How the Process of Building Legal Technology Creates Professional Agility


As the legal and technology sectors continue to merge, the growing importance of applying technology to solve traditional legal problems cannot be overstated. Today’s lawyers must possess not only substantive legal knowledge, but also a high level of technical sophistication and the desire and ability to embrace innovation. Several U.S. law schools offer courses in which students apply substantive legal knowledge and analysis to build functional technologies intended for real world implementation for the benefit of self-represented individuals. These courses teach students about how technology functions, its role in narrowing the access to justice gap, and fulfill many pedagogic goals of the law school curriculum, including providing instruction in legal analysis. Equally important, hands-on technology courses also provide a natural context for students to engage in the self-regulated learning cycle of forethought, performance, and reflection, and thereby become active learners who graduate from law school secure in their professional identities and with the professional agility to innovate, adapt, and grow, not only on a personal level, but on a scale that has the potential to transform the practice of law. This article demonstrates that the future of the legal profession will be shaped by lawyers with technical expertise who bring fresh perspectives sparked by exercising independent thought and strengthened by the fulfillment that comes from implementing a tangible work product designed to promote access to justice.




legal technology, law school curriculum, hands-on training, active learners, legal profession, access to justice