Published: Apr 06, 2021
As technology has advanced, so too has its use across the legal industry and within law firms seeking to improve efficiency for lawyers and clients. And never has technology been so at the forefront as it has been during the COVID-19 pandemic, as law firms have adapted their technology infrastructures to support lawyers and staff working remotely. Of course, legal technology encompasses more than home office equipment—it includes solutions like time-keeping software, eDiscovery platforms, case management systems, client document collection tools, and more.
Here at Vault, we have also been innovating. In fall 2020, we launched the new Vault Law App, which includes Vault’s law firm rankings, firm profiles, practice area resources, and a law firm comparison tool. The app was designed to help law students and lawyers research legal careers and prepare for law firm interviews—all at their fingertips.
Vault wouldn’t have been able to launch our app without the help of our law firm underwriters, whose support is indicative of their broader commitment to technology and innovation in the legal field. Some of these firms shared more with us about what technology and innovation means to them. Watch the videos below to hear firsthand about how these firms use technology to support their lawyers, staff, and clients.
When COVID-19 hit, Hogan Lovells jumped in to help students who were attending U.S. schools but stuck elsewhere around the world. The firm created an innovative program tracking the regulatory framework in numerous countries regarding whether or to what extent U.S. schools could beam their programs into the country. This led to the creation of an online platform for college and university clients, allowing them to track and understand their country-by-country obligations.
Prior to COVID-19, Latham had already invested in building a strong technology infrastructure, which no doubt helped the firm land the No. 2 spot on Vault’s 2021 Best Law Firms for Technology and Innovation ranking. A popular addition during COVID-19 has been the “Observation Deck,” a program that allows lawyers firmwide to watch Latham trial lawyers in action in virtual court. This has given associates the unique ability to attend more hearings than ever, and the firm hosts debrief sessions to foster associate learning.
Paul Hastings views innovation as one of the firm's core values. The firm is especially proud of its Legal Tech University, which exposes new associates to technology and how they can leverage it in their practice. As part of the Legal Tech University curriculum, associates work together to solve a real-world legal problem using legal technology.
Weil views technology as an important tool for maintaining firm culture and community. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the firm’s executive partner has sent weekly check-in emails, and the firm has used a variety of other technologies to keep lawyers looped in—for example, the firm has hosted a number of virtual social events, from pumpkin carving to trivia night.
Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of women throughout American history, and it is also a time to consider where progress is yet to be made before women are on truly equal footing. When it comes to the legal profession, the historically male-dominated industry has made significant strides; for example, women have comprised the majority of new law students for the past several years.
Melinda M. Snodgrass studied opera at the Conservatory of Vienna, graduated from the University of New Mexico, magna cum laude, in history, and went on to Law School. After practicing for three years, she left law and turned to writing.
In 1988, she accepted a job on Star Trek: The Next Generation and began her Hollywood career. She has worked on staff on numerous shows and has written television pilots and feature films. Currently, she is an executive producer on Wild Cards for Universal Pictures and Peacock.
In the prose world, she writes for and co-edits the shared world anthology series Wild Cards with George R. R. Martin. Her space opera, the Imperials Saga, and her urban fantasy series, White Fang Law, are available on multiple platforms.
For fun, she rides her dressage horse and plays video games. She used to spend a lot of time in the gym, but there was this pandemic…
Vault spoke to Melinda about her career path, how her law degree prepared her for her career as a screenwriter and novelist, and what advice she has for pursuing an alternative legal career path. Read on for the interview.
Vault: Why did you initially decide to go to law school?
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