Lawyer 2.0: Marc Lamber is at the forefront of where new technology and traditional law merge.
Marc Lamber is at the forefront of where new technology and traditional law merge.
By Michelle Talsma Everson
Photo by Chadwick Fowler
Lawyer Marc Lamber believes in being a good human being first and a great legal professional second. Inspired by his father—who was also a successful attorney—and his own strong moral compass, Lamber specializes in leading the charge for integrating traditional law practices with the latest technology to best help those he serves.
Lamber formed the Plaintiff Personal Injury Practice at Fennemore Craig in Arizona, and it remains the only personal injury group within a major U.S. national law firm. With offices in Nevada, Colorado, and Illinois, he has spent more than 25 years developing and honing it, representing a multitude of accident victims and their families resulting in hundreds of successful outcomes..
Early on in his education, Lamber says that he went through significant introspection that would lay the framework for the type of lawyer he’d become.
“I found that I’m happiest, most fulfilled at, and best at helping individual people,” he says. “I decided that I was going to do something different early on—that I was going to break the mold that people may have in their minds of lawyers and haven’t looked back. I’m better at just being myself—and when I’m myself—I’m a better lawyer.”
The American Bar Association Journal has named Lamber and his partner, James Goodnow, two of the “Techiest Lawyers in America,” and the Lamber Goodnow legal team has built its practice by being early adopters of emerging technologies including iPads, Google Glass, 3D Printers, and a host of wearables.
“I’ve always found it to be a natural fit to include emerging technology in the practice of law,” Lamber says. He cites an early example: in 1991, when e-mail was just coming out, he and his practice were early adopters of the technology to stay in touch with clients.
“Each new technology that comes out is a way to connect and help more people,” he says. “The thought of being a full service firm that was using technology to take care of our own resonated deeply with me. Technology allowed me to help more people and to provide the best experience for clients who are not at their best points in life.”
Lamber notes that lawyers are trained to be risk-aversive, and attorneys are at times hesitant to adopt the latest technologies. But he smiles, and quotes The Borg from Star Trek fame: “Resistance is futile––you will be assimilated!”
Being a personal injury attorney, Lamber admits that he meets people at some of the hardest times in their lives.
“My dad, who is a retired lawyer and my personal hero, had a business card that said ‘counselor at law.’ That always stuck in my mind because, in many ways, you’re counseling your clients through some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
“When something tragic happens—like an injury or even a wrongful death—victims want an answer to the question: What happened? Lawyers can help find that answer. We do more than sue people,” he shares. “We help clients and are honest with them.”
Lamber views technology as a way to help clients—and the legal system as a whole—communicate and find answers. For example, when iPads first emerged, he and his team used them to help key decision makers find out important case facts.
“We realized that videos worked better than traditional letters and sped up the process for decision makers and clients,” Lamber says. “So much goes on before a case is in the courtroom, so why not make technology a part of that process?”
Recently, Fennemore Craig partnered with ROSS Intelligence to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) resources to enhance legal research.
“Through a platform like this, we can have access to millions of pages of law and artificial intelligence can synthesize the information and distill it down,” Lamber explains.
“AI has the amazing potential to interact, and suddenly, the computer becomes your legal partner, allowing for real-time strategization, debate, and negotiation,” he continues. “…In the future, perhaps technology plays a greater role in civil resolutions, and in mediums like Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) technology has the potential to make the process more efficient and more fulfilling for everyone involved.”
So what does the future look like for law and technology?
“Nothing is certain, except for constant change,” Lamber says. “…I’d say that technology will continue to play a more and more significant and widespread role in our practice. Technology’s rapidly changing tentacles will continue to permeate all aspects of the law.”
Lamber refers to the Holodeck on Star Trek when he pictures future courtrooms.
“I can envision a day when law firms will employ holographic workstations, allowing attorneys to view, process, and analyze vast amounts of data in 3D and 2D environments,” he adds.
In the meantime, Lamber—who has bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arizona and his law degree from the New York University School of Law—is known as a game changer in the legal profession. He and Goodnow have won multiple awards and spend time educating the public on complicated issues that are important to the legal system through interviews in local and national media.
Some of his accomplishments include: being part of his firm launching a Stop Distracted Drivers campaign; being instrumental in drafting and passing Arizona House Bill 2170, also known as Elizabeth’s Law (which improves safety for school bus stops); and launching the “We Have a Voice,” campaign, an online campaign urging lawmakers to stop the use of automatic weapons by minors.
Another area where Lamber stands out is as an expert in the self-driving car tech space.
“Ninety four percent of car accidents are caused by human error; self driving cars have the potential to eliminate many of those accidents,” he says. “Millions of people worldwide die in car accidents; if technology can help reduce than number, that would be a huge deal.”
A father to two teen boys and a husband of 18 years, Lamber says that there’s not a day when it’s not a challenge to balance his career and family life. But, it’s a challenge he takes pride in.
“I’m most proud of my wife and kids, my family and friends, and the profession that I’ve chosen,” he shares. “No matter where technology takes the legal profession, I will continue to make a difference helping one person at a time. I hope to be remembered for influencing the law to protect innocent people.”
“Technology is a tool—and why would I not use a tool to make a difference? It’s part of who I am.”
You can learn more about the technology-based plaintiff’s practice and business model that Lamber and his colleagues have developed for the Lamber Goodnow legal team at Fennemore Craig by visiting: lambergoodnow.com.
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