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Financial Times Names Alumnus, Adjunct Faculty Legal Innovator of the Year

December 15, 2017

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Financial Times announced the winners of the 2017 Legal Innovator of the Year Award for North America and named a Lewis & Clark alumnus and adjunct faculty member, Stephen Manning ’01, for his work in immigration law leading the Innovation Law Lab in Portland, Oregon.

Noting the top flight group of finalists, Financial Times faced a difficult choice. “The ultimate winner, however, was Stephen Manning. His work in creating a large pro bono network to defend refugees in the US was impressive, but what swung the judges were the technology and data analytics behind the project.”

Lewis & Clark Law prof Juliet Stumpf works closely with Stephen Manning, and noted their work in the Advocate feature The Rise of Big Immigration Law.

“Stephen’s work with the Innovation Law Lab is revolutionizing legal advocacy. He combines data analytics, technology, and a new approach to designing legal advocacy that is rebooting our stalled asylum system. ” said Juliet Stumpf, a leading expert on immigration law. “This recognition by Financial Times is timely and deserved.”

Big Immigration Law uses a model Manning calls “Massive Collaboration Representation.” Advocates for immigrant communities have a multilevel, multimedia, crowdsourcing advocacy structure which acts as a counterpoint to the big immigration policing (detention) that has come to dominate American immigration policy.

Stephen Manning describes it this way, “we’ve used data analytics to pinpoint what lawyers actually do to win cases and converted those findings into highly repeatable processes that can be delegated across multiple lawyers and volunteers for the benefit of highly vulnerable populations.”

Financial Times acknowledged the success of this model: In 2016, advocates experienced a 99 percent success rate for the release from detention of over 30,000 women and children. In 2014, by comparison, nearly all women and children who had been held in detention centers were deported. The article quotes Manning: “In many forums, defense lawyers are treated as though they are ‘getting in the way’ of convictions and deportations,” he says. “A corporate merger without lawyers? Unthinkable. A deportation without lawyers? Happens every day.”

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