Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Lawyer's Programming Skills Help Disadvantaged Clients

If you have two hats, you usually can't wear them both at the same time.

Unless you are Michael Hollander, a programmer-turned-lawyer. Hollander is an employment attorney who is creating software to help disadvantaged clients.

Why did he jump from computing to lawyering? It definitely was not for the money.

Not the Money

Hollander was a systems engineer, working for good money in the Silicon Valley nearly 13 years ago. He was living the life, but wanted to do something more meaningful.

He quit his $90,000-a-year job, went to the University of Virginia School of Law, and pursued his dream: helping the poor. It was a financial sacrifice he was willing to make.

"I still haven't reached the salary I earned in 2004," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hollander has written several programs to help clients and others. In law school, he used mapping software to help farm workers. Since then, he has created programs to automate expungements, analyze unemployment insurance data, and other non-profit services.

Fully Employed

Wearing his two hats well, Hollander has carved out a successful practice. But it's not about a five-figure salary; it's about a five-figure client count.

He estimates that his "Expungement Generator" has helped about 35,000 people since 2012. That gave him a satisfaction that he didn't feel just programming.

"I enjoyed the work that I did, but I was solving problems to help businesses do business better," Hollander told the ABA Journal. "I wanted to do more to help my community."

Related Resources: