ILTA Honors Five Influential Women of Legal Tech

A bit late with this, as it was announced earlier this week, but the International Legal Technology Association, in celebration of Women’s History Month, has named five women as its 2024 Influential Women in Legal Tech.

The list recognizes outstanding women leaders in the global legal technology community based on their mentorship history and level of impact.

The five were chosen from over 120 nominations and over 80 applications, according to Jeanne Martinez, ILTA’s director of membership and volunteer operations and head of the 2024 Influential Women in Legal Tech awards.

The women “are the movers and shakers within the legal community, and we have all benefited from hearing them speak at conferences, publications they’ve written, and programs they’ve developed,” Martinez said. “We salute them for fostering conversations on the intersection of law and tech and helping us aspire to contribute at the highest level possible.”

Here are the five honorees, and what ILTA said about each:

Alma Asay, Chief Innovation and Value Officer, Crowell & Moring LLP

Alma is an established leader in legal innovation with a unique, multi-faceted view of what’s required to create impactful, long-lasting change. She is passionate about bridging the gaps that stand in the way of successful innovation and proudly prioritizes real-world adoption over “bells and whistles.” In her role as Crowell’s first Chief Innovation and Value Officer, Alma leads the firm’s innovation and value efforts, overseeing a wide range of initiatives relating to, among other areas, client value, cross-departmental data and analytics, knowledge management, practice innovation and generative AI. She also oversees the Research Services department, aligning traditional law firm tools and functions with modern approaches to knowledge management and value-driven services.

Related: In 2017, Asay’s trailblazing work as a women entrepreneur inspired a post I wrote, 2017: The Year of Women in Legal Tech

Over the course of her legal career, Alma has earned numerous recognitions relating to her innovation work. She was named on the second annual list of LTRC’s “Women of Legal Tech” in 2016, and she was an early member of the Fastcase 50, “the smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law.” The ABA has also awarded Alma its distinguished “Legal Rebel” title, acknowledging those who are “remaking the legal profession . . . the pioneers who are changing the way law is practiced and setting the standards that will guide the profession in the future.” Most recently, Alma was honored as an AI Visionary, recognizing “individuals who have explored, promoted, or experimented with AI in novel ways in legal applications.”

Alma began her career as a successful attorney at an Am Law 10 firm. She loved practicing law but believed that better processes and technology could help lawyers thrive by enabling them to focus on the work they do best. In 2012, Alma founded her own legal technology company. In building her company, she gained first-hand experience in what it’s like to run a company and work with law firms from the client side. Before joining Crowell, she sold her business in 2017 and took on broader roles in legal innovation with alternative legal services and technology providers. She holds a J.D. from NYU Law and a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.

Alma regularly speaks at industry conferences and spearheads client presentations on various innovation topics. Her 2023 engagements included “Spark Talks: Data-Driven Success Stories” at ILTACON, “Beyond Fees for Services Rendered: Defining Partnership and Value Adds in Client Relationships” at LVNx, and “Getting Buy-In for Process Automation and Legal Tech Adoption” at KM&I for Legal. She also authors the monthly “Women of Legal Tech” column for Legaltech News, elevating the profiles of other women making moves across the industry.

Aalia Manie, Head: Webber Wentzel Fusion, Webber Wentzel

Aalia is a lawyer, legal technologist, entrepreneur, and mom of two. She currently leads Webber Wentzel Fusion, the NewLaw and legal technology division of leading African law firm, Webber Wentzel. Since starting her career, Aalia has pushed the boundaries between law and technology, with a passion for driving impact specific to the African context.

While practicing as an IP and technology law partner at the firm, she spearheaded lobbying efforts for regulatory reforms and established a legal incubator for high-growth tech businesses. This led to a chapter of intense growth and learning as a COO of a technology startup, where she honed her operational skills, commercial acumen, and resilience. She now finds herself back “home,” where she and the team focus on designing and delivering AI, legal technology, and alternative legal solutions that supercharge the firm and its clients and generate new revenue streams.

Terri Mottershead, Executive Director, Centre For Legal Innovation at the College of Law

Terri Mottershead is the Executive Director of the Centre for Legal Innovation (Australia, New Zealand, and Asia-Pacific) (CLI) at the College of Law. Terri collaborates internationally with leaders of legal businesses, supporting them in transforming capabilities and practices to deliver legal services/products/solutions that exceed client expectations and cultivate workplaces that attract, empower, and retain multi-disciplinary talent.

She leads CLI’s global initiatives, including the Generative AI Initiative, Legalpreneurs Lab, and its podcast series, The Legalpreneurs Sandbox. Terri’s work in legal GenAI was recently recognized with her appointment as the inaugural Chair of the Queensland Law Society’s Generative AI in Legal Practice Joint Working Group. Before joining CLI, Terri was a practicing lawyer, founded startups on three different continents, and established or led the talent management functions for global firms and associations in Asia and the US, including Lex Mundi, the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, and DLA Piper LLP (US).

Caryn Sandler, Partner + Chief Knowledge and Innovation Officer, Gilbert + Tobin

Caryn leads the Gilbert + Tobin Legal Service Innovation team and G+T Innovate. These teams provide specialized services to support Gilbert + Tobin’s legal service delivery and innovate to deliver new tools and services benefiting Gilbert + Tobin’s practice and clients. Caryn’s role encompasses responsibility for over 70 lawyers and business professionals working across Transformation, Legal Informatics and Data, Legal Project Management, and Knowledge Management.

Caryn was named “Most Innovative Changemaker” at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia-Pacific 2022, “Innovator of the Year” at the Australian Law Awards 2022 and “Innovator of the Year” at the Partner of the Year Awards 2021. Under her leadership, Gilbert + Tobin also won “Excellence in Technology and Innovation” at the Australasian Law Awards 2023 for a third consecutive year and was named “Most Innovative Law Firm” at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia-Pacific in 2019. Caryn is the Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Legal Innovation and is a director for various not-for-profit organizations. Caryn has a passion for expanding the focus and content of legal education to enable lawyers to succeed and thrive in the changing legal environment.

Ginevra Saylor, National Director, Innovation and Knowledge, Gowling WLG LLP

Ginevra Saylor is the National Director, Innovation and Knowledge Programs with the global law firm Gowling WLG LLP, where she leads the firm’s innovation, knowledge management, client and practice solutions, legal project management, and process re-engineering strategy and initiatives. In her role, she identifies and implements programs, processes, and tools that drive innovation and excellence throughout the firm and enhance the delivery of client services.

Ginevra has over twenty years of experience building and delivering strategies for innovation, knowledge management, client solutions, technology adoption, and process improvement. In previous KM leadership roles with two major firms, Ginevra developed strategies and initiatives for innovation, knowledge management, learning and development, client solutions, technology adoption, and process improvement and designed new projects and practice tools to leverage and build her firm’s knowledge base. An Ontario and Pennsylvania Bars member, she also has extensive and varied experience as a practicing litigator and educator.

Ginevra served as President of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) Board of Directors for two years and Executive Vice President and Secretary respectively for four years before assuming the presidency. She also is a College of Law Practice Management (COLMP) Fellow. Ginevra and her Gowling project team won a 2021 Precedent Innovation Award for developing a contest rules application. Ginevra earned the ILTA 2016 Publications Shining Star Award and the 2016 Global Knowledge Management Congress Knowledge Management Leadership Award. She is a frequent author and international speaker on legal practice, innovation, legal technology, knowledge management, and related topics.

Ginevra has lived and worked in Canada, the United States, Greece, and Vietnam. She currently lives with her family in Toronto, Canada.

Congratulations to all.

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