Photo courtesy of Monica Goyal.
Many lawyers are reluctant to adopt new legal technology, says Monica Goyal, who developed platforms including My Legal Briefcase, which helps parties in the Canadian small claims courts, and Aluvion Law, which uses automation to cut legal services costs for small businesses.
“Even young lawyers—we think young lawyers are on Facebook, Twitter, they’re using computers, and that somehow they will be more willing to try and experiment with new technology. I’ve found that’s not the case,” says Goyal, a visiting professor at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School, where her work focuses on teaching legal technology.
“One of the things I do at the law school is give students ideas about what tools are out there and how they can connect that to their practices in the future,” adds Goyal, who also has her own law firm in Toronto.
Goyal, 43, got her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo in 1997, and she decided she was interested in law school while at Stanford University working on a master’s degree in electrical engineering, which she finished in 2002.
“I’d always been a very social person, and I kind of felt like something was missing. I took a few courses in law and some business courses, and I really enjoyed it,” says Goyal, whose work before law school included being part of a microprocessor design team at Toshiba America. She also worked at Evertz Microsystems, which manufacturers broadcast equipment and solutions for on-demand services, as a hardware design engineer.
Goyal received her law degree from the University of Toronto in 2008, and then did her articling at Gowling WLG. She says it was there that she started to wonder about how technology could make legal services more affordable.
“I was really interested in legal justice, and wanted to see how we could rethink and deliver legal services in a more cost-effective way,” says Goyal, who founded My Legal Brief Case in 2011, and Aluvion Law in 2014.
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