Trump’s Rising Stars And Worst Nightmares: The 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 In Law And Policy
Meet the new frontier of politicians, legal entrepreneurs and attorneys.
When politics sway to the unprecedented in 140 characters or less, these are the young people who’ve demonstrated a vision for stability. For the 2019 30 Under 30 Law & Policy class, vision is the driver. From the youngest Republican and Democrat state representatives to a legaltech startup backed by Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, these are the governing forces of our future.
View the Forbes 2019 30 Under 30 Law & Policy Gallery here.
For everyone who’s hated their attorney, there’s Atrium. Twenty-nine-year-old Nicolas Cortes’ AI-enabled law firm automates basic legal functions and bills like Netflix, instead of by the hour. These much-needed innovations to law have earned the year-and-a-half-old company $75.5 million in venture funding. Cortes cofounded Atrium with 35-year-old Justin Kan, the cofounder of esports streaming service Twitch and 45-year-old attorney Augie Rakow. Cortes, who is not a lawyer, became aware of how cumbersome legal work could become while assisting Kan in his angel investments. “This will be the future of law,” says Cortes, “both in how lawyers are employed and what companies will expect.”
The elected politicians who made this year’s list represent vastly different voter contingencies and political parties, yet they share confidence in ideals that remains unshaken by youth. Take 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has gone from supporting her family by waiting tables and working as an educational director to being the youngest Congresswoman in the history of the U.S. House of Representative. Two of the youngest State Representatives in the country, 24-year-olds Republican Representative Jena Powell and Democratic Representative Jewell Jones are fighting for their districts in the Ohio and Michigan Houses of Representatives, respectively. Powell sold her first company in 2017 to focus on the billboard company she cofounded with her brother. After facing seemingly obtuse zoning regulations, she ran for office and was elected November 6. On the other side of Lake Erie, Michigan House of Representatives Representative Jewell Jones is obtaining a dual degree in finance and political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn while serving as the youngest elected representative in her state’s history. Alex Morse, who came out as gay in middle school, was elected mayor of his hometown Holyoke, Massachusetts, from his dorm room at Brown University in 2011. He was reelected in 2013, 2015, 2017, making him one of the longest-serving mayors in the town’s history. He fights for progressive legislation—opening the town to legal marijuana businesses, offering refuge to displaced Hurricane Maria victims and restoring the city’s downtown.
Do not discount legal all-stars modernizing the way we interpret the law. 28-year-old Olivia Ensign is one of three staff attorneys on the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, representing death row clients in appeals and post-convictions in the Southern U.S., ultimately fighting the systemic racism that pervades death row. At white-collar law firm Covington & Burling, Lauren Moxley, who specializes in privacy, surveillance and cybersecurity, represented Microsoft in its U.S. Supreme Court Case challenging the government’s attempt to gain access to customer emails. And there’s 29-year-old attorney David Marella, who was a senior staffer on President Trump’s opioid task force.
If you’re fighting against climate change, you might want to meet Kelsey Skaggs. She and two fellow Harvard Law alums cofounded the Climate Defense Project to provide legal defense for environmental activists and pursue climate litigation. Another attorney-activist Fulbright Scholar Lauren Blodgett has represented over 70 refugees seeking gender-related asylum as an immigration attorney at pro-bono Safe Passage Project. She also just launched The Brave House, a Brooklyn, New York, shelter for young female immigrants.
If anyone has proved the power of turning tragedy to power, it’s Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, the cofounders of Never Again MSD. After losing 17 classmates and teachers in one of the most devastating school shootings in U.S. history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Gonzalez and Hogg organized March for Our Lives, one of the most largely attended protests in U.S. history.
And it wouldn’t be the 2019 30 Under 30 Law & Policy list if we didn’t recognize leaders in social media application—for good and evil—and regulation. Former Director of Intelligence at the National Security Council David Agranovich is managing threat disruption at Facebook as the division’s public policy manager. Prior to his role at Facebook, Agranovich coordinated the global expulsion of 153 Russian intelligence officers as the director of intelligence at the National Security Council. At Instagram, 29-year-old head of politics and government, John Tass-Parker leads the platform’s politics and election work around the world, recently responsible for their voter-turnout campaign, likely contributing to one of the highest midterm-election turnouts in U.S. history.
No one better knows the use of social media for evil than Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie. Formerly the company’s director of research, Wylie developed the psychological profiling used to influence the Brexit vote and 2016 Presidential election, creating echo chambers for the alt-right, awaking extremist movements. Realizing he was working on one of the most significant cybersecurity breaches of all time, Wylie anonymously told ‘The Guardian’ about his work at Cambridge Analytica, making public what would be known as one of the most significant abuses of social media in the history of the internet. And it is exactly this that inspired 29-year-old Emerson Brooking to coauthor ‘LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media’, about the contemporary arsenal of social media for terrorism and war.
To form the most diverse and most exceptional class for the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy list we enlisted judges who’ve led in the legal and political worlds in varied ways. Anthony Scaramucci was Trump’s righthand man for a whirlwind 11 days; David Axelrod crafted President Obama’s iconic hope-based campaigns and served as his senior advisor; and as the Dean of the University of Virginia School of Law Risa L. Goluboff educates the next generation of policy superstars. Eva Shang, an Under 30 herself, cofounded Legalist, a litigation financier that takes an algorithmic approach to lawsuit funding and has been used by attorneys nationwide.
This article originally appeared in Forbes.