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Michele DeStefano

Visiting Professor of Law

Winter 2024

Michele DeStefano
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Recognized by the ABA as a Legal Rebel and by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers (North America) as one of the top 20 most innovative lawyers, Michele DeStefano is a Professor of Law at the University of Miami and a Faculty Chair in Harvard Law School’s Executive Education Program and Guest Faculty at IE School of Law. She is the founder of LawWithoutWalls, a multi-disciplinary, international, intergenerational community of more than 2,000 lawyers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and students who collaborate to create innovations in the business of law and, importantly, hone new mindsets and skillsets. Recently, Michele helped co-create the Digital Legal Exchange, a non-profit designed to inspire general counsel and their teams to become digital leaders in their businesses to drive commercial value. DeStefano researches, writes, and speaks about creative problem solving, collaboration, culture change, and innovation in law. Her latest article, Don’t Let the Digital Tail Wag the Transformation Dog: A Digital Transformation Roadmap for Corporate Counsel was recently published this Fall 2022. Her latest books include Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law and New Suits: Appetite for Disruption. Her two new books, Leader Upheaval: A Guide to Culture Creation, Client Centricity, and Collaboration, and The Leader Upheaval Handbook: Lead Teams with the 3-4-5 Method will be published Spring 2023. Michele earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College and J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Additional Info


  • Leader Upheaval: A Guide to Client-Centricity, Culture Creation, and Collaboration (Forthcoming 2023 Ankerwycke ABA Publishing).
  • The Leader Upheaval Handbook: Lead Teams with The 3-4-5 Method of Innovation (Forthcoming 2023 Ankerwycke ABA Publishing).
  • Chicken or Egg: Diversity and Innovation in the Corporate Legal Marketplace, 91 Fordham Law Review 1209 (2023).
  • Don't Let the Digital Tail Wag the Transformation Dog: A Digital Transformation Roadmap for Corporate Counsel, 17 Journal of Business and Technology Law, Volume, 183 (2022).
  • Michele DeStefano's Inspirational Ideas for Leading Innovation in the legal world. (2022-05-23), IE Law School, Law Ahead Newsletter.
  • Legal Levers in a Virtual World: Teaming Online to Do Different Things Differently, International Bar Association, Law Firm Management Publication (2020-05-06).
  • From Expert Lawyer to Innovative Lawyer, published @IE Insights (2019-12-17).
  • Innovation: A New Key Discipline for Lawyers and Legal Education, Chapter in book, New Suits (2019).
  • The Secret Sauce to Teaching Collaboration and Leadership to Lawyers: The 3-4-5 Method of Innovation, Chapter in book, New Suits (2019).
  • New Suits: Appetite for Disruption in the Legal World, Stämpfli Publishing, co-curated by Guenther Dobrauz and Michele DeStefano (2019).
  • The Law Firm Chief Innovation Officer: Goals, Roles, and Holes, Modern Legal Practice, (October 2018 and January 2019).
  • There's Me and There's Me and There's Me: It May be Too Much, But Too Little of Me is Not Enough, Chapter in book, 50 Lessons for Women Lawyers, (March 2019).
  • Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation, Ankerwycke Publishing, (2018).
  • Transforming lawyer-client collaboration and creating lasting change through LawWithoutWalls, co-authored with Erika C. Pagano, chapter in The Legal Tech Book. Reemers Publishing Services GmbH (Fall 2018).
  • Client-Centered Innovation at HSF, Harvard Law School Case Study, co-authored with Nathan Cisneros and Lisa Brem (2018).
  • The Chief Compliance Officer: Should There Be a New "C" in the C-Suite?, Vol. 2, No. 5 Harvard Law School's The Practice (2016).
  • How Can Law Firms Innovate?, with James Batham, Iberian Law. (2015).
  • Compliance and Claim Funding: Testing the Borders of Lawyers’ Monopoly and the Unauthorized Practice of Law, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 2961 (2014).
  • Claim Funders and Commercial Claim Holders: A Common Interest or a Common Problem?, 63 DePaul L. Rev. 305 (2014).
  • Creating a Culture of Compliance: Why Departmentalization May Not Be the Answer, 10 Hastings Bus. L.J. 71 (2014).
  • NonLawyers Influencing Lawyers: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen or Stone Soup?, 80 Fordham L. Rev. 2791 (2012).
  • Hiring Teams, Firms, and Lawyers: Evidence of the Evolving Relationships in the Corporate Legal Market, with John Coates, Ashish Nanda, David Wilkins, 36 Law & Soc. Inquiry 999 (2011).
  • Taking the Business Out of Work Product, 79 Fordham L. Rev. 1869 (2011).
  • Advocacy in the Court of Public Opinion, Installment Two: How Far Should Corporate Attorneys Go?, 23 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1119 (2010).
  • Advocacy in the Court of Public Opinion, Installment One: Broadening the Role of Corporate Attorneys, 22 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1259 (2009).
  • The Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege: Third-Rate Doctrine for Third-Party Consultants, 62 SMU L. Rev. 727 (2009).


  • B.A. Dartmouth College, 1991
  • J.D. Harvard Law School, 2002