National Law Journal, Law Schools' Tech-Training Conundrum: If We Teach Them, Will They Get Jobs?:
A growing number of law schools are offering students a curriculum or training around project management, automation and analytics, hoping to create a pipeline of talent that would quicken innovations that could challenge the current Big Law model.
The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law became the latest school with such a program. .... It joins legal technology certificate programs at Suffolk University Law School, a multischool program called Law Without Walls and Michigan State University College of Law, where the professor running Chicago-Kent’s new The Law Lab, Dan Katz, started a similar program [LegalRnD).
About a dozen other schools, including Columbia Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, offer legal-tech clinics or seminars, professors in the area said. And Cornell Law School will welcome its first students in September for an LLM class in Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
But even as one slow gear in the legal market begins to turn, forward-thinking law professors still face a dilemma related to the pace of change among those around them. Namely, is the industry evolving fast enough to create demand for these tech-savvy graduates?
“All we’re looking for is a set of partners that will hire our graduates because they will learn things like project management as part of their legal education, and they’re going to learn how to use tech to be a better lawyer,” Katz said. “That’s our argument.” ...
“Law schools, for the most part, have been woefully inadequate. They’ve been asleep at the switch because the skills are changing,” said William Painter, a partner at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Painter has helped his Am Law 100 firm with more than $330 million in revenue last year make moves into a tech-focused legal practice. The firm’s internal development of a project management software called BakerManage has led to an entire new revenue stream. The firm now licenses the software to clients through a partnership with law firm consultancy Legal Shift.
Baker Donelson employs more than 25 people, many of whom are lawyers, in areas like knowledge management and process management. “We’ve hired young lawyers coming out of law school that for whatever reason had a focus in law school on this,” Painter said.