Currently, I'm an Innovation Specialist at 18F, a digital services team within the U.S. federal government. My time there is split between web development (mostly Rails), API strategy, and rapid prototyping. I'm also a law student at American University.
I've been working with software in one way or another since 2008. However, the first code I ever wrote was in 2003 on a TI-83 graphing calculator. Though I only took one software development course in college, I don't like to say that I'm a self-taught programmer. Most of my early software education came from online tutorials, Stack Overflow, and the crucible of startup work.
In college, I majored in political science and telecommunications policy. I enjoyed the latter major so much, it motivated me to go to law school and embark on a traditional legal career. I've had legal internships at the Federal Communications Commission, the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and ITTA.
As my legal education continued in earnest, something simple, but very fortuitous happened: I kept coding. At my internships, for example, I wrote software for policy advocacy and used git to keep track of complex regulations.
In the Fall of 2013, with two great co-organizers, I helped start DC Legal Hackers (@DCLegalHackers). I've had a tremendous amount of fun helping to bring together DC's coders and law and policy folks together in the same room. We've hosted policy panels, legal hackathons, and even a Drone BBQ. We define a legal hacker as:
someone who cares about the intersection of law and technology and seeks to improve legal practice through technology while simultaneously using legal skills to promote technological innovation and exploration.
The intersection of law and technology is an interesting one, and somewhat contradictory. The world of law is typically very conservative and slow to embrace change. The technology world, on the other hand, changes rapidly (some might say too rapidly). The contradiction between these two fields means working at its intersection is scary and uncertain, but also rife with opportunity. Expect this list to grow.