Our Year in Review: 2021 Rewind!

Legal Innovators had a busy year in 2021. Check out our year in review below to see some of our favorite conferences, events, and articles from last year!


Thought Leadership

Our team was at the forefront of thought leadership in the legal industry in 2021, participating in a range of conferences, webinars, and other speaking engagements.

Conference Panel: Recruiting and Championing the Next Generation

Legal Innovators CEO, Bryan Parker, moderated the panel “Recruiting and Championing the Next Generation” at the Clio Cloud Conference this year. Check out our blog recapping the event to read the key takeaways from panelists Paulette Brown of Locke Lord, Siobhan Handley of Orrick, and Trevor Mathews of Shearman & Sterling, and learn how they are using data to achieve sustainable, diverse workplaces.

Webinar: From Glass Ceiling to Crystal Stair: Shattering Myths Around the Road to Partnership for Black Lawyers

In the fall, Bryan Parker hosted a NALP webinar discussing the pathway to partnership for diverse associates alongside Rustin Brown of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Our panelists, Vanessa Jackson of Davis Polk, Randall Clark of Gunderson Dettmer, and Bobby Earles of Cooley offered insight into the systemic issues the legal industry must address to make meaningful progress towards diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Read more coverage about the panel discussion from The American Lawyer.

LegalWeek(Year) Session: Are We On the Verge of a Legal Tech Bubble?

Bryan Parker joined Wendy Butler Curtis, Chief Innovation Officer at Orrick, Zach Posner, Managing Partner of The LegalTech Fund, and Itai Gurari, V.P. of Research and Development at Fastcase for this LegalWeek(Year) session. Participants discussed the question of a potential legal technology bubble as venture capital funding flows into the legal tech space. Read the coverage of the event by Steven Lerner of Law360.

Conference Panel: Leading By Design: Examining AI-Assisted Recruiting in Legal Services

At the Thomson Reuters 2021 Emerging Legal Technology Forum, Bryan Parker moderated a discussion among panelists Sang Lee of Thine, Laura Leopard of Leopard Solutions, and John Nathanson of Shearman on the costs, opportunities, and return on investment of talent acquisition technology. Panelists discussed the growing popularity of AI-assisted recruiting, and how it may help accelerate inclusive and sustainable practices across the legal profession.

Virtual Summit Panel: NALP Virtual Session for Early Stage Recruiting Tech Users

Bryan Parker spoke on a panel at the Virtual NALP Summit on Using Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Assessments in the Recruiting Process. He provided his input as a legal talent professional who uses assessments and data analytics in recruiting, and he discussed how Legal Innovators’ partnership with Parker Analytics has helped us better identify and recruit overlooked legal talent.

Conference Panel: Building Diverse Teams

At the Practising Law Institute (PLI)’s 2021 Legal Operations Conference, Bryan Parker discussed the best practices, new methods, and opportunities in building diverse teams in the legal industry alongside fellow panelists Greg Bennett of Workday, Chloe Carver of Microsoft, and Mirra Levitt of Priori. Their conversation covered how partnering with law firms and providers can allow companies to meet their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, and how legal departments and law forms can do better to attract and retain diverse talent.

Webinar: Diversity of Law School Deans is Changing the Approach to Legal Education

Bryan Parker and Jonathan Greenblatt hosted a webinar with a panel of diverse law school deans to discuss historic changes in legal education and how the legal industry can support goals of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession. Panel participants, Dayna Bowen Matthew of The George Washington University School of Law, Danielle Holley-Walker of Howard University School of Law, A. Benjamin Spencer of William & Mary Law School, and Eboni Nelson of University of Connecticut School of Law described the unique ways that their institutions have worked to reshape legal education. Read our recap of the panel or watch the full panel recording here. Check out the press coverage of the event from Law.com and Law360.

Panel Discussion: Innovations in Legal DE&I and Social Justice

Jonathan Greenblatt joined fellow panelists Leander Dolphin of Shipman & Goodman, May Ogilvie of McCarter & English, Nancy Didia of Boehringer Ingelheim, and Natalia Marulanda of DiversityLab for this conversation hosted by the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity and Quinnepiac University School of Law. Panelists represented legal organizations that took action to implement innovative measures to address systemic inequalities, and discussed how they promote social justice through hiring and retention, creating space for dialogue, and embracing best practices to advance their DEI strategy.

Keynote Address: Diversity Recruiting Going Forward

Bryan Parker was honored to present our thoughts on Diversity Recruiting Going Forward alongside Caren Ulrich Stacy of Diversity Lab as co-keynote speakers at the NALP Foundation of Law Career Research and Education 5th Annual Hiring Partner Conference.

Roundtable Discussion: Who’s Got Your Back? Why Mentorship is Key to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Legal Innovators Chairman Jonathan Greenblatt participated in Law.com’s roundtable discussion on mentorship alongside Nefertiti Alexander, a partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, Jeanine Anderson, Senior Legal Counsel at Equinix, and Gordon Weekes, a public defender of Broward County, FL. Participants had an honest conversation about how they attribute their rise in the profession to mentorship and how for years now, each has worked to illuminate the path for others, especially minorities. Read the recap, or watch the full panel to hear more about the role of mentorship in driving DE&I and career development for diverse talent in the legal profession.

Panel Discussion: Unapologetically, YOU: Learn to Define Your Success

Legal Innovators’ Director of Business Development, Bernadette Beekman, joined Lourdes Olvera-Marshall, Senior D&I Manager at Cleary Gottlieb, and Katherine Loanzon, Managing Director at Kenney Recruiting, for this conversation hosted by the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY). Participants discussed their strategies for implementing your vision of professional success and offered advice on how to set yourself apart as a talented legal professional.


Podcast Rewind: The Law in Black in White

In 2021, we produced 9 new episodes of The Law in Black in White, with 11 incredible guests providing expertise on topics ranging from the troubling state of mental health among U.S. attorneys, to innovative approached to legal hiring, to allyship and the role of sponsorship in advancing the careers of diverse associates. Check out a few of our favorite highlights:

Episode 11: LGBTQ+ Representation in the Law: The Progress We’ve Made and the Path Forward

Our guest James Leipold, Executive Director of NALP, joined us for an insightful discussion about the structural changes that are needed to promote inclusion in the legal profession for LGBTQ+ attorneys, and attorneys from all underrepresented identities. James talked with us about the progress he has witnessed in law schools and law firms over the course of his career, and the structural shifts he foresees as necessary if the industry wants to retain more diverse legal talent. Listen to the full episode. 

Episode 10: Chief Talent Officers Creating Innovative Approaches to Legal Hiring

We were joined in our 10th episode by Alston + Bird’s Chief Legal Talent Officer, Liz Price, and by Siobhan Handley, Chief Talent Officer at Orrick. Our two guests discussed the changes their firms are implementing to recruit and retain diverse talent in Big Law, and how they use their roles as Chief Talent Officers to innovate in the legal hiring space. Listen to the full episode.

Episode 8: The Changing Role of the General Counsel

We were honored to speak with guests Angela Grant, the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Palomar Holdings, Inc., and LaTanya Langley, who serves as Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at BIC, about how the role of a General Counsel or Chief Legal Officer is ever evolving. Angela and LaTanya shed light on their increasingly complex roles, and how they are managing to do more with less during the pandemic across the board, from cost savings, to evaluating resources, to managing culture and teams efficiently. Listen to the full episode.

Episode 13: National Disability Employment Awareness Month with Professor Kat Macfarlane

In our October episode, we honored National Disability Employment Awareness Month in our conversation with guest Katherine Macfarlane, Professor and Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on Disability Law at Southern University Law Center. Professor Macfarlane joined us to discuss disability awareness in the legal field and how the industry can improve inclusiveness and compliance. Listen to the full episode.


In the Press

Legal Innovators was a hot topic in 2021! Here is some of our favorite press coverage of Legal Innovators from the past year, as well as a few articles authored by members of the Legal Innovators team.

How This Diversity-Minded Talent Startup Took a Hit, Then Thrived Amid COVID

Dan Packel wrote this article for The American Lawyer to cover the Legal Innovators story. He describes our innovative business model as an alternative pathway into Big Law for diverse talent, and he highlights some of our junior attorneys and partnerships with firms Latham & Watkins, Orrick, and Gilbert LLP. Read more of the coverage.

Boiling Point: Why Mental Health Is the ‘Existential Crisis’ Facing the Legal Profession

This article by team members Bryan Parker, Scott Langley, and Nadia Lee was published in Law.com, and examines the state of mental health in the legal profession, how to spot issues, and what firms can do to create healthy solutions in a post-COVID world. Read more on the topic. 

Mentoring is a Two-Way Street

In this article for Law.com, Legal Innovators Co-Founder Jonathan Greenblatt argues that becoming mentors and sponsors is part of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Jon discusses his own experiences as a mentor over the course of his career at Shearman & Sterling, including with his former mentee and current business partner and Legal Innovators co-founder, Bryan Parker. Read the full article now. 

New Pathways to BigLaw

This article by Latham & Watkins, which appeared in Firsthand, describes how firms like Latham are widening the pipeline of legal talent into Big Law by partnering with Legal Innovators. Latham writes that “partnership programs like Legal Innovators represent the next evolution of experience-based learning,” and aims to increase opportunity, broaden diversity, and meet the current moment of massive transformation thanks to our partnership. Read more of the coverage.

Orrick Partners with Startup to Pilot Diverse Pipeline Program

In this Bloomberg Law article, Meghan Tribe covers the announcement a partnership between Legal Innovators and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe to establish a pilot pipeline program aimed at rethinking the way that firms recruit and train talent, particularly diverse attorneys. Legal Innovators’ CEO, Bryan Parker, is quoted in the article saying, “We’re trying to disrupt. We’re saying that there’s a better way to manage talent, to develop that talent, and to make sure that within the content of that talent everybody is having an equitable right to come in.” Read the full article.

Jonathan Greenblatt Has a Message for White Lawyers With This Hangup: ‘You’ll Get Over It’

This Law.com article from Samantha Joseph covers some of the key takeaways from the Law.com Roundtable Discussion, “Who’s Got Your Back? Why Mentorship is Key to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Legal Profession,” which included Legal Innovators Chairman, Jonathan Greenblatt. Jonathan emphasizes that more white attorneys need to make an effort to mentor lawyers who do not look like them, as it is not fair to expect the small number of minority attorneys shoulder the whole responsibility of mentorship for the next generation of diverse lawyers: such a system will never see the number of diverse lawyers meaningfully grow. Read more of the coverage.