week, I had my sights set on a date for the last week of March. But then I was told there was an opening for a lunch time event during Michigan State University College of Law's Diversity Week. If you are an active student leader on MSU Law's campus, you know nothing draws in students like Diversity Week events. I had to take the opportunity.
"ACCESS TO JUSTICE WITH LEGAL TECH: HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN BE USED TO HELP MARGINALIZED AND LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUALS ON A LARGE SCALE."
The panel will now be on Tuesday, February 14, from 12:15-1:30pm. I had a little over two weeks to pull the event together. I had to buckle down to get everything set, especially since I planned to live-stream the event.
At this time, Angela Tripp from Michigan Legal Help and MJ Cartwright from Court Innovations were already committed to the previous March dates. Fortunately, both of them graciously shifted their schedules to make February 14 work. I wanted one or two more speakers for the panel but the question was: who? I set out two goals: 1) to keep the panel entirely women and 2) to have at least one woman of color.
I knew women of color in legal technology are few and far between, it was not until my search for speakers did I realize how scarce we were. For my panel, I wanted a woman of color using legal technology for access to justice work.
First, I reached out to Kristen Sonday, who had recently been featured in Forbes for pro-bono engagement start-up, Paladin. I had met her during a Chicago Legal Innovation & Technology Meetup. Unfortunately, she would be out of town and could not make it on February 14. And then, I got stuck. I could not think of another woman of color in my legal technology network who worked in the access to justice space.
I TURNED TO TWITTER.
I thought, "What could it hurt? The worst thing that could happen would be that my request would get ignored." Taking advantage of the timing of LegalTech New York, I hit up #LTNY17 and #evolvelawnow in my request. I do not have many followers, but I asked two of my most prominent followers, lawprofblawg (@lawprofblawg) and Legal Services Corporation (@LSCtweets) for help. My request:
Would love to find a woman of color in #legaltech for 2/14 #A2J in-person panel at MSU Law! Help? $$$ for expenses possible.
The response I got was astonishing. My Twitter tribe retweeted, quote tweeted, and tagged other people and organizations into the search. People were excited about the panel and loved the fact that I was going out of my way to make sure a woman of color was included.
IT WAS EXCITING TO SEEING THE MOBILIZATION OF MY TWITTER TRIBE, BUT I ALSO HAD A SAD REALIZATION.
My friend, and frequent Ms. JD contributor, Nicole Abboud pointed out how sad it was that not one option for a woman of color using legal technology for access to justice work came immediately to mind for most people. About 6 hours after my initial request, I had only gotten one recommendation.
Eventually, my request trickled through to the right people. Now, I have a list of 5-6 women of color utilizing legal technology to increase access to legal services. I am confident, if I am able to secure the funding, I will have not one, but two women of color on my panel.
Stay tuned for a blog post with details about the live-stream of "Access to Justice with Legal Tech: How technology can be used to help marginalized and low-income individuals on a large scale."
Irene Mo is a 2016 Ms. JD Fellow. As part of the Ms. JD Fellowship program, Irene hopes to establish a platform to promote women, especially women of color, to enter into the legal technology field.
She grew up in Metropolitan Detroit and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with Distinction, from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Since beginning law school, Irene’s passion for increasing access to legal services has grown. As a third-year law student at Michigan State University, she is an Innovation Assistant for LegalRnD - The Center for Legal Services Innovation and a student in the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute, a litigation-certificate program. During Summer 2016, Irene was a Legal Intern for the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. In the future, Irene plans to practice in information privacy and security law, focusing on advising clients and resolving disputes through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and, when necessary, litigation.