October 08, 2020

Robert Furnier

I presently serve as the Director of the Lunsford Academy for Law, Business + Technology and the Director of the Small Business & Nonprofit Clinic at Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University. In addition to those duties, I developed and teach a curriculum of live and online courses relating to the impact of technology on the practice of law and upon the law itself:  Emerging Technologies & the Law, Digital Crimes & Torts, Digital Commerce, Digital Privacy and Security, Law for Digital Entrepreneurs, and Law, Technology & Entrepreneurship. The Chase legal tech curriculum explores ever-emerging technologies—like artificial intelligence, blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality— that are transforming life and the law in the 21st century, connecting billions of people through the internet; improving access to goods and services; and redefining commerce, education, governance, and the workplace. 

I have spent over 35 years as a complex civil litigator in law firms of all sizes, most of that time in firm leadership. Concentrating in high stakes  controversies, I have represented corporate and governmental (local, state, and federal) entities in actions filed  around   the  country  spanning   many  areas  of the  law—including  antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, class actions, environmental, insurance coverage, lender liability, mass torts, medical devices and malpractice, products liability, professional liability, public utility, and sports.

I began my career  in 1983 with the largest  firm in Cincinnati, now an Am Law 150 firm, becoming the first minority partner in a large local law firm. In 1996, I left to co- found Cincinnati’s largest minority-owned, and most diverse, law firm, which merged in 2008 with the nation’s largest minority-owned law firm. After a brief period with another large minority-owned firm, I co-founded the Furnier Muzzo Group, a law firm with offices in Ohio and Illinois.

I have long held a strong interest in two key issues confronting the legal profession— the  importance of diversity  and  inclusion  and  the  impact  of technology  on  the substance and practice  of law. I am committed to bring  about  criminal  and social justice  reform,  particularly  for  underrepresented minorities, through   law, technology, entrepreneurship and research. For the past three years, I have served as Director  of the  Lunsford  Academy for Law, Business  + Technology  at NKU Chase College of Law and  as  adjunct  faculty  at  the  Southern  University  Law Center  to develop technology that addresses criminal and social justice issues. Within the American Bar Association, I have been created  programs to create  opportunities for minorities, women, and individuals  with disabilities  that have focused on technology—Access Success, Legal XX, Women of Legal Tech Summit, and Talk2Ten—and  served on the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, ABA Women Rainmakers, and the ABA Law Practice  Division Diversity and Inclusion Committee.