I was born in Toronto to a Canadian mother and an American father. My parents had decided to marry after my father was arrested in front of the American consulate during a protest following the events at Kent State. I am an anchor baby, with a dual identity, both Canadian and American.
In my teens and twenties I was obsessed with communications technology, computers, and graphic design. I was part of generation that introduced computer-assisted design to publishing. In my early teens, I would spend evenings coding my own fonts, and making money with graphic design.
I came to law in my late twenties, inspired by some work I had done at the Ministry of the Attorney General, and then worked as a litigation associate at large Bay Street law firms. But I early on discovered the use of litigation support technology and pursued an understanding of this to help me review documents and make productions. By 2006, when the Zubulake decisions were published in the US, I knew what I wanted to do: eDiscovery. I believe I was the first practising lawyer in a Bay Street law firm to assume responsibility for a litigation support function, in 2010. Shortly thereafter, I was appointed the first eDiscovery Counsel inside a Canadian law firm.
I’m setting out to become the Anthony Bourdain of Legal Technology. In conjunction with the Global Legal Hackathon, I’ll be traveling around the world to meet legal entrepreneurs and technologists, including in countries where access to justice is fragile.
By 2011 I was experimenting with bringing eDiscovery techniques and technology to other practice areas. I implemented machine learning in cases before the seminal US cases. In 2014 I wrote and passed the NY Bar and began working in a US Firm, as eDiscovery Counsel. Between 2007 and 2017, I sat on dozens of teaching panels and published dozens or articles on eDiscovery, Information Governance, Data Security and Data Privacy, and the role of artificial intelligence in legal service delivery, including a 4 year column in Canadian Lawyer.
What fascinates me is the intersection of law and technology, and identifying situations in which technology can improve legal outcomes, improve access to justice and accuracy, efficiency of obtaining legal outcomes.
In March and April of 2018, I’m setting out to become the Anthony Bourdain of Legal Technology. In conjunction with the Global Legal Hackathon, I’ll be traveling around the world to meet legal entrepreneurs and technologists, including in countries where access to justice is fragile. It is vitally important to break down barriers between countries so that legal technologists can identify each other and collaborate. Because law is so specific and jurisdiction-based, legal technology suffers from a lack of investment, which also curtails developer participation. My hope is that by discovering synergies of need and common ideas we can leverage scale, talent and capital to get some great ideas built and into production.
I’m most proud of the community of legal technologists and entrepreneurs I’m a part of. And if I’ve been able to help an entrepreneur, forward-thinker, or more junior lawyer identify a passion and pursue it, that is reward immeasurable.