Morris named director of new legal tech initiative

Eye on innovation

Professor Nicole Morris has agreed to serve as the inaugural director of the Innovation and Legal Tech Initiative (ILTI).

In this role, she will lead Emory Law’s efforts to address the implications of advances in legal tech for faculty and for students preparing for the future of legal practice in the JD program. She may also develop programming for students enrolled in the law school’s other graduate level programs and/or the executive education program.   Morris will work with the administration to develop a plan of activities that may include the creation of new courses, the modification of existing courses to address changes in legal practice, and the development of modules, workshops, or programs designed to ensure that Emory Law students and graduates are prepared for changes in legal practice associated with advances in legal technology. Joanna Shepherd, vice dean of Emory Law, says of Morris’s appointment: “We are delighted that Professor Morris has agreed to lead the effort to expand Emory Law’s focus on innovation and legal technology. Preparing students for changes in the legal profession has always been a priority for Emory Law and is an important part of our strategic plan. Professor Morris has both the expertise and the experience to develop programming that teaches students how innovation and technology are employed in the modern legal market.”

Morris’s areas of expertise include patent law, patent litigation, patent prosecution, IP licensing, and strategy. She is director of the TI:GER Program (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results). The TI:GER program has evolved over the years to include the annual TI:GER Innovation Conference which draws renowned scholars in the tech realm to Emory Law to discuss various aspects of innovation. The law school ended its joint academic instruction with Georgia Tech in May 2022, and the Emory Law TI:GER program will continue with external partners such as the National Nuclear Security Administration within the Department of Energy.

In 2022, Morris was named one of the Women of Legal Tech by the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center. She was among a list of just 17 women across the country. The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s Women of Legal Tech initiative is intended to encourage diversity and celebrate women in legal technology. This initiative launched in 2015 with a list of innovators and leaders in legal technology and with this year’s additions, that list now includes 149 talented and influential women leaders. 

Prior to joining the Emory faculty, Morris was the managing patent counsel at The Coca- Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia. While at The Coca-Cola Company, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s global patent strategy and providing day-to-day advice and counseling to business stakeholders.

Morris has almost twenty years of experience practicing patent law in large and mid-sized law firms. Morris also worked as an engineer for six years with 3M and Eli Lilly and has thirty years of experience working with consumer products and technology commercialization.

She says, “I am thrilled to lead this inaugural innovation initiative. I am very committed to training future lawyers to use technology to make an impact on the profession. This new initiative will deepen Emory Law’s curricular strength in bringing together law and tech. In one to three years, I want to collaborate with legal tech startups and have Emory Law students using their tech tools to assist clients.”

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