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Goodbye Ross Kodner, A Big Force for Small Firms

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Via Bob Ambrogi, I learned the very sad news of the passing of legal technology pioneer and Micro Law  founder Ross Kodner, who tragically died yesterday as the result of a heart attack at the age of 52.  Ross leaves behind enormous shoes to fill in the solo and small law firm community.

I confess that I did not know Ross well – we’d met and chatted at multiple conferences and jointly presented once or twice. We didn’t always see eye to eye on technology (I was often skeptical of the need for consultants and more bullish on the cloud) but our differences of opinion never marred our cordial relationship. And they never, ever detracted from my admiration for Ross’ tireless commitment to solos and smalls.

With his talents and energy, Ross could have easily abandoned the solo and small firm community to focus on helping biglaw exclusively, but he didn’t. Ross could have stopped dispensing free advice on solosez – frequently using up his daily limit of posts – to solos who could never afford to hire him, but he kept coming back. He could put his CLEs and substantive materials on $99/CDs and sold them, but he gave away heaps of content for free.

Ross took solos and smalls seriously. He didn’t view us, as so many other vendors do, as a bunch of desperate morons willing to open a checkbook and pay to hire people to help with work that they don’t understand. Ross treated solos and smalls with respect, painstakingly explaining technology options to enable solos and smalls to make informed decisions.

As a legal technologist, Ross was cutting edge – and in a world where tech changes so quickly, he kept up to speed, though clearly, it must have taken a toll. But in many ways – the ones that really matter –  Ross was decidedly old-school. He worked like a dog. Always delivered excellence. He loved – and bragged – about his family. He went out of his way to meet personally with online colleagues. He took the time to help others.

Ross was a lawyer, but I’m not sure when or if he ever practiced. Nonetheless, by helping solos and smalls to modernize their practices, and to focus on sustainable technology rather than quick or trendy fixes, Ross helped solos and smalls stay afloat and thrive.  Ross’ legacy will live on not merely as a legal technologist, but in the good deeds of the thousands of solos and smalls he helped.

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