Student Showcase: Charles von Simson

Charles von Simson

After years of experience at law firms in the U.S., Charles von Simson connected with the GPLLM while working as a partner at Buffalo-based Barclay Damon.  As a member of the firm’s active cross-border practice group, he was looking for ways to develop better business connections in Canada. He was also ready to go back to school, and the Innovation, Law and Technology stream dovetailed nicely with his practice area. “It had a good fit with my professional life at the time,” he says.  But what happened next surprised even von Simson.  He applied for a position at ROSS Intelligence, an AI firm that develops software for legal research. “I got the job.” he says. “It was an offer I just couldn’t refuse.”

There was a clear link between the GPLLM and his sudden career shift, von Simson says. “For one thing, I really did gain a level of fluency in technology issues that put me in a position to be more useful at ROSS.” And the company was specifically seeking an American lawyer to work in its Toronto office. Von Simson filled the role perfectly. As what’s called a subject matter expert, he helps software engineers understand how lawyers think and how they approach legal research. “I think technology is going to change the way law is practiced,” he says. “It’s going to happen sooner and more radically than anybody expects.”

Von Simson was so pleased with GPLLM, he applied to join the faculty. He’ll be teaching software commercialization in the fall. “The classes are really like being in a great conversation,” he says. “The professors who were good left a lot of room for conversation between students and teachers. I felt like they all got as much out of it as they put in. It’ll be really fun to teach, especially with such engaged students.”