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Legal Industry News Update: Women’s History and Achievement, Legal Industry Innovation and Professional Moves

We’re back with another edition of our latest legal and consulting industry news column, focusing on women’s history and achievement in the legal industry, coronavirus legal innovations and professional moves. Read on for all the latest updates:

Legal Industry Professional Moves

Legal operations veteran Bob Taylor joined Deloitte Legal Business Services team as a managing director based in Boston. Taylor will focus on business of law and legal department transformation at Deloitte Tax.

Mr.Taylor has 25 years of experience as senior corporate counsel and manager at Liberty Mutual  in the company’s legal operations function.

Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), joined Manatt, Phelps & Phillips as an advisor in Washington, D.C. Dr. Kirch was the president and CEO of AAMC from 2006 to 2019 and prior to his tenure at the AAMC, Dr. Kirch served as dean, university senior vice president and academic health system leader of two medical institutions: the Medical College of Georgia and the Pennsylvania State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. At Manett, Dr. Kirch will work with the firm to enhance its healthcare policy and legal practice with the nation’s leading academic health care institutions.

“Innovation and transformation are our guiding principles as we advise our clients and help them navigate today’s new economy,” said Donna L. Wilson, Manatt’s CEO and Managing Partner. “Darrell’s impressive background and commitment to being an agent of change embody this ethos, making him an ideal fit to our integrated legal and consulting platform.”

Carlos M. Velazquez was named Senior Counsel at  Ditchik & Ditchik, PLLC. Mr. Velazquez brings 50 years of New York real estate tax litigation experience, advising NYC real estate developers, landlords and hoteliers on the particular ecosystem of New York real estate and will serve in a leadership capacity at the firm alongside Managing Partner Joel Ditchik and Partner Steven Tishco.

“Ditchik & Ditchik’s approach to this niche field of law is unmatched. I am delighted to join its established group of pioneering tax certiorari lawyers,” said Mr. Velazquez. “I look forward to applying my experience and skills to serve the firm’s impressive client base.”

Managing Partner, Joel Ditchik, expressed confidence in the contribution Mr. Velazquez will make to the firm, saying that  “Carlos will not only offer astute leadership to our attorneys, but will continue to grow our firm’s capabilities across the full range of property tax law services to our loyal clientele.”

Legal Industry Innovation

Documate, a San Francisco-based legal software provider, received the 2021 Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services  (ABA). Documate increases access to legal services for those of modest means through its platform that allows attorneys to easily automate documents, principally through its “no-code” platform that allows attorneys to create tools to expand their service offerings without the need to hire a software developer. Documate software is used by courts, legal aid organizations as well as private attorneys.

Another initiative recognized by the  ABA with a Louis M. Brown Select Award includes COVID H.E.L.P. Illinois, a pandemic-inspired free to use tool designed to help anyone in Illinois with legal problems related to the pandemic which was created by a group of Illinois legal aid programs, including CARPLS Legal Aid, Illinois Legal Aid Online, Legal Aid Chicago, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, Prairie State Legal Services, Westside Justice Center, and others and was funded through a grant from the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois.

The awards are scheduled to be presented at the ABA Annual Meeting August 4 – 10, 2021.

Thomson Reuters is introducing improvements to HighQ, 3E and Marketplace. The new version of Thomson Reuters HighQ has over 60 new features for enhanced workflow collaboration.  HighQ and 3E help corporate and government legal departments, as well as law firms, deliver customer-driven enhancements and customizations, improving project management, contract management and managing critical files with more flexibility.

“Over the past year, our customers have relied on HighQ to improve their productivity and serve their clients at the highest level, all at a time of unparalleled disruption,” said Chris Kitchener, vice president, Product Management for Thomson Reuters HighQ. “Version 5.5 brings new features and tools to multiple use cases, with significant enhancements to the legal project management and contract lifecycle management capabilities. Additionally, much of the work done to this point has laid a strong foundation for what is yet to come for HighQ this year, anchored by significant upgrades and key product integrations.”

Thomson Reuters Marketplace allows users to find and test solutions to extend the functionality of existing products for legal and tax professionals. Marketplace offers over 120 add-on enhancements and integrations across 18 categories ranging from contract / document management and automation and CRM / business development tools to timekeeping and billing integrations.

“We anticipate further cloud adoption and acceleration in the digitization of how legal work gets done,” Fischer said. “Through our content-driven technology, we are continuing to innovate and deliver products and new features, focusing on customer input to really move the dial on connectedness and productivity, so legal professionals can make the most of their new skills and implement technologies that create a competitive advantage.”

The American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR) has developed an integrated smart videoconferencing technology platform to provide a seamless virtual arbitration experience which is helpful with current social distancing rules and travel restrictions.

The camera system is a hands-free system, where up to seven cameras can be positioned around the room.  The cameras are activated by the voice of the speaker.  The recording capabilities are built-in, so proceedings are easily archived.  All participants, whether present or are completely remote, can easily engage.

Michael A. Marra, the VP of AAA ICDR’s Construction Division said that "COVID19 has changed everything, but no matter how long social distancing and other pandemic rules remain in effect, or what the post-pandemic reality looks like, the AAA-ICDR is positioned to ensure people receive uninterrupted ADR services even if not everyone involved can be in the same room or venue."

Female Attorneys Recognized &  Women Lawyers' Achievement

Stradley Ronon Associate Aliza S. Dominey was selected for the 100 Women in Finance’s Washington D.C. Education Committee where she plans philanthropy, peer engagement and educational events to help progress the careers of women in the financial services industry.

At Stradley Ronon, Ms. Dominey counsels investment companies and private funds on regulatory, compliance and transactional issues, in addition to reviewing registration statements, proxy solicitation materials and researching various securities and corporate law issues; and preparing board materials.

100 Women in Finance has nearly 20,000 registered members and works to strengthen the global finance industry by empowering women to achieve their professional potential at each career stage.

Eve Howard, Global Head of Capital Markets at Hogan Lovells, was selected as a member of the DirectWomen Board Institute class 2020-2021.  General Counsel of Fortune 500 companies, senior partners of law firms, and lawyers from private equity and government are selected after a thorough selection process, and attend the DirectWomen Board Institute, taught by CEOs, C-suite executives, and directors of public companies.

Since its inception, more than 215 women have participated in the Board Institute, and more than a third of the Board Institute’s alumnae have been elected to serve as directors of major companies, including Tesla, Inc., Visa Inc., The TJX Companies, Inc., Valero Energy Corporation, Party City Holdco Inc., Intercontinental Exchange, Inc., and many others.

Ms. Howard, a partner at Hogan Lovell’s Washington D.C office, and Global Head of the firm's Capital Markets practice has more than 30 years of experience structuring and negotiating complex corporate transactions and serving as a trusted advisor to public company clients. Howard has also served on Hogan Lovells’ International Management Committee.

Per Howard:

“I am honored to be selected to participate in DirectWomen Board Institute’s prestigious program. DirectWomen aims to increase the representation of women lawyers on corporate boards and serves as a great opportunity for those with a wide range of business knowledge and experience in their industries to bring that expertise to the boardroom.”

The Board Institute will be held in New York in October 2021.

Jacquelyn E. Stone, a partner with decades of experience advising clients on government relations, regulatory and immigration matters at McGuireWoods, won the Phoebe P. Hall Mentorship Award from the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association (MRWBA).

Ms. Stone is based in Richmond, VA and has worked as a mentor with several organizations, focusing on helping the next generation succeed in the legal industry, including Just the Beginning—A pipeline organization to create opportunities for underrepresented groups to pursue legal career and Partnership for the Future, a college prep and workforce development program for Richmond area high school students. 

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award from the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association,” said Stone. “It’s important for me to be a mentor, to share my experiences and help others on their path to personal and professional success.”

Ms. Stone was the first African-American woman to be named a partner at a major Virginia law firm, and she was also is the first African American to serve on McGuireWoods’ Board of Partners. At McGuireWoods, she created the Diversity & Inclusion Committee in 2006 and served as its chair until 2017.

Copyright ©2021 National Law Forum, LLCNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 96

About this Author

Rachel Popa National Law Review Web Content Specialist
Web Content Specialist

Rachel Popa is a Web Content Specialist for the National Law Review. Prior to joining the NLR, Rachel was a reporter for Becker's Healthcare in Chicago, where she covered the ambulatory surgery beat and authored custom content for the publication's healthcare clients. In addition to her time at Becker's, Rachel served as a Contributing Editor for Chicago Woman magazine, heading up the magazine's dining and entertainment content, as well as newsletter creation. 

She graduated with a B.A. in journalism and English from Roosevelt University in Chicago.  Outside of work, Rachel enjoys...

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Hanna Taylor Web Content Specialist National Law Review Legal News
Web Content Specialist

Hanna Taylor is a Web Content Specialist and Account Manager for the National Law Review. She is also responsible for building the subscriber and email database for newsletters. Hanna is an experienced paralegal who enjoys all aspects of the legal field; her main focus these days has been in writing legal analysis articles and law firm news roundups. In her spare time, Hanna enjoys being active, hanging out with her dogs and boyfriend, and collecting houseplants.