Why More Law Schools Are Prioritizing Technology Integration

Universities are investing in video conferencing, artificial intelligence and more to ensure future lawyers remain competitive and prepared.

Lawyers are beginning to show interest in incorporating technology into practice — the American Bar Association has even dedicated an entirely new section of their website to available, relevant technologies. As this interest grows, law schools are incorporating innovative solutions into their curriculums to prepare students for legal careers that will involve more technology than ever before.

The push for a more technology-oriented law school experience comes as professionals and educators become more aware of the inevitable merge of traditional practice with the tools of tomorrow.

“If we can help students understand that technology, and specifically AI, can create a much more streamlined, efficacious means of connecting lawyers to consumers of legal services, and reorient or recalibrate what it means to provide legal services by lawyers, then that’s an enormous benefit for us as legal educators in educating our students to the value and capacity of law to provide access to justice,” says Daniel Rodriguez, former dean of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in a Legal AI News article.

Northwestern University Law Offers Modern Learning Spaces

Following a recent trend among business schools, some law schools are establishing tech hubs within their institutions to encourage the use of technology among law students, as well as to inspire innovations relevant to the profession.

At Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, professors were intrigued with the possibilities of incorporating technology into their lessons following a faculty-wide conference where they were able to experience some of the tech firsthand.

Since the conference, the law school has established the TEaCH Law hub, with newly designed classrooms equipped with tools like Cisco’s WebEx.

Classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including large touchscreens and video conferencing tools.

Law School Classes Explore the Possibilities of AI

Law professionals are especially excited about using artificial intelligence to help cut down on time-consuming tasks like research.

Only 10 percent of American Bar Association-accredited schools currently teach classes related to artificial intelligence, but experts expect that number to increase as schools begin to incorporate technology into practicing current law more efficiently — and applying it to new laws that will rise out of the incorporation of new technology into everyday life.

To help establish automated technology in law practice, Michigan State University College of Law has established LegalRnD, a mission-based research center focused on innovation. 

“Once process improvement has begun and continuous improvement is part of an organization’s culture, we find many opportunities to exponentially increase efficiency and quality and improve outcomes through document automation, workflow automation, rules-based expert systems, and other readily available, basic technologies,” Daniel Linna, Director of LegalRnD tells Reuters. “Done properly, getting control of processes also means creating legal-services delivery metrics and capturing data from these processes.”

Law Schools Launch Tech Hubs to Encourage Student Curiosity

At Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, administrators announced the development of a new tech hub, offering students new courses that will touch on relevant topics such as the Internet of Things and cybersecurity. 

"This unique on-campus program will help train the next generation of legal professionals and provide our clients with an alternative to costly services including document review, exhibits coding and legal research," Bill Johnson, CEO of Technology Concepts & Design Inc., a legal services software company helping to establish the hub, told Cleveland.com

Meanwhile, at Duke University’s Duke Law Tech Lab incubator, a number of companies have raised funding for new innovations in law technology. One company in particular, Skopos Labs, garnered attention last year for creating artificial intelligence that could predict if a bill would pass congress 65 percent more accurately than simple guessing.

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Aug 23 2018