Ilana Flemming Joins Paladin as its first Account Manager!
Today, we are excited to share that Ilana Flemming has joined Paladin as its first Account Manager, working with pro bono teams across law firms, corporations, and legal services organizations to support their pro bono work. Ilana’s legal services expertise through her work with Cabrini Green Legal Aid in Chicago, coupled with her background working in non-profit policy advocacy and advocating on Capitol Hill for laws that improve the health and safety of women, brings a valuable and necessary perspective to Paladin’s access to justice work.
We asked Ilana a few questions to learn more about how her past life has influenced her ATJ perspective, and what she’s most looking forward to about the future of ATJ tech.
Welcome, Ilana! First off, tell us about your background.
I got started in the legal field working with low-income survivors of domestic violence. That inspired me to attend law school (shout-out, GW!), after which I worked in federal policy advocacy, focusing on women’s issues. Later I transitioned to legal aid, where I coordinated pro bono projects, and that led me to Paladin!
Why do you think innovation in the legal industry is important?
Innovation is what keeps us moving and improving. It’s so important to reflect on our legal processes and systems, and inquire into how people are interacting with those systems. The justice gap is a major, pressing issue that doesn’t have one easy fix — but the more that folks are thinking and building and working toward solutions, the more progress we are collectively making toward a country and a world where legal services are widely accessible.
What trends are you most excited about in legal right now?
I’m really excited about the potential of tech to improve access and experience for self-represented litigants. The legal system can be extremely intimidating for someone who doesn’t have an attorney, and that’s a place where smart tech solutions can fill significant gaps. Also, I’m intrigued by the expansion of limited-scope services, which can give attorneys more flexibility to take on cases (including pro bono!), while helping more litigants connect with attorneys.
What drew you to Paladin?
I love working in the pro bono field, and I’m inspired by Paladin’s mission to empower more attorneys to do pro bono! As attorneys, we have more power to make an impact than we realize. You don’t need to be an expert with decades of experience to help a client on a pro bono matter; you can be an effective advocate and counselor to a client in need with the skills you have now. (And with support from an amazing legal service organization partner!)
Paladin is making pro bono work more accessible, more insightful, and more rewarding. With Paladin, legal service organizations have a seamless system for sharing their cases, pro bono counsels and coordinators have hard data about their users’ experience, thousands of attorneys have opportunities at their fingertips…and more clients find their legal champions.
Why is access to justice important to you?
I see access to justice as one of the most pressing issues of our society and our world. Most of us will interact with the civil or criminal legal system at some point in our lives. Yet, these systems are confusing and alienating, and in many areas, nearly impossible to navigate pro se. Unrepresented litigants have worse legal outcomes and can suffer serious, long-lasting repercussions as a result, perpetuating existing inequalities. Increasing access to justice means getting more people the help they need (and deserve) to adequately defend themselves, protect their legal interests, and vindicate their rights.
What do you see as Paladin’s biggest opportunity within the access to justice space?
I’m amazed by the drive of attorneys to do meaningful, impactful pro bono work. But, attorneys are busy people, and the landscape of opportunities can be confusing. That’s why accessibility is so key! By making pro bono opportunities simple to find and claim, Paladin is unlocking that crucial first step of pro bono engagement: take a case! We know attorneys are motivated to engage in pro bono; at Paladin, our task is to make it easy to translate motivation into action.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I’m excited to continue working with law firms to deepen their attorneys’ pro bono engagement and help facilitate a great pro bono experience across each firm. I draw inspiration from the dedication and determination of pro bono attorneys advocating for their clients. I’ve seen firsthand the difference it makes to a client to walk into a courtroom with an attorney by their side, rather than alone. I’ve seen the genuine connections attorneys forge with clients, and the joy and pride that is shared after a legal victory. I love being a part of connecting attorneys to meaningful pro bono work that enriches their skills and practice, and connects a person in need with high-caliber legal representation.
Which GIF best represents how you feel about pro bono innovation?
That’s a wrap!
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story, Ilana. We’re thrilled to welcome you to the Paladin team! For anyone interested in connecting with Ilana about her new role at Paladin, or to learn more about how Paladin works, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org!