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September 3, 2013

"Tech skills are the key to law students’ future employment ..."

Though I have not blogged in this space for a very long time, my own long history here of discussing how I think technologies should be at the center of law school innovation prompted me to want to blog about this new ABA article which has a headline that provides the basis for the title of this post.  Here is how the article starts:

Law professor Daniel Martin Katz is betting the pot – his future and those of his students – on a radical model of legal training and job placement.

Katz's ReInvent Law Laboratory, which he co-founded and co-directs with fellow Michigan State University College of Law professor Renee Newman Knake, aims to prepare students and practicing lawyers for what the face of law will become as traditional delivery models stagnate and legal technology startups and alternative service providers continue to expand.

"The part [of the legal profession] that is actually growing – the Clearspires, the Axioms, legal process outsourcers and software companies – they need people with particular sets of skills who have domain expertise and can build software that works to solve legal problems," says Katz, an associate law professor with a tech and public policy background – an unusual combination in legal academia. "They need lawyers who know the law, understand software and technology, and [know] how to mesh the two."

Katz's familiarity and expertise with visual design, computer science and big data are missing from most law school faculties, says MSU Law dean Joan W. Howarth, who recruited Katz to be a change agent at her school. "I was especially pleased when Dan took his expertise and his passion to questions about the future of the legal profession and industry," Howarth says, "because he has the skills to be able to think about, write about and push forward any kind of subject."

To that end, the ReInvent Law module includes a core curriculum of classes designed to teach students and practicing lawyers "hard skills" such as quantitative legal prediction (including technology that predicts whether a client has a case, the odds of winning it and which arguments should be used in support). The program also promotes the research and development of legal service models that are affordable, accessible and widely adopted through startup competitions and free daylong seminars designed to spark ideas and conversation among leading entrepreneurs and legal innovators. That crowd includes Katz's students, who are gaining the attention of legal employers – and getting hired.

Some related prior posts:

Posted by DAB

September 3, 2013 in Legal profession realities and developments | Permalink

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