Lori Cohen's AI-Enabled Return to Law

A Story of Resilience and Technological Breakthrough in the Legal Field

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In March 2022, on what seemed like an ordinary morning, Lori Cohen woke up unable to speak. She tried to greet her dog Lightning and nothing came out.

As the Co-Chair of Global Litigation at Greenberg Traurig, Lori has achieved national recognition for the 58 defense records she’s won on behalf of her clients over the last thirty years. She’s known as the “Trial Wizard” for her unique combination of scientific expertise and public speaking ability.  

After almost two years since she lost her voice, doctors have yet to find the cause, let alone a cure. Although she hasn’t given up hope, losing her voice put her trial work on pause and made day to day life difficult. 

“The practice of law is a great and meaningful profession and not one to be taken for granted. Even after my thirty three years of practicing law, I truly love it and am eminently proud of being a lawyer,” Cohen said. 

“I especially love and thrive on being a trial lawyer, which is all I ever wanted to be or do growing up. It is because of these deep sentiments that I am fighting so hard to stay in this practice and to return to court and trials rather than giving up, which I have no intention of doing.”

While she hasn’t given up hope of a cure, she’s been forced to seek alternatives. In partnership with Gerard Buitrago, her colleague and longtime friend, they found Speech Assistant, a text-to-speech app. While good for short responses, it is too robotic to use in the courtroom.

When they discovered ElevenLabs, they realized they could create a replica of Lori’s voice that sounds just like her using old interviews and court presentations. That’s when AI Lori, aka Lola, came to be. By Fall 2023, Lori was back in the courtroom using Lola to argue motions on her behalf. 

Jonathan Orent, an attorney at Motley Rice who has appeared opposite Lori in several cases, had this to say: “I have litigated against Lori for years. With her new technology she has once again found her voice. She is every bit as formidable now as she was before.“

Lori and Gerard were recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Legal Technology by Law.com & Legaltech News. You can listen to Lori’s award speech, delivered by Lola, here:

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Lori Cohen ALM Awards Speech
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We were fortunate to learn about Lori’s inspiring story when we saw the coverage from Law.com. After meeting with Lori and Gerard, we know that there’s a lot more we can do to make our technology better for Lori and others that have lost their voice. To support day to day communication, we need lower latency & the ability to generate audio locally on a mobile device.

We’re eager to find more ways we can use our technology to support others with accessibility needs. If you work at an accessibility-focused organization that can benefit from emotive text-to-speech technology, please get in touch with us via this form.

ElevenLabs team meets Lori, Gerard, and Matthew from Greenberg Traurig

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