Cisco Supports Tech Effort to Help Hate Crime Victims

From Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Cisco and member of the Center for Innovation’s Governing Council:

Recently I had the chance to see how smart technology, applied to vexing social problems, can help provide solutions and build a better world. Working with the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation (ABA), we’re deeply engaged in an effort to create a better path for those who believe they’ve been victimized by a hate crime to find out whether a crime has been committed, what rights they have, and where to get help.

One of the reasons that after 20 years at Cisco I’m still excited to jump out of bed and start work every day is because we have a community and culture that is inclusive and protects and defends those who elsewhere in society may be marginalized or victimized. We’ve always emphasized the importance of celebrating difference and zero tolerance toward those who would undermine that culture. Those aspirations, while largely fulfilled in my company, are often more challenging in the society at large. Some subcultures even encourage words and actions that are designed to intimidate and spread fear, so that others are denied to chance to live in peace and freedom in our society.

For historical reasons, our legal community has built up a set of rules and practices that make it too hard for ordinary folks to vindicate their legal rights. Organizations as diverse as the FBI and UC Berkeley have done a great job at providing online information resources to help hate crimes victims learn what to do. The information tends to be specialized, however,or not directly actionable.

The ABA has seen that victims are frequently discouraged from taking action because of the multiple steps required. People are used to using clean, highly designed apps in their daily lives and the Center for Innovation’s working group sought to develop a clearly organized and user-friendly website application to determine if a hate crime had been committed, what resources are available and what next steps a victim could take with law enforcement and within the judicial system.

The ABA’s “design sprint” convened lawyers, scholars, designers, and coders for a daylong working session at Suffolk University in Boston, whose Dean, Andrew Perlman, leads the ABA Center for Innovation. The challenge was to develop a website application that gives those who think they have been victims of hate crimes the information and resources they need.

Cisco was a sponsor of the event and I was proud be there and witness first-hand the incredible challenges we can tackle by working together. At Cisco we’ve always believed in the power of the networking technology we invent and build to break down barriers to information. We strive to deploy that technology to empower the disempowered to build bridges.

We applaud the foresight of the ABA for establishing its Center for Innovation and tackling tough issues like this one.

ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow

The ABA Center for Innovation and Microsoft are excited to announce a unique new fellowship opportunity for recent law school graduates. The inaugural ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow will gain invaluable experience while positively impacting the delivery of legal services to those most in need of assistance.

ABA Center for Innovation

The ABA Center for Innovation encourages and accelerates innovations that improve the accessibility, effectiveness, and efficiency of legal services in the United States. Through its Fellows Program, the Center works with established and emerging leaders to develop cutting-edge legal tech and process innovations.

ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow

Among other exciting projects related to innovation in legal services, in 2016, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and Pro Bono Net to create statewide online justice portals. The project’s aim is to direct low-income persons to appropriate legal aid resources in each state. It seeks to transform a system that is too often opaque, confusing, and inefficient into a single, simple, statewide access point for legal aid resources.

In residence at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, the ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow will spend most of his or her time helping to advance the LSC portal project, while also contributing to a variety of other technology initiatives. The Fellow will join an exclusive cohort of ABA NextGen and Innovation Fellows, most of whom will be in residence at ABA Headquarters in Chicago Illinois. The ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow may therefore travel on occasion to meet with ABA members, staff, and Fellows at ABA Headquarters.


The Center is seeking a recent (within the last 5 years) law school graduate to spend one year in residence (August 1, 2017 – July 31, 2018) at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. This Fellow will receive a $45,000 salary and benefits. Bar admission is not necessary.

Candidates should have the following qualifications:

  • Commitment to improving access to justice
  • Working knowledge of technology design and web development
  • Experience working in a collaborative environment
  • Curiosity about the evolution of legal services


Applicants should submit the following:

  • A short statement (500 to 750 words) demonstrating their interest in and qualifications for the ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow
  • A resume, including links (if available) to a website or professional social media profile
  • A short (approximately two minute) video or multimedia presentation, highlighting the candidate’s qualifications

Please submit your application to by April 15, 2017.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by ABA members and staff, as well as by Microsoft staff. Finalists will be contacted in early April to schedule an interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work during my fellowship?
The Fellows Program is a full-time commitment. Fellows should not pursue outside work.

Can I work remotely?
No. The ABA Center for Innovation-Microsoft NextGen Fellow will be hosted at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, with occasional visits to ABA Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

What will the ABA provide during the fellowship?
All fellows will have access to many of the nation’s top legal innovators, educators, technologists, and designers. Additionally, they will receive a comprehensive Boot Camp training. Fellows will receive a $45,000 salary, plus benefits.

Do I have to be a programmer?
You do not have to be a programmer. However, you should have an understanding of legal tech solutions.

Do I have to be a lawyer or law graduate?
NextGen Fellows must be recent (within five years) law school graduates