One of the core values of the American Bar Association is the commitment to diversity that the legal technology department seeks to strengthen. From tech founders and CEOs to small business owners, various legal professionals in every field have made a huge impact on law and technology. In keeping with the spirit of progress, the Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) is proud to present its Diversity Spotlight Series. Our goal is to celebrate, promote and encourage BIPOC, LGBTQ and people with disabilities in the field of legal tech.
Nicole Morris, director of TI: GER and professor in practice
How would you describe your job and what do you love most about it?
I teach law students how to think like entrepreneurs. This is my elevator talk about my role as director of the TI: GER program, which focuses on technological innovations. The goal: to turn promising research into economically viable products. The TI: GER® program is the first US law school program to integrate business, technology, and entrepreneurship into an experiential course for Young Women students. It is an innovative partnership between Emory Law and Georgia Tech that brings together doctoral students in the fields of law, business, science, and technology. The multidisciplinary focus of the program is what I really love about my job. As someone who practiced law for twelve years prior to joining Emory Law, I recognized the value of the TI: GER program in legal education. This unique program introduces students to the legal and business aspects of real technology and innovation. The focus on the legal, business, technical, and problem-solving skills of the innovation process makes this an incredible experiential learning opportunity for the Emory law students.
What attracted you and how did you get into your current role?
I was an associate professor at Emory Law and I rediscovered my love of teaching. Note: I was a teaching assistant in the University of Michigan Graduate School. I was very fortunate that the role became available due to a faculty retirement so the timing worked perfectly!
How has mentoring played a role in your personal and professional area?
Mentors have been invaluable to me throughout my career. I was fortunate to have experienced mentors who guide me and allow me to be my authentic self.
What has been the most valuable advice to you and the least useful?
The most valuable advice came from the words of Maya Angelou: “Don’t let anyone raise you. You were raised. “I think, like so many people, I was influenced by what others did and achieved in their careers, and I started chasing things that were outside of my comfort zone. I refer to these words when I am in my professional.” or private life feeling the pressure to “be like others.” These words allow me to make the adjustments or adjustments necessary to make things make sense to Nicole.
Is there anything you do in your personal life and in your community (outside of the office and work) that you believe will in some way contribute to your professional success?
Participating in the PTA and / or volunteering in the classroom in my son’s academic life allowed me to meet his peers, but more importantly, I learned to appreciate the challenges of K-12 training. I think that makes me more empathetic towards my students.
How do you think employers, organizations and communities can increase diversity and support diverse professionals, especially in the legal technology world?
All organizations take a closer look at their talents and assess where they are in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. Employers have devoted a lot of resources to diversity in hiring and promotion. Most have room for improvement, but some are employers who do better than others. With employers continuing to focus on racial diversity in the workplace, the answer is not to add more diversity education programs. There should be more emphasis on retention of diverse talent, with emphasis on supporting career advancement and creating a more inclusive environment. My comments apply to both legal tech employers and traditional law firm employers.