Episode Notes

Attorneys have a unique opportunity to use their skills for the good of others. And Sateesh Nori, Executive Director of JustFix, has worked his entire career doing just that. Sateesh spent 20 years with New York City’s Legal Aid societies, defending the tenants’ rights of everyday people in housing court. He pivoted from practicing law on the front lines to join JustFix, a housing justice technology non-profit company. Now, he’s helping to bridge the gap of access to housing justice and help tenants exercise their rights to a livable home through technology.

 

Links from the episode: 

UpSolve Case

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  • 7:26 . From attorney to non-profit tech company.
  • 19:05. Scaling access to justice.
  • 27:11. Leveraging legals skills for good.

Transcript

Announcer:

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts

 

Stephanie Everett (00:35):

Hi, I’m Stephanie Everett.

 

Jennifer Whigham (00:36):

And I’m Jennifer Whigham. And this is episode 423 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Zack interviews Sateesh Nori, the executive director of JustFix. This is a nonprofit that builds free tools for tenants to exercise their rights to a livable home.

 

Stephanie Everett (00:51):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Berkshire Receptionists, and Lawyerist Lab. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support, so stay tuned cuz we’re going to tell you more about them later on.

 

Jennifer Whigham (01:03):

So Stephanie, I was just on the JustFix website, which is Sateesh’s website, who we’ll be talking to in this episode. And I love it because he obviously had this great idea to help people, made it simple and just put it out there and I think it’s so helpful.

 

Stephanie Everett (01:17):

Yeah, we met Sateesh at the American Legal Tech Awards this year. He was one of the award winners, and I love that, what he’s doing. So if you do go to his site, it has things like Start my letter to request repairs for your apartment. Right? Yeah. It’s just simple and easy and a client could just click on there and be like, yes, I wanna start my letter. How do I do that? And they click a button and go,

 

Jennifer Whigham (01:38):

Yeah, I love that. And to me having that idea, I feel like a lot of our Lawyerist that we talk to have these ideas rumbling around in their head, but they feel like, oh, I can’t execute it because it’s going to be too complicated or Now isn’t the right time or X, Y, and Z, but why not just do it now?

 

Stephanie Everett (01:55):

Yeah. A lot of people I talk to, they know as well as we know that the old way is sort of broken. The old model is broken and they have these come to me on our calls and they have these ideas that say, I have this thought, could I do it this way? Or could I serve people this way? Or could I just have one part of my practice solve this problem? And I think, I mean, we’re scared, right? Change is hard and it’s like, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what that would look like. And my response is always like, yes, yes, we can make that happen. Yes, you can make that happen. And maybe my message for everyone listening today is just that whatever that idea is, whatever that thing that sounds crazy, maybe a little bit out there, that is a good workable idea. And that could be just an amazing business solution. So let’s go for it. It’s a new year. Yeah. I don’t know. I think now’s a good time to get started.

 

Jennifer Whigham (02:48):

And I know a lot of people sometimes don’t know where to start or they find it difficult to know where to reach out for help. And what would you suggest for people who are having those thoughts when they hear you talk?

 

Stephanie Everett (02:59):

Well, gee, I’d say Call me <laugh>. No, it’s really what I love doing. I love thinking through a new business model. What would you need to support that idea? What kind of tools would you need? How would you price it? How would you scope it? How would you market it? I mean, that is the very work we do inside of Lab. It’s not the only work we do, but certainly we’ve had lots of people come to Lab and they have these ideas, I wanna do this thing and do it differently. And we help them get started and help them put that business plan in place and then implement it. And I think it’s super fun. So I’m all for it. That’s what you’re thinking about then?

 

Jennifer Whigham (03:38):

Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s work together and get started. Yeah, come work with us. Check the show notes if you wanna see how to work with us. And now let’s have Zack’s conversation with Sateesh.

 

Sateesh Nori (03:51):

Hi, I’m Sateesh Nori, I gave up Practicing Law to run a housing justice technology nonprofit.

 

Zack Glaser (04:01):

Sateesh, I appreciate you being with us. I think that first part of that sentence really catches people. “I gave up practicing law”. How many of us are thinking about doing that? But you run a housing nonprofit called JustFix and that’s out of New York City or New York kind of city metropolitan area. Yeah, New York City,

 

Sateesh Nori (04:25):

New York City’s a very unique place with respect to housing law and housing stock. Anyone who’s been in New York knows it’s a lot of tall buildings with a lot of apartments and most people rent their apartments. So it’s a really ample field for us to do some good work to help everyday tenants who are fighting against big corporate landlords who really have a lot of resources.

 

Zack Glaser (04:53):

I think it’s important to note though, that before you were working for JustFix, before you were the executive director at JustFix, you were actually working in the courtrooms dealing with in this sort of area. You were part of the Legal Aid Society in New York, is that right? Yeah,

 

Sateesh Nori (05:10):

That’s right. Outta law school. I became a tenant defense attorney at Legal Aid in New York City. And legal aid tenant attorneys represent hundreds of people every year, people who are facing eviction for many reasons, but typically it’s about rent. Rent is very expensive, it keeps going up and people’s incomes tend to stay the same, especially if they’re on public assistance or social security disability or some other fixed income. So being a tenant lawyer in New York City and many places is just high volume work. You’re in court every day on the fly, taking on cases, running into court, writing papers in your cubicle, in the courthouse office, printing ’em out full of typos, but you just gotta get ’em in. So I did that for 20 years. And so it’s a very different role from what I have now.

 

Zack Glaser (06:10):

Right. Well that to me, my father was a public defender and I think that kind of rings the same for me, where you’re looking at efficiency and getting the best result that you can out of what we’re doing here instead of getting the absolute correct justice out of this thing. But you’re really helping a lot of people, even if it’s by bits and whatnot, but really helping a lot of people. And so my big question, when I saw your previous experience and then I saw that you were the executive director of JustFix is like you said, you’re helping hundreds of people, frankly, probably hundreds of people a day in dealing with that. How do you go from that, from being on the front line of that type of thing? You’re sitting there and you are the person, you’re literally keeping somebody from getting thrown out of their house that they’ve been in for 20 years because you’re able to say, this landlord did not bring enough proof. Let’s say that they were going to move into this apartment or something like that. How do you go from that to a nonprofit tech company in the same area?

 

Sateesh Nori (07:26):

That’s a great question, and a lot of people ask me that. One of the things I heard along the way my career, I heard this old lawyer give a talk and he said, I’ve been a lawyer for 35 years and I’ve never lost a case. And everybody in the room was like, whoa, wow, that’s amazing. And he said, I’ve come in second many times. So that’s how I felt about being a tenant defense lawyer is there’s a lot of wins, but there’s a lot of losses too. And in the beginning it’s really self-sustaining to have these wins, to feel like you’ve done something positive that you’ve avoided or helped someone avoid a really negative consequence for them and their whole family, something that can impact them for many years. But as you do it more and more, you realize there’s a lot of losses too.

 

(08:17):

There’s a lot of heartache, there’s a lot of stories where if only I had done this, if only I had done that. If only I had met this person a little bit earlier, if only I’d found that piece of evidence where I had a different judge. And those things really add up. And it’s really tough to be able to compartmentalize the work and then take the wins and move on from the losses. We’re human beings, but I think everyone has their limit when you’re doing litigation, when you’re doing high volume work. And for me, I guess it was 20 years and it coincided with the pandemic, things got a lot harder for many of us. And people in my field were facing very difficult work, not being able to meet with our clients, trying to find our clients who didn’t have access to technology and were facing really negative consequences or trying to connect our clients to pandemic or resources so they could avoid bad things from happening.

 

(09:16):

And then just dealing with the court system in which they reopened too early. Their technology was really faulty in the beginning. It was very, very frustrating. And it also for me raised the question, do I want to keep doing this for another 20 years or is this my last chance to try something new and look around and see what’s happening in the world? And especially in the legal space, there’s a lot of interesting things happening. Technology is playing a huge role in the way we practice law. I don’t think that’s going away. So I wanted to be a part of that conversation. But also I saw two things that were wrong with the way that civil legal justice is delivered in New York City and probably many other places. One is the systems were broken. The way that people access justice is very limited and very difficult to do.

 

(10:12):

And the second is there’s a huge imbalance in information that people have. Some people who have money, who have resources can get all the information and hire the best lawyers and really navigate these systems that are flawed very easily. But most people will never have that accurate information. They don’t even know where to look for it. They don’t even know what to look for. They don’t even recognize potentially that they have a legal problem, just know they have a problem. And so I thought about how these two things could be resolved in some way. And the answer to me was technology. Technology can solve a lot of the things that are really straightforward about the court system, but are really complicated for the average person filling out forms like waiting in line, paying fees, following rules, making sure your square peg fits in the square hole.

 

(11:04):

That’s a lot of what core process is. And technology can make that really simple for people. So you get to the real heart of the issues. And then data, I mean information is really just data. And if we can make it really easy for people to view data, to access data, to understand this data about our world, about our society, about our system in particular, about the way housing works in New York City, we could go a long way. And so that’s exactly what JustFixed does. It tries to make the systems more transparent and easier to navigate and it makes the data just available to everyone for free. So you can see who your landlord is, you can understand their scale, their history, how they treated other tenants, potentially connect with other people who have similar issues and really get to the bottom of the issues that you’re dealing with

 

Zack Glaser (11:56):

That that’s a fascinating kind of look at how to use technology in this way because it seems like there’s kind of two fronts. One front is how do we help people navigate this system by literally giving them the tools and maybe even the machine to do that. I’ve heard you say, using photos of a leaky pipe to be able to then present pre evidence before we go to court to say, Hey landlord, you gotta fix this thing. Or there will be consequences or there’s potential for consequences. Or as we like to say, we will use all the tools available according to the law. But then there’s the other side of educating the public at large by taking this data that you are creating in these front facing systems and being able to say, here is what this landscape of landlord tenant law in New York City specifically looks like. And I hadn’t really thought about that as being a byproduct of creating these systems for people to help people.

 

Sateesh Nori (13:10):

It’s something that we came across accidentally. I JustFix, I’m not a founder of JustFix. And the founders came up with the idea of building a tool to help everyday people complain about their housing conditions. And they happened to be three young people who moved to New York City who lived in a bad apartment with a bad landlord and they thought, we can do something about this. We have skills that we can use to build something for people. And then one of the founders as a side project figured out that he could use open data to paint a picture of what’s really happening. Most people don’t really see the real story behind the real estate systems in New York or anywhere really. You just see the name on your lease, you don’t know who that really is. If it’s a company you don’t know who’s part of that company, you don’t know where else they operate, how they treat other people who rent from them and so on.

 

(14:07):

So making that transparent is a huge, it’s a public education campaign. It’s also leveling B playing field. It’s giving people the real information about who the players are and what their motives are. And that can be really powerful for people. Whether you’re searching for a new apartment, whether you live in an apartment and you wanna know how you can fight back if you’re not getting what you’re entitled to or whether you’re in an elected official or someone who works in a hospital emergency room and he’s seeing the same rates of asthma. You’re seeing kids come in with asthma every day and they’re like, where do these kids live? Let’s look into this and let’s see what the triggers are and maybe we can change it. We can solve this problematics route. So that’s our hope is to both make this more transparent to level of playing field, but also to tie some of these public health connections to this data and to say, this can really be life or death for people.

 

(15:04):

If you choose an apartment without knowing what’s really going on there, what the history is, it could really put your life at risk in case there was a fire in the Bronx a couple years ago and 17 people died because of a space heater and because the fire doors didn’t properly close and the fire spread quickly. And that should never happen. And there should be oversight of that. There should be transparency into how these buildings are maintained and whether they’re maintained. And so these things can literally be life or death issues for people. And we wanna really get to the root of that.

 

Zack Glaser (15:41):

Sateesh, we’re going to take a break real quick and hear from our sponsors and when we come back we’ll talk more about JustFix with Sateesh Nori.

 

Zack Glaser:

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Zack Glaser (17:51):

And we’re back with Sateesh Nori, the executive director of JustFix. And we’re talking about how technology really, and I think we can, we’re talking broader than this, but how technology can be used to literally and specifically affect access to justice. I mean, I think that phrase gets bandied about a lot and I think it’s extremely broad, but with JustFix, we’re literally talking about access to information which can help people create their own justice, kind of get in front of the system. And that kinda brings me back to the first question of why leave? What I would consider the front lines and go into this where you’re helping hundreds of people a day or hundreds of people a week or many, many, many people, and you can see their faces to come into this, but it broadens who you’re able to help instead of you were still on a one to many, but it was still one-to-one, you and this one person, you just did it really efficiently, but now it looks like you can kind of affect change in a one to many standpoint with this technology. Is that what you’re seeing?

 

Sateesh Nori (19:05):

Yeah, that’s exactly right. You hit on a lot of important points there. And I’ll take the last one first, which is that the ability to scale something like this, one lawyer in one courthouse can only see so many people. Even if you have a team of lawyers like I did, we can only take so many cases. There’s only so many hours in the day. They’re real limitations to that. And each one of those cases is important for sure. But if you can create a better pathway to the courthouse, you might be able to help many, many more people who can then access some of those lawyers. And the other side of it is if you can make the work of those lawyers more efficient too, by letting them focus on the problems that really need lawyers and taking off their plates, a lot of the simple stuff that can be automated, filling out forms, A lot of what we did in my practice was write the same legal papers over and over again.

 

(20:03):

And even if we had templates on Word, it’s still work. It’s still time consuming. And to spend your legal degree, just filling out forms I think is a waste. And if can technology can do that. The best example is TurboTax, right? How many of us use TurboTax to file our taxes? And it’s a series of easy to understand forms and it demystified a very complicated and scary procedure. Court is way easier than filing your taxes. The typical court form is a couple of pages and it’s very straightforward and yet people are unable to do it. Most courts don’t have any technology to allow people to do it easily. You can’t usually do it from home, you can’t do it on your phone for sure. In most places. Usually have to go down and wait in line. It’s like going to the D M V every week <laugh>. That’s what it’s like being a lid again. One of the things that I learned from doing this work is that I tell people I never want to be sued and I never want to sue anybody personally, even though I do this for a living. The thought of going through that myself is terrifying. And the thought of having to sue somebody over anything is terrifying for me. And I’m a lawyer,

 

Zack Glaser (21:25):

You know what to expect. Yeah,

 

Sateesh Nori (21:27):

Yeah. And it’s still horrible. So one of the things you mentioned is upstreaming, some of this help keeping people out of court, getting people help to basic problems before they get to the courthouse. Cuz no one wants to go to court. It’s horrible. No, it’s a very scary, confusing, demeaning experience. So that’s one of the other things that JustFix is striving to do is to create tools that help people upstream from the court before they get into that process. You don’t wanna be facing eviction before you can get help for not having heat, right? That’s a scary proposition. Hopefully you can address your needs in a place that isn’t all about your adversary’s needs, which is really what court can be like for a lot of low income people. They’re taken to court, they don’t typically choose to go to court. And even if they get to raise their issues, it’s still not their choice to be there. So it’s very demeaning, dehumanizing in a lot of ways.

 

Zack Glaser (22:27):

Yeah, it’s not on their time. I think it’s important to note in my practice I actually represented landlords and so I was on the other side of this, but I see in this specific area at least, and they’re sure attorneys of all stripes can find this in their area, but at least in this specific area, this is from both perspectives, this is absolutely correct of if we can ease some of the burden of the court by dealing with some of these issues prior to getting to court. Because generally speaking, I think landlords don’t want to take tenants to court. What they want ideally is to get paid their rent and then move on. And I think they want to do that in the least expensive way they possibly can. Sure. And I think that lends to some bad practices at times. But if we can take care of these things before we get to court, and I went to court many times and people came to agreements, well, we’ve still wasted people’s time.

 

(23:28):

So wasted everybody’s time, which at the end of the day for everybody is still money. It’s opportunity cost is something else they could have been doing. And so being able to upstream these things, but I think when people think about going upstream, the obvious question, and I’m always good for asking the obvious question, <laugh>, the obvious question is unauthorized practice of law. I think people get scared by that idea even before the start. They think, oh, I could do X, I could help people avoid court, but when will I be practicing law? When will I be doing the unauthorized practice? When do these people become my clients and things like that. How does JustFix? And I know they do get beyond this, how does JustFix address this in their own kind of idea and doing their job?

 

Sateesh Nori (24:22):

Yeah, it’s a great question. And the unauthorized practice of law issue has really exploded in New York state because of this UpSolove case. Mm-hmm. UpSolve is a bankruptcy tool that anyone can advise others to use or use themselves. And they brought a case on behalf of a preacher who was using UPS solved to help people in this congregation file for bankruptcy as they needed and really butted up against the unauthorized practice of law and had to sue to challenge the state law and one, and it’s being appealed. And so the question I think is one of the gatekeeping function of Lawyerist. Like why are we these gatekeepers for this critical information? The law is depending on your preferred metaphor, it’s either like a language or it, it’s a skill like auto repair and you know, should be able to fix your own car. You should be able to learn the language for yourself and navigate your own way and maybe you won’t be perfect at it.

 

(25:29):

And that’s where these third parties can really help you, like the software and these non-legal groups that can really help guide you. So it really begs the question of who made lawyers gatekeepers to this critical information? And if they are gatekeepers, will we ever have enough lawyers to really deliver the quality of services that we need in New York City? Maybe there’s a lot of lawyers here, there are a lot of resources. But let’s say you go to rural Louisiana where there’s like one lawyer for 20,000 people, and I’m probably getting that wrong, but it’s something like

 

Zack Glaser (26:07):

That. Probably too few people. It’s probably one lawyer for a lawyer maybe. I lived in rural South Dakota for two years. Okay, I’m sorry.

 

Sateesh Nori (26:15):

So if you’re looking at odds like that, how long can you sit and wait for a lawyer to show up to help you if there’s an easier way to get that information so you can help yourself. And if you start with really simple problems, what’s the real harm if people got help with very straightforward problems that can be navigated easily. And so at JustFix, we don’t practice law, we don’t offer legal advice. And if you go to our website, it’s very clear upfront about it that you should probably talk to a lawyer if you have any questions about this stuff. But we try to provide very clear information about how to navigate your way through. And in terms of the data, we don’t pass judgment on what the data means. If you look up a landlord, we’re not going to say this landlord is a C minus. Right. It speaks for itself. It’s open data, it’s public information.

 

Zack Glaser (27:10):

It’s the beauty of data.

 

Sateesh Nori (27:11):

Exactly. Yeah. Numbers don’t lie. So that’s how we approach the data side of it. But I happen to be a lawyer and so sometimes it is challenging for me to not wanna give that legal advice, to not wanna just go into court and be like, I’m here, let’s just do this. Let’s cut to the chase. But as an organization, we’re not a legal firm, we’re not legal services. And so we have to leverage whatever resources we have. So one example is we try to work with pro bono lawyers who might want to represent someone who’s used JustFix. And that way we can provide that full circle of services because a lot of landlords will not respond to a letter that we might send on behalf of a tenant. They’ll be like, I don’t care. And so we might need to follow up with either a lawyer or the threat of a lawyer and really make something happen. And so that’s the fine line that we try to walk and it, it’s very difficult, especially as a lawyer to walk that line when it’s like you can do more, but that’s not your role and that’s not the role of the organization.

 

Zack Glaser (28:20):

I like the idea of what’s the real harm. You look at one of the up solve cases the bankruptcy cases, and in the case, I cannot give you the site but there’s really two of them. So somebody can find it and I may try to put it in the show notes, but I’m not making any promises. But in this case they’re saying nobody filed inappropriately, nobody did anything incorrectly inside the bankruptcy we’re just saying this entity is practicing law and they can’t do that. And I think that’s fascinating because that’s the thing that is truly gatekeeping because there was no real harm.

 

Sateesh Nori (29:07):

Exactly.

 

Zack Glaser (29:08):

And I think that’s fascinating.

 

Sateesh Nori (29:10):

The potential harm even is hard to quantify. Are there going to be these third party actors who take people’s money and do legal services for them and they’re lawyers? Like how much money is in a business model like that? What is really the risk of that type of thing happening? Maybe I’m wrong, maybe that will happen. Maybe it’ll be money lending store, like money stores or whatever.

 

Zack Glaser (29:36):

I argue that it is happening and I think we all know of an entity of some sort that is doing this. And when I was in law school, I worked for the local law library that was inside the courthouse and there was a fellow there who, I don’t know that he had an undergraduate degree, certainly didn’t have a law degree, but was basically kind of a shade tree attorney. He was providing a service to people that didn’t have the ability to get the service any other way. And so in my mind, this is going to happen. That void is going to be filled and even if it’s filled by something from outside of the country, we live in a world that is globally interconnected now. And if you are looking for resources in let’s say New York City on landlord tenant law, it doesn’t have to come from somebody who lives in New York and doesn’t have to come from somebody who the powers the bee have power over and can stop them from doing these things

 

Sateesh Nori (30:42):

Mean people get legal advice on TikTok. Oh yeah. And you don’t know who these people

 

Zack Glaser (30:48):

Are. Oh yeah. People get legal advice everywhere. And I think it is just in my own opinion, I think it is kind of irresponsible of us to put our heads under the sand and say, well they can’t do that because we said they can’t do that. They’re obviously not doing that because we said they can’t do that. That’s incorrect. But I want to could talk to you about that. We could do three episodes <laugh> on that. Sure. But I’m also fascinated with this idea of JustFix as kind of an alternative business for lawyers. I don’t wanna say alternative business structure because that has kind of a defined meaning right now. And that’s not what we’re talking about in that area. But an alternative way for lawyers to provide their knowledge to people. And I assume you have a house, I assume you make some sort of money that at least allows you to live. And so people can make a living providing their knowledge in an alternative style. And I think this is kind of fascinating to think about with JustFix.

 

Sateesh Nori (31:54):

Yeah, absolutely. And coming out of the pandemic, there are more opportunities than ever before to think about leveraging technology and legal skills into new business models. There are infinite possibilities of ways in which lawyers can do non-traditional things. Startup companies provide services, whatever it might be, and just think outside the box, reach more people, take on maybe a new practice area that you probably couldn’t do before. The power of technology is almost infinite. To be able to connect with people in other languages, to be able to see clients who maybe are outside of your traditional geographic area and limitations to even hire people or work for people who are across the world, across the country. There are opportunities like that now that we didn’t have just three years ago, <laugh> at JustFix. We have an employee who lives in Seattle who’s a software engineer that would’ve been impossible to even conceive of four years ago or three years ago.

 

(33:08):

But now it’s normal. And so for lawyers and for law students especially, I think differently now, think bigger, think about what really motivates you. The traditional legal jobs I think are always going to be there. But these opportunities, the chance to get in on the ground floor and say, I’m interested in immigration, let’s say, and I’m going to start an online immigration database or a referral network. It’s exciting. There’s no time right now. It kind of feels like the beginning of that internet boom. When I graduated from law school, this person I studied evidence with became the general counsel of Twitter and was just fired by Elon Musk. So those are the opportunities I turned down when I graduated. And so today I would say don’t turn down these opportunities. There are infinite possibilities for lawyers now and unauthorized practice of law. There’s a scary limitation on some of this stuff. What are we going to be doing with some of these models and how are they going to work in various jurisdictions?

 

Zack Glaser (34:17):

But if we can’t figure out as Lawyerist where the line of U P L is, what are we doing? And I think of that when I think of people saying, well, I’m worried about U P L. Okay, well you’re a lawyer. Yeah, <laugh>, go look up the law. Go figure it out. This is what you do is figure this stuff out and you advise other people on how to stay on the appropriate side of regulations and whatnot in your own practice. And so go figure it out. But I think this leads me to the idea that using technology, and we always get to, is technology going to eat the legal profession? Is it going to cannibalize the legal profession? As I’m able to take on more cases, we don’t need more lawyers, but this is an idea that we’re actually broadening what we as lawyers trained legal minds can do. And I think if we think of it that way, as trained legal minds as opposed to lawyers with a license who cross the bar and stand in front of a judge, there are, like you said, in infinite possibilities here.

 

Sateesh Nori (35:26):

And also another way to look at it is we are really trimming away the parts of the legal profession that no one wants to do anyway. <laugh>, who wants to do discovery and document review, nobody ever wanted to do that. And nobody wants to do it today and nobody will wanna do it tomorrow. And maybe those jobs go away and they become automated or outsourced and that’s already happening. But maybe there are too many lawyers. Maybe that’s another part of this whole thing maybe.

 

(35:55):

But the lawyers that are left at the end of all this, and obviously there will be new jobs that we can’t even conceive of at this point. Those lawyers will probably be doing more interesting work. They’ll actually be doing the legal work that they should be doing the interesting stuff, the stuff that has to be litigated, the stuff about which there are no existing opinions, the fringe areas that are really more fascinating to most lawyers anyway, but they don’t get to spend their time doing it because of all the other nonsense that they have to do all day long.

 

Zack Glaser (36:28):

Well, so that, that’s exciting to me from two perspectives. One is if you really like the idea of using technology to advance some things and to balance out this information void, then great, you can go do something that helps your area of law in doing that. But on the other side is if you really like digging into the law, go be bespoke. Go that person who specializes in this specific thing because that’s going to be more important now, theoretically. So I think to me that’s exciting both sides.

 

Sateesh Nori (37:06):

And there are legal jobs and roles that are surrounding all of this space too. What does it mean to be a general counselor at a legal tech company? How do you negotiate contracts between these amorphous tech, legal, nonprofit type companies or for-profit companies? How do you manage information within these spaces? I think there is a new call on lawyers to be technologists never before, right? I mean, it used to be the cat lawyer on Zoom, <laugh> just a typical lawyer, but now lawyers have podcasts and lawyers are doing basic coding and building websites and setting up depositions that are virtual and all kinds of things. So we need to pick the mantle up and challenge ourselves out of the traditional lawyer roles. And I think that’s really what law students are probably going to want out of their careers is some of these challenges. They’re not going to want sit in a law library looking at books. I don’t even know if they do that anymore. But

 

Zack Glaser (38:11):

Don’t neither <laugh> and yeah, I don’t either. I hope not. But yeah, and I think that’s the big thing. Well, Sateesh, I really appreciate your time today and I think coming out of this challenging our listeners to, like you said, pick the mantle up and take law forward in as many directions as we can.

 

Sateesh Nori (38:33):

I love it.

 

Zack Glaser (38:33):

I think that’s fantastic.

 

Sateesh Nori (38:35):

Law Forward. It’s a new podcast, <laugh>

 

Zack Glaser (38:40):

Sateesh. Again, I really appreciate you being on the episode. Thank

 

Sateesh Nori (38:43):

You. Thank you so much, Zack. This is fun.

 

Announcer:

The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.

Your Hosts

Zack Glaser

Zack Glaser is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.

Featured Guests

Sateesh Nori Headshot

Sateesh Nori

Sateesh Nori is the Executive Director of JustFix, a housing justice, technology non-profit. For twenty years, he represented tenants across New York City at various legal services organizations.  He was a commissioner of the 2019 Charter Revision Commission. He also created and co-taught the Housing Rights Clinic at NYU Law. Sateesh is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and NYU Law.  He enjoys running, reading, struggling with vegetarianism, and grooming his beard.  He resides in Brooklyn with his wife Joy and their twins, Shaan and Jhansi. Sateesh was named a “Rising Star” by the New York Law Journal, one of “Queens’ Power 50,” and was featured as a “Legal Rebel” in the  Spring  2021 ABA Journal. He is working on a book about his 20 years as a tenant attorney.

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Last updated December 21st, 2022