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the door is open

will you walk through?

Following is the email I just sent to all of the #badass people who said YES, I'm a legal innovator and I want to help 👊.
- Cat Moon

24 March 2020

You're receiving this email because you (and 160+ others) completed the form I'm a legal innovator and I want to help 👊. THANK YOU for joining the #makelawbetter effort.

The idea to create a database of legal innovators ready, willing, and able to help leaders in law navigate the coronavirus crisis came to me as I've watched courts globally closing one by one over the past few days—courts with no plan for operational continuity in these unprecedented times. In large part because of a failure to innovate.

And those courts that have stayed open are operating sub-optimally, even though accessible technology exists to solve many challenges faced. I've watched this happen via Twitter and even in my own judicial district in Tennessee, where I receive near-daily court updates via email from our Clerk and Master.

The question I keep asking myself: how can we #keeplawopen? Because law is our operating system.

And, it's not just the courts. I see people across the legal spectrum faced with many very hard decisions right now, for which they are largely unprepared. And I know there is a legal innovation community full of people with the experience, expertise, and energy to help.

So, my very first thought? Connect the two. Get the legal innovators out in the open, where they can easily be found by the people who need the help. And get this roster of helpers in front of the people who need the help. This spreadsheet is the result.

So, what's next? Because this alone won't get us far. With that said, I have released all expectations at this point so you know what? If one court that needs help finds help thanks to this database? Then my job is done.

And, we have the potential to help many, many more people and organizations and courts. To do so will take much more than just signing up for a list. The next step requires proaction on your part. A choice to dedicate some bandwidth and go forth with confidence and courage that you can help and those who need your help will accept it.

I don't have any answers right now. And I do have some ideas. I'm going to share suggestions on what steps you #makelawbetter innovators can take NOW to help #keeplawopen. I accept the roll of facilitator and provocateur and will do all I can to support your efforts for this common cause. And, all I can do is facilitate and provoke. For any impact to be had, your action is required.

Jordan shared the perfect metaphor today:

Yes, the door has busted open. But change won't happen just because we fell into the room. I'm going to let Jordan's words speak for me again: "We need to recalibrate the legal innovation community, virtually overnight, from 'plucky outsiders pleading to be heard' to 'architects and project leaders for the new legal world.' We need to turn our good ideas into workable solutions, and we need to do it fast."

Now is your chance. To take your expertise, experience, and energy, and get to work. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Identify with specificity the projects and type of work you can and will do and format this into a shareable communication, e.g. tweet, LinkedIn post, blog post, email template
  • Articulate and promote existing projects you have and that others can plug into 
  • Find other folks working in your space and figure out how you can combine forces to create a sum greater than its separate parts — consulting the I am an innovator list is a great starting point
  • Identify organizations and institutions that need the kind of help you can offer and contact them directly with a specific offer to help

I'm grateful to you for joining the #makelawbetter legal innovator database. And I hope you'll accept the challenge to move this effort to the next level. I'm here to facilitate, promote, and provoke until the people who need our help have it.

If there's a specific way I can support your efforts, please let me know. I certainly can create and host a community, such as a #makelawbetter Slack team or even a simple email listserve. If this interests you, respond directly to this email and let me know. I'll build a space if y'all will come.

And some great spaces already exist. You can ping Lori Gonzalez @RayNaCorp to jump into her #ResourcesForLegal Slack team and Nicole Bradick @NicoleBradick to jump into her #A2J Slack team. And you can ping me if there are other places where legal innovation folks can meet and collaborate, so that I can share.

I'm here to serve. Let me know how I can. Because we are the helpers.

Let's walk through the door. Together. 👊

Cat Moon

@inspiredcat | c.moon at vanderbilt.edu

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