September 27, 2018

New class of ABA innovation fellows will tackle diverse group of access to justice projects

CHICAGO, Sept. 27, 2018 — One will work with the National Center for State Courts to help research and develop ways to make the nation’s courts more accessible and easily understood for the public. Another will research how to integrate artificial intelligence into open source legal technology.

These are just two of the six Fellows announced today who will work under the umbrella of the American Bar Association Center for Innovation, which was established in September 2016 at the recommendation of the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services. Its mission is to encourage and accelerate innovations that improve the accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of legal services and to transform how the public accesses the law and legal information.

The fellows, who were selected by the center’s Fellows Committee, recently completed a “Legal Innovation” boot camp led by industry experts at ABA headquarters in Chicago. After boot camp, each fellow will spend between three months to one year working with legal service organizations around the country. The second group of fellows includes four NextGen Fellows, who will spend a year on projects, and two Innovation Fellows, whose fellowships run up to four months.

“We’re excited to welcome these fellows to the Center for Innovation,” ABA President Bob Carlson said. “This group is embedded with some of the most forward-thinking organizations in our profession. We’re thankful for first-time sponsor, the National Center for State Courts, and its steadfast dedication to understanding how our courts function. These fellows and their host organizations will help lawyers, from Wall Street to Main Street, understand how they can leverage process-improvement methods and new technologies to better serve clients and help expand access to legal services for all Americans.”

The second class of center fellows are:

  • National Center for State Courts NextGen Fellow Vesna Milojevic is working with NCSC to research how our nation’s courts operate and develop ways they can make legal information and processes more easily understood for the public. She is a graduate from the Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans.

  • Suffolk University Law School NextGen Fellow Nicole Siino is developing software to help public defenders and criminal defense attorneys quickly identify diversion resources for juvenile offenders. 

  • American University Washington College of Law NextGen Fellow Sandeep Purewal is embedded with Georgetown University’s Health Justice Alliance to explore the legal needs of those experiencing a health-related crisis and how best to connect patients in need with legal information and aid.

  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law NextGen Fellow Sarah Silins is working in the Children and Family Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern. She is researching the legal needs of juvenile criminal offenders and exploring how the criminal justice system might be reformed to better facilitate diversion programs and prevent recidivism among young people. 

  • Innovation Fellow Jason Morris is developing an extension to an open-source legal expert system tool, called Docassemble. He hopes the software will be able to predict the outcome of certain matters and explain the basis of its prediction. He is licensed to practice law in Alberta, Canada, and is a LLM student studying Computational Law at the University of Alberta. 

  • Innovation Fellow Maria Campbell is a public interest advocate and litigation attorney currently practicing in Nashville and Clarksville, Tenn. In conjunction with the Military Spouse JD Network, she will be researching how to make it easier for attorney-spouses of military service members to practice law when they have been relocated and how best to connect them with pro bono opportunities in their new communities.

To learn more about the Center for Innovation, its second group of fellows and their projects please click here.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.