Winter 2016 / Spring 2017
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ABA Taps Dean to Lead Next Wave

Dean to chair ABA Center for Innovation’s Governing Council

Staff Writer

The American Bar Association (ABA) has tapped Suffolk Law Dean Andrew Perlman to help lead a new Center for Innovation. The Center is tasked with ushering in innovative approaches to the delivery of legal services, like court-annexed online dispute resolution, increased automated legal document assembly and mobile apps that allow people to more easily access the legal information and services that they need.

The Center is housed at ABA headquarters in Chicago and includes a managing director, governing and advisory councils, and staffers with deep legal technology backgrounds. Perlman serves as the chair of the Governing Council, after having served as the vice chair of the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services.


Dean Perlman said the Center will bring support and attention to existing innovations—like online legal checkup tools that enable self-represented litigants to find the resources they need. Just one of its many projects will be working with the ABA’s Judicial Division to help New York create a court-annexed online dispute resolution pilot project for consumer debt cases.

The Center is establishing a fellowship program “where relatively recent graduates come to the ABA to work on projects they believe will help improve how legal services are delivered or accessed,” Perlman says. There are also plans for a program that trains mid-career lawyers to make use of technological innovations.

The Center’s Governing Council includes leaders from the legal profession and the business community, the judiciary, and legal education, as well as young lawyers, legal service innovators, and thought leaders from other industries.

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