The New Normal of Legal Education

May 10th, 2013

My friends Dan Katz and Renee Knake are up to some cool stuff at ReInvent Law Labs at Michigan State. On the ABA Journal Legal Rebels blog, this dynamic duo explains how technology is shifting the “new normal” in legal education.

Greetings fromĀ ReInvent Law, our law laboratory devoted to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship at Michigan State University College of Law. You read that right. We are law professors with a laboratory where we teach technology, analytics, innovation, and entrepreneurship in legal services. We are law professors devoted to training lawyers for the law jobs of the 21st century. And yes, math will be on the exam. This is the New Normal in legal education.

The legal services and products industry is undergoing a significant transition. For many current and future legal jobs, understanding the law is a necessary but no longer sufficient condition for success. We believe that part of the solution to the crisis currently facing the law profession and legal education involves principles of technology, legal analytics, design thinking, and the advent of new, process-driven delivery models.

We do not purport to have solved all of the issues in legal education, but we are working thoughtfully and quickly to offer students the additional skills that employers have told us would make a difference in their respective hiring decisions. Most law students are not fully practice-ready at the moment of graduation. However, anyone can make meaningful contributions when they walk in the door, especially those trained in skills relevant to the growing use of technology and data analytics in legal services. To that end, we have launched a set of courses designed to equip a new crop of law students to add value immediately. These courses include: e-discovery, entrepreneurial lawyering, lawyer regulation and ethics in a technology-driven world, legal information engineering, quantitative methods for lawyers, and virtual law practice. Additional courses planned include topics such as project management, legal analytics, economics of the legal market, design thinking for lawyers, and artificial intelligence and law.

I spoke at ReInvent Law a few months ago at MSU, and will be giving a talk at ReInvent Law London in June. Dan and Renee are doing driving innovation. Keep an eye on this program.