Topping the field of law schools approaching legal technology are Michigan State University and Suffolk University. Both of these programs are introducing legal technology, actively working to change the practice of law, and influencing the shape legal technology will take in the future.
Michigan State University College of Law: ReInvent Laboratory
The ReInvent Law Laboratory was created by MSU Law professors Daniel Martin Katz and Renee Newman Knake in early 2012 with a goal of incorporating the innovation of law, technology, design, and delivery into the legal services industry. ReInvent Law has been so successful that they have hosted conferences around the world to discuss their work and share ideas. Given ReInvent Law’s meteoric rise in just two years, it’s easy to see there is an enormous void where legal technology needs to be.
ReInvent Law is special because it is a disruptor. And a disruptor in an industry that badly needs disrupting. Technology has revolutionized other industries by making information more accessible and delivering it to consumers in simple, smartphone-compatible formats. Other industries have also started to focus on “big data,” a concept that the legal industry seems to have missed thus far. ReInvent Law is attempting to bring big data to the law.
ReInvent Law is innovative and influential. We should all keep an eye out for what they bring to the legal technology conversation in the months and years to come.
Suffolk University School of Law: Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation
A first of its kind. The Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation and, in tandem, the Legal Technology and Innovation Concentration for students were launched in early 2013. Both have already garnered a lot of attention and praise. Professor Andrew Perlman runs the Institute, and has become a “Google Glass Explorer” and uses Google Glass in the classroom.
Suffolk has put a lot of effort into developing a rigorous curriculum and various internship opportunities to prepare law students to practice in a changing legal landscape. In the hopes of fostering unique and innovative thought about legal technology, Suffolk also hosts “hackathons,” events where large numbers of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming. Since Suffolk understands that many minds are better than one, they will be hosting the ABA/Suffolk Hackathon next week.
Suffolk’s student-centered approach will be sure to produce some legal innovators in the next few years and will contribute to an acceleration in the adoption of technology in the legal field.
There are a variety of other schools that have begun to offer coursework or internships focused exclusively on legal technology. Hopefully, this trend will only continue to gain momentum as we train our future lawyers to be innovative disruptors, and early-adopters of legal technology.
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