It’s too easy for attorneys to be aware that something isn’t perfect in their practices and accept the situation instead of pushing back. So says longtime legal innovator Nicole Bradick.
“What it’s all about is identifying something not working as well as it should be and thinking of possible solutions,” says Bradick, who in January launched a legal technology company that aims to do just that: “Ask why is this happening, and are there any changes we can make to fix the problem?”
Theory and Principle concentrates on developing legal software and apps for law and justice clients. But the new Portland, Maine-based company isn’t her first step in the legal innovation world. In 2011, Bradick launched Custom Counsel, a company that connected independent lawyers on a contract basis with law firms or corporate legal departments needing temporary help.
At the time, Bradick was a part-time civil litigator with two young children and had noticed other lawyer-moms dropping out of law. Custom Counsel was her way of keeping them in the legal industry, working fewer hours for better work-life balance while solving staffing problems for firms and corporate in-house legal departments. Custom Counsel earned Bradick the honor of being a 2012 ABA Journal Legal Rebel.
In 2015, CuroLegal, an innovation and law practice management consulting company, bought Custom Counsel and brought Bradick on board as a partner and chief strategy officer. Bradick then began to supervise a team of app designers and developers who were creating legal technology. Examples include ABA Blueprint, Legal Checkup for Veterans and Hate Crime Help.
Bradick and her legal tech team turned a new page with Theory and Principle. The firm works with a broad range of clients, including law firms that need apps for lead generation and foundations wanting to solve access-to-justice problems.
For example, Theory and Principle is creating an app to help low-income tenants in Chicago navigate landlord-tenant matters such as evictions and to help pro bono lawyers better serve these tenants by providing information and automated document tools.
Bradick says technology alone won’t solve the nation’s access-to-justice problem—but it can help. “There are inroads we can make using technology to get people better information, more information, help them self-advocate in a more effective manner, and get them some legal services they need,” she says.
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