Jul 10, 2013 (09:07 AM EDT)
14 Reasons Law Schools Must Teach Tech
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
"Legal education in this country is in crisis," Goodenough said. That's true for two reasons, he said: One, because the traditional law firm has run its course as an efficient way to provide law services at scale, and two, because technology is radically remaking the practice of law, and law schools are being slow to respond.
Goodenough, a professor at the Vermont Law School and a Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center, recently published "Developing an e-curriculum," a paper that has stirred interest. Goodenough already has spoken at several law schools about his ideas, and received at least two more informal invitations after his talk at Berkman.
Goodenough said that most law schools have not even begun to broach getting rid of courses rendered outmoded by technology, such as legal research. He also said technology is such an important part of legal practice that law schools should offer specialty master's degrees related to technology, something that IIT Chicago-Kent School of Law has done. He also said law schools need to be more aggressive about creating distance learning, in part to reduce costs for their students. Vermont Law School has been a leader in legal distance education.
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Crisis creates opportunity, and some of the opportunity belongs to IT departments at law schools, which have expertise in technology that most law professors lack. Goodenough said that faculty inexperience with technology is a reason why law schools have been slow to adapt their curriculum to the digital age, except for talking about digital law. That's beginning to change. He cited first movers such as Michigan State University, IIT Chicago-Kent School of Law and Suffolk University in Boston, which last year opened its Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation.
The head of Suffolk's ILPTI, Andrew Perlman, was in attendance at the talk, wearing a pair of Google glasses he won the right to buy as part of Google's competition for the first pairs.
Perlman, who used the glasses to take pictures of Goodenough's slides, said Suffolk's IT department has been instrumental in supporting the new Institute, including building a litigation app for it, and recently hiring a programmer to work with it. Suffolk is also adding courses such as "Lawyering in an Age of Smart Machines," which teaches law students programming skills. Perlman said that with law firm jobs drying up, law students with technology skills are more attractive to potential employers.
A digital revolution in law schools "is happening," Goodenough said. It will take five to 10 years, but it's on the way.
Here are Goodnenough's 14 reasons why digital lawyering matters:
2. Other new digital areas.
3. Technology is changing research and writing.
7. Digital competition.
8. The need for good legal software.
9. Digital jurisprudence.
10. Law is getting "Turinged."
11. Computational law.
12. Law tech is a $20-billion-a-year marketplace.
14. Creative destruction.