Is Law Practice Technology the Answer to an Overcrowded Legal Job Market?December 5, 2013
It is no secret that new law school graduates face a saturated market. America is overrun by lawyers — roughly six per each new job, however, the delivery of law services has changed drastically. It is no longer possible to teach law practice management without taking into account the impact of information technology on law practice.
Law schools are now beginning to realize that new graduates already trained in law practice technology are more attractive to traditional employers, especially graduates that end up at small- to medium-sized firms — ones that recognize the need to innovate, but might not necessarily have the budget to hire an IT department.
New concentrations include specialized courses on different legal technologies and innovations, including automated document assembly, legal project management, knowledge management and virtual lawyering.
Some law schools already offering these courses include:
Brooklyn Law School – Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship, or CUBE, which aims to prepare law students for the emerging opportunities in tech. Students can either take a single class or focus their studies at the center. During the program, they will work with local entrepreneurs and tech start-ups, discovering the kinds of legal and policy issues new businesses, especially those with new technologies, face—taking a hands-on approach.
Chicago Kent Law School’s Center for Access to Justice and Technology.The Center strives to make justice more accessible to the public by promoting the use of the Internet in the teaching, practice, and public access to the law. The Center conducts research, builds software tools, teaches classes and supports faculty, staff and student projects on access to justice and technology.
Columbia University School of Law, Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic. Students in the clinic learn contemporary law practice through hands-on experience using the digital technologies that are reshaping the profession.
Georgetown Law School’s Iron Tech Competition and Technology, Innovation and Law Practice Seminar. Students get in-depth knowledge in particular practice areas, learning the nuts and bolts of the law and then transferring that expertise into the bits and bytes of online legal resources. And they present their final projects in the Iron Tech Lawyer Competition.
Michigan State Law School’s Reinvent Law Laboratory. The program is devoted to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in legal services. The project has spawned new courses in e-discovery, quantitative methods for lawyers, professional ethics and technology, and entrepreneurial lawyering, as well as a London study abroad program that exposes students to deregulation and innovation in the U.K. legal market.
New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy’s Certificate Program in Mastery of Law Practice Technology.Participants in the Institute aim not only to understand the interplay between law and technology, but also to influence its evolution with changing times. The Institute develops and applies theories of information and communication to analyze law and policy. It also seeks to design new technologies and systems that will best serve the values of democracy and social justice in the digital age.
University of Miami Law School’s LawWithoutWalls Project. LawWithoutWalls uses state-of-the-art technology to share new legal concepts and tools across borders and in tandem with experts from fields like business, who often join the interface along with legal scholars.
Stanford Law School Codex Center for Legal Informatics where researchers and entrepreneurs design technologies for a better legal system.
Suffolk Law School’s new Institute for Law Practice Technology and Innovation.The Institute was established to study how technology is revolutionizing the practice of law, creating both opportunities and challenges for lawyers in every practice setting. The Institute offers programs, courses, public lectures, and other information designed to educate students, the legal profession, and the public about technology’s transformation of the practice of law and the delivery of legal services.