Organizing Team

    Zachariah DeMeola

    Zack is the Director of Legal Education and the Legal Profession at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) where he works to improve the delivery of legal services through a variety of projects that focus on education, the intersection of law and technology, and the regulation of the legal profession. DeMeola joined IAALS in 2017 after having litigated in private practice for six years. He began his legal career in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Privacy, and Social Media law groups of Mayer Brown LLP in Los Angeles. Prior to joining IAALS, DeMeola was an associate at Baker Hostetler LLP’s Denver office, where he focused his practice on data breach and privacy issues, class action litigation defense, and complex commercial matters.


    In 2015, Colorado Law Weekly recognized DeMeola as one of seven Colorado “up and coming lawyers.” DeMeola graduated from William & Mary School of Law in 2010, where he received the George Wythe and Ewell Awards for leadership and service. DeMeola also obtained a Master’s degree in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, and received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Alli Gerkman

    Our dear friend and Denver Legal Hacker co-founder Alli Gerkman passed away on August 31, 2019 at the age of 41. She had been valiantly fighting a rare cancer since her diagnosis in 2015 at the age of 36.


    Alli Gerkman was a Senior Director at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), overseeing programmatic objectives and strategy, with expertise in legal education, the legal profession, and delivery of legal services. She served on a number of Colorado Supreme Court committees focused on improving the profession’s ability to serve consumers, and she had served, at the invitation of Chief Justice Nancy Rice, as chair of the New Lawyer Working Group for the Colorado Chief Justice’s Commission on Professional Development. She was also a member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Board and the National Advisory Council for Law School Transparency.


    Gerkman was honored with the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation’s Raising the Bar award, which was granted in 2017 to “Women Lawyers Who Raise the Bar Through System Reform or Innovation.” She was also selected as a 40 Under 40 by the Denver Business Journal in 2018. In 2011, she developed an online resource for the Colorado Bar Association CLE that received the Association of Continuing Legal Education’s 2011 Award of Professional Excellence for use of technology in education. She was a fellow of the American and Colorado Bar Foundations and a member of the Colorado Women’s Bar Foundation Circle of Minerva.


    She will forever be missed.

    Natalie Anne Knowlton

    Natalie Anne Knowlton is a director of special projects at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). She focuses on legal and empirical research and analysis, facilitating collaboration among stakeholders, and undertaking national outreach and advocacy to enable continuous improvement in practices and procedures for divorce and child custody matters. Formerly, she was Director of the Honoring Families Initiative at IAALS, Manager of the Quality Judges Initiative, and before that as a Research Analyst spanning IAALS' initiatives. She has been at IAALS since April 2006.


    Knowlton received her J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a M.A. in International Studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. During her time at DU, she was involved in an International Criminal Tribunal Externship, through which she worked with the United Nations tribunals prosecuting war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2002 with a B.A. in International Affairs.

    Joseph Schieffer

    Joseph Schieffer is the founder of A2J Tech, a social enterprise that builds technology to improve access to justice. Joseph can be found collaborating with advocates to develop user-centered solutions. Joseph has presented at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association Conference, the Legal Services Corporation Innovations in Technology Conference, the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference, and the LGBTQ Legal Aid Summit.


    Joseph is an innovator in leading information technology projects. He has earned the Project Management Professional designation from the Project Management Institute, and the Certified ScrumMaster designation from Scrum Alliance. He holds a Master's of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor's of Science from the United States Air Force Academy.