I have to share with you the story of a remarkable young woman lawyer. I do not know her, although I wish I did. It would be a pleasure and an honor. Lina Khan is the kind of dedicated and passionate young lawyer who, undoubtedly, will make her mark on this world.
I read her story recently in an article in the New York Times, and it inspired me. Not because I know anything about anti-trust law. Not because I have a secret agenda involving busting monopolies. Just because I admire the intellectual journey and passion of this young woman.
She is a Yale Law School graduate, who, as a law student in 2017, published an article titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” in the Yale Law Journal. The article challenged current anti-trust principles and dredged up some former applications of law that got people’s attention. The paper received 146,255 hits — a lot for legal treatises — and Lina Khan became a celebrity in the hallowed halls of government in Washington, DC.
She also has critics, as you might expect. New discoveries and theories work that way. But, she pushed forward on her theories with Amazon as the target. Big target. Hard to bring down. She is now at the FTC doing awesome policy work based on her theories, and Politico just named her to its annual list of the people driving the ideas driving politics.
She had setbacks, but she soldiered on. Just months before she was to assume a clerkship on the prestigious 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the judge who had hired her died suddenly. So, she quickly changed course. I think she grew up knowing it is what you do.
Take a few minutes to read the story. It may inspire you as it inspired me. All of us will not take journeys involving this kind of commitment, but we can marvel at the journeys of the ones who do.
What drew me to this story was Lina Khan’s notion that the past can help rescue the future. “These are new technologies and new business models,” Ms. Khan said. “The remedy is new thinking that is informed by traditional principles.”
And the reason this resounds with me so emphatically is that it is the same thought process that runs throughout my new book, What Millennial Lawyers Want: A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers, 2018). The past can help rescue the future. The remedy for an arguably failing law profession is a new way of thinking that is informed by traditional principles.
Being informed by the past to rescue the future is the bridge that millennial lawyers have been looking for without even knowing it. It is the bridge that one bright and shining Yale Law student, turned millennial lawyer, took. It is a journey of passion.
Bravo to Lina Khan wherever her passion leads her. I hope I run into her on the streets of DC to witness her commitment and passion. It would be a pleasure and an honor.