As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a moment to recognize the diverse thinking and solution-oriented contributions made by women legal tech.
CosmoLex recognizes that having a more representative team leads to better business decisions, and women often excel in leadership roles—including with competency, a willingness to continue learning, and a more positive relationship with managers. With women making up approximately 48% of the CosmoLex team and over 54% of our management and senior roles, we’ve seen firsthand the long-lasting positive impact women in legal tech can have.
Below, we’ve compiled just a few profiles of Law Technology Today’s “Women of Legal Tech” for 2021.
Camila Lopez is a consumer advocate and co-founder of People Clerk, which helps California litigants navigate small claims court.
After hearing from family and friends trying to follow up on various issues, including getting security deposits back, she went to a small claims court hearing—and was shocked to see how most litigants didn’t get their day in court because they didn’t know to follow specific procedures.
Hence, People Clerk.
Hon. Judge Samantha Jessner
Hon. Judge Samantha Jessner is the first woman of color—and only the third woman overall—to be elected as Assistant Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. It’s the nation’s largest trial court, and Judge Jessner has helped overhaul how the court uses technology.
She has trained roughly 600 judicial officers—and when the pandemic hit, her work helped the court adjust to a smoother online process and enabled it to continue offering services remotely.
Amanda Brown is the Executive Director of Lagniappe Law Lab. This start-up aims to increase civil legal service in Louisiana and make interacting with the justice system more straightforward for people without legal training.
Brown cites a one-semester legal tech clinic in law school that put her on her current path—and working in disaster recovery as a fellow with the ABA’s Flood Proof project.
Rebecca Hernandez Benavides
The Director of Legal Business and Strategy at Microsoft, Rebecca Hernandez Benavides, became interested in legal tech twenty years ago after seeing the difference in productivity in two large litigation cases she worked on: one that relied on hard-copy documents and the other that used computer-assisted review of electronic data.
At Microsoft, she improves legal services with technology, including automation and better access to data and metrics.
Leila Banijamali is the co-founder and CEO of Symbium Corp, which helps city planners conduct more consistent and efficient residential site plan reviews.
She got her start in legal tech while working as outside counsel for tech companies, where she identified the need for automation, including drafting legal documents.
The Coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Law Program at Duke University School of Law, Kelli Raker, is quick to point out that she’s not a lawyer—and that she came to legal tech as an educator and community organizer.
Today, she’s worked with three cohorts of legal tech start-ups, particularly in areas of justice tech and human-centered design (HCD). The most recent cohort focused on increasing access to legal services.
Raker says she enjoys the creativity involved in understanding problems—and finding solutions.
Someera Khokhar is the founder and CEO of Nammu21. Focused on digitalization and analytics, Nammu21 improves financial transactions and data collection for businesses.
Khokhar didn’t have a technology background when she started Nammu21—but she had identified a key need in the private credit sector. Recognizing a current need that isn’t being addressed forms the backbone of her advice to other women looking to get into legal tech: note the “prevailing winds” of where things are headed.
As the Chair of British Columbia’s Civil Resolution Tribunal, Shannon Salter works for the world’s first online tribunal. Although she had no idea she’d take on such a role while in law school, she cites her interest in access to justice issues as leading her to her dream job—and legal tech.
Currently, her team is working to ensure access to justice for those affected by Covid-19, implementing a plan for taking fundamental steps toward reconciliation with Indigenous people of British Columbia and improving their accessibility features for people with disabilities.
Women in leadership roles
These women and many others on this year’s Women of Legal Tech list and lists of years past show that many paths and mindsets lead people to legal tech. But creativity, a willingness to try, and an awareness of people’s needs—whether in business or as individuals—unites them.