"MAKING LAW MORE ACCESSIBLE"
Making Law More Accessible from Tech
Michael Iseri is the sole Founder, Tech Law and Disability Rights Attorney, Cyber Security Professional, Tech Accessibility Adviser, and Software Engineer. Driven by these unique skills, he wants to ensure that legal accessibility is available to all.
Michael aims to simplify the legal system through his hybrid legal and technology skills so that even individuals with autism or down syndrome can complete legal documents without interference or guidance from others, thus ensuring complete autonomy and self-determinism. Pursuing this passion has lead him to produce these powerful programs by himself that dynamically complete legal services in over 37 fully voiced languages while utilizing sensitive client data without passing that data on the internet.
Michael will continue to push law, technology, and innovation to their boundaries to ensure that legal accessibility is forever accessible.
Michael Andrew Iseri ~Legal, Cyber Security, and Accessibility~
University of California, Berkeley
B.A., Legal Studies, summa cum laude, 2009
THESIS: The New Code War: A Discourse in the Legal Framework for State-to-State Cyber Attacks and Cyber Warfare (2009)
University of California, Irvine
J.D., 2015, UCI Law Public Interest Fellow 2015–16
NOTABLE CYBERLAW CASES
LAWPP, LLC | (Tustin, CA) | (September 2016 – Current)
Founder, CEO, Android Engineer
Center for Accessible Technology | (Berkeley, CA) | (September 2017 – August 2018)
Corbett, Steelman & Specter | (Irvine, CA) | (February 2017 – June 2017)
Bet Tzedek Legal Services | (Los Angeles, CA) | (August 2015 – August 2016)
UC Irvine School of Law Public Interest Fellow
Disability Rights Advocates | (Berkeley, CA) | (June 2014 – August 2014)
Summer Law Clerk
California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District | (San Francisco, CA) | (May 2013 – July 2013)
Judicial Extern for the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins
Legal Aid Society of Orange County | (Santa Ana, CA) | (May 2012 – August 2012)
Assistant to Director of Information Systems and Telecommunications
Superior Courts of Orange County | (Santa Ana, CA) | (February 2010 – May 2012)
Project Manager on Legal/Tech
Legal Aid Society of Orange County | (Santa Ana, CA) | (July 2009 – August 2012)
Legal/Tech Advisor to Directing Attorney for Legal Resolutions Center
Newkirk Center for Science and Society | UC Irvine | (March 2011 – April 2012)
"Gazing at an Ivory Gate – My Dream for a Legal Education"
by Michael Andrew Iseri
I did not have a normal childhood – I could not speak. I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at age four and started attending speech therapy daily. Though I practiced every day, no one could understand me. Incapable of vocal expression, I was alone in my thoughts. Yet, I was determined to have a voice. I kept practicing, and in the third grade, my parents finally understood me. Soon afterwards, my friends and teachers did as well. Through discipline and diligence, I graduated from middle school as valedictorian. Sadly, I soon discovered that this was merely one trial in my life, whether related to dyspraxia or not.
In high school, I had a life changing experience that shaped who I am today. While walking back home during my freshman year, a middle school student—who I have yet to meet to this day—shot me. He aimed for the back of my head and pulled the trigger. I staggered. As I bled on the sidewalk, cars drove by. It took minutes for anybody to stop and help me. I spent that night in the ER. Though a victim of a senseless act, I learned a valuable lesson, a lesson that I am living each day. I learned that I must not be one of those people who passed by without helping. I know that I am called to do more—to be more—and help those who are in need.
After high school, I attended the University of California at Berkeley. I flourished there: I became the first Hall Association’s President for my apartment complex as an elected official for three consecutive terms; I saved the anime club from collapse, and as its co-president helped it to grow from two officers to a thriving club; and I represented my church’s fellowship at congregational meetings of multiple college fellowships. But most importantly, I became involved in the Disabled Students’ Program. I aided fellow students with disabilities as a peer mentor and aided a blind computer administrator as her assistant at the disabled technology resource center for more than two years. My involvement with the Disabled Students’ Program marked my first forays into developing my passion for disability rights and advocacy. I graduated Berkeley summa cum laude (highest honors) from the Legal Studies program, publishing my thesis on international legal frameworks for state-to-state cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.
Yet, none of my accolades and accomplishments in college prepared me for what came next. I was rejected from all law schools that I applied to during my senior year in college. These rejections marked the first in a long stream of rejections yet to come. My struggle for a legal education begins here, and this struggle continued for more than three years...
The reason for these rejections: despite exhaustive documentations, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)—the entity in charge of administrating the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)—has repeatedly denied me accommodations for the exam. To this date, LSAC has denied me accommodations five times. For my first attempt, I submitted childhood psychoeducational evaluations and my college documentation demonstrating my need for accommodations. LSAC denied this request and wrote that I need to take additional psychological exams for reconsideration. I took these additional exams and submitted my appeal with additional supportive documents. One week after the deadline for appeals, LSAC denied my appeal. LSAC provided no explanation for this denial.
Barred from law schools, I chose to take a year off after college to explore the legal world. I started volunteering at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) as a Small Claims Advisor. The Directing Attorney of the Small Claims unit quickly discovered my computer and technology skills. He soon appointed me as his main assistant in creating various presentations ranging from LASOC’s sponsored events to his paralegal classes to various legal matters of law. Additionally, I pursued an internship at the Superior Courts of Orange County under the Courts Technology Services. Through this position, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) realized my computer prowess, and he offered me a job as a manager in the creation and continual support of Orange County’s Self-Help Website for the Courts. Working in conjunction with the Self-Help Centers’ Managing Attorney and a team of Self-Help attorneys, I developed and published the Self-Help Website for the Superior Court of Orange County as the Project Manager and Copy Editor.
While maintaining these new legal and tech positions, I applied again for accommodations for the February 2010 LSATs. I contacted LSAC to determine the materials that I need to submit. LSAC informed me that it is up to my evaluator to determine the materials for my request for LSAT accommodations. I worked with my evaluator to update my evaluation and submitted my request. LSAC denied this request, providing only the following reason: “scores are very similar to those results contained in your 2005 evaluation.” For my follow-up appeal, I obtained letters from my college disability advisers in regards to my 2005 psychoeducational exams and submitted these along with additional supporting documents. LSAC denied this appeal three weeks before the LSAT. Again, their denial lacked any reasons.
Despite my struggles with LSAC, I continued my work in making the legal field more accessible through the implementation of computers and technology. Impressed by my work on the Self-Help Website, the CTO selected me to be the Legal Researcher and Security Adviser for the Courts’ research on electronic/digital signatures for judicial usage. Additionally, on my own accord, I developed the Small Claims Ultimate Guide (SCUG) and the Small Claims Court Rules and Procedures (SC-RAP). Both SCUG and SC-RAP were designed to aid litigants with the Small Claims process while providing an optimal experience for tablet users. Furthermore, I started my involvement with both my church’s Community Disabilities Committee and East Coast Swing Dancing, which I continue to do so up to this day.
With all I had done thus far, I gave law schools another shot. I applied again to law schools; and for a second time, all law schools rejected me.
Rejected yet again by all the law schools, I was still determined to get in. I sought the help of four California based disabilities organizations for assistance with my dispute against LSAC. After submitting requests to these disability organizations for aid, they informed me that they were unable to assist me. Unanimously, they state that it is too difficult for them to go against LSAC, specifically in regards to how LSAC interprets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how LSAC lacks transparency in its denials. Furthermore, an attorney from one of the organizations advised me that I should abandon my pursuit of law and “choose another field” because of LSAC.
Despite this, I marched onwards – seeking new experiences in the fields of law and computers. I continued to work at both the Courts and LASOC while mentoring teens with disabilities through Capernaum and aiding litigants in Small Claims at the Homeless Outreach Program. Additionally, under the assumption that LSAC would continue to deny me accommodations, I took the LSAT under normal testing conditions and I improved my score. After months of preparation and refinement, I applied for law schools a third time. As I did with the other two years that I applied for law schools, I prayed that I could overcome what I dubbed as the “Ivory Gate” – a misguided obstruction fabricated from LSAC’s practices and policies toward people with disabilities, and the tolerance of these practices by law schools.
And then it happened...
After so many years of trying… of weariness… of frustration… of disdain… and my continued personal faith, hope, passion, and sheer determination… It finally happened. The moment—my moment—finally arrived.
I was accepted to the University of California, Irvine | School of Law.
And here I am today, retelling my life’s sojourn while pursuing fully my life’s dreams and passions. I did it! I overcame the institutional “Ivory Gate” for higher education. Though LSAC denied me accommodations a fifth time—providing only four sentences in its denial letter even though I submitted a totally new psychological examination—and all but one other law school denied me admissions, I accomplished my life’s dream for obtaining a legal education.
At UCI Law, I will finally have the opportunity to pursue my passions for cyberlaw and disability rights and advocacy. I am already one of the most active incoming students for my class, arranging and hosting numerous gatherings for all incoming students through the art of technology… And I am doing all of this before law school even starts! Additionally, I am creating a new student organization for disability rights at UCI Law: Anteater Disability Advocates (ADA) (the Anteater is UCI’s official mascot). Though UCI Law’s program will be challenging, I have overcome much more to get where I am today.
As I said before—and hopefully as this testimony has demonstrated—I sought to give it my all. I owed it not only to myself to give my best, but I owed it to all my future clients who I will be representing in the legal battlefield, those with and without disabilities. This is not the end of my journey, but unfortunately, this is the end of my testimony. In the end, even though I could not prove that I was normal with dyspraxia, I proved that I was exceptional through my character.