It was almost true that Professor Henderson did not finish college. He dropped out and got a job as a firefighter. But… it was only because he was a firefighter that he ended up going to law school.
In the early 90s, during firefighter union negotiations, Bill’s union rep asked him to tag along and take notes. Foreshadowing his career as a professor, not only did Bill take notes, he also did in depth research into prior collective bargaining agreements and into state law so the union team could strike a better bargain.
In the end, Bill moved on from note taker to union vice president and eventually took over as lead negotiator.
Because of all of this, Bill decided to go to law school at the University of Chicago and became a legal professor.
Since entering academia, Bill has done a ton of research and writing on the state of legal services in general, but more specifically, how legal innovation can improve it.
In a nutshell, Bill’s research has determined that more and more legal work is focused on commercial law at the expense of “PeopleLaw” –a term he uses to describe legal work done on behalf of individuals (like criminal law, domestic relations law and the like).
50 years ago, legal work was pretty much split 50/50 between PeopleLaw and commercial law. Now that division is 75/25 in favor of commercial law which is causing an access to justice issue. There is a great need for legal services related to PeopleLaw, but it is too expensive or just doesn’t exist.
However, Professor Henderson thinks there are a few things the legal community can do to address this problem: Better use of project management techniques, use of allied professionals, and leveraging legal technology.
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