James I. Keane Memorial Award

For Excellence in eLawyering


This Award is named for James I. Keane, the founding Chair of the ABA Law Practice Division eLawyering Task Force. The Task Force was created in 2000, when ABA President William G. Paul, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, took the unusual and creative step of asking an ABA Entity to assume responsibility for an initiative to examine ways that lawyers could use the Internet and other electronic resources to deliver legal services to people of moderate means, more efficiently and effectively.

eLawyering is doing legal work—not just marketing—over the Web.  Pioneering practitioners have found dramatic new ways to communicate and collaborate with clients and other lawyers, produce documents, settle disputes, interact with courts, and manage legal knowledge. eLawyering encompasses all the ways in which lawyers can do their work using the Web and associated technologies.  For most lawyering “verbs”—interview, investigate, counsel, draft, advocate, analyze, negotiate, manage, etc.—there are corresponding Internet-based tools and technologies.

eLawyering and its lawyer-less analogs present fundamental challenges for our profession.  There are great dangers, but also great opportunities for attorneys. To be successful in the coming era, lawyers will need to know how to practice over the Web, manage client relationships in cyberspace, and ethically offer “unbundled” services.

The purpose of this Award is to give recognition to law offices that have developed legal service innovations that are delivered over the Internet. The focus of the Award is on the innovative delivery of personal legal services, with special attention given to firms and entities that serve both moderate income individuals and the broad middle class.


  • Nominees may be any individual lawyer, law firm, or other deliverer of legal services to individuals within the United States. The nominee can be a large or small law firm, public or private, or a legal services agency.  More than one entry may be submitted, and the Task Force encourages self-nomination.

The nomination period is closed. 2014 winners were honored at a special ceremony at ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago.

Nomination Criteria

  • Absence of precedent – Never been done or done quite this way before.
  • Evidence of action – The innovative idea was transformed into action and not merely reflective of best intentions. The nominee should be prepared to provide evaluation data that documents the effectiveness of the legal service in terms of client satisfaction, revenue enhancement, and/or law productivity. The nomination must provide an analysis of the measures used to define success.
  • Effectiveness of innovation – There is some measurable outcome that would indicate that the innovation is accomplishing what it was intended to do.
  • The project must demonstrate the use of the Internet to deliver legal services.
  • Action must have taken place no more than three years prior to this entry, and the legal service must be operating for at least one year prior to submission of the Application.
  • Additional consideration will be given to projects that focus on the delivery of legal services to individuals of moderate means.
  • The nomination should describe how the service was developed, how it is managed, and how it has been evaluated.
  • The nomination should describe how the service can be replicated by other law firms in terms of development costs, required technology, people requirements, and ongoing maintenance costs.

Nominations should be submitted through the James I. Keane Award Nomination Form (available later this year for 2015).

Award Presentation

The award winner will be honored at a special ceremony at the ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago.

Selection Process

The eLawyering Task Force of the ABA Law Practice Division will review the nominations and select the recipient. The eLawyering Task Force will impanel impartial members who will make recommendations to the eLawyering Task Force, whose leaders will decide in consultation with the Executive Committee of the ABA Law Practice Division Council.

Meritorious Recognition Awards may be granted to additional nominees at the Committee’s discretion. The Committee reserves the right not to present the Award in a given year.

Nominees will be described in Law Practice magazine and other LP Publications.  In addition, the Award recipient may receive one free pass to ABA TECHSHOW.

Past James I. Keane Award Recipients:

  • 2014 – Immigration Advocate Network
  • 2013 – Richard Granat, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • 2012 – Hargrove Madden LLP, Louisville, KY
  • 2011 – Legal Aid Society of Orange County
  • 2010 – Lee S. Rosen, Raleigh, NC
  • 2009 – Stephanie Kimbro, Wilmington, NC
  • 2008 – Cowell Taradash, PC, Chicago IL