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Reactive or Proactive? The Ambivalent Nature of Today's Legal Tech Education

Monday, May 06, 2019

Reactive or Proactive? The Ambivalent Nature of Today's Legal Tech Education

"This isn’t your parents’ law school curriculum. In a growing number of schools around the country, law students are getting the opportunity to dive deep into what was once an afterthought for professors and attorneys alike. Technology courses that teach everything from app development to using artificial intelligence and legal analytics are catching students’ attention and preparing them for what may be a whole new world of legal practice.

For the most part, these courses are a response to the growing demand for attorneys to use legal tech platforms to better and more cost effectively serve their clients, as well as the growing availability of such platforms themselves. But while a reactive development, these courses are also defining the future of legal practice. They’re changing the way prospective attorneys think, and by extension, how they will approach the practice of law in the future.
That law schools are moving to inform their students about the technologies currently impacting the industry should come as little surprise.

“Attorneys in particular have a responsibility to their clients to be current with technologies and understand the different benefits they can achieve for their client by leveraging technology, “ said Frank Giovinazzo, a managing director at alternative legal services provider InCloudCounsel and a Harvard Law School graduate.

Class Now in Session

The ways law schools are instilling such tech knowledge varies widely. Chicago-Kent University for instance, will officially launch a Masters of Law degree in legal innovation and technology in fall 2019 that aims to get students up to speed on a wide scope of legal tech topics. Meanwhile, Cornell Law School launched a one semester course to allow its J.D., LL.M. and MBA to develop their own legal apps, something the Columbia Law School Legal Technology Association is encouraging its own school to do as well.

What’s more, Georgia State University has set up a legal analytics lab to teach its law students and even local attorneys how to analyze and leverage data. Similarly, the University of Kansas School of Law launched a legal analytics course in fall 2018, which it plans to continue in the future..."

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