There is an old adage which states that “Innovation is doing the obvious before it is obvious to others.” Suffice to say – this is a totally obvious but it also very correct. Getting at least some STEM folks to help lead law forward is really important for the future of this field. So kudos to Harvard for doing this – particularly because as they say in the NFL — this is a ‘copycat league.’
“School officials particularly hope to lure students interested in science, technology, engineering and math to the field of law, because advanced technical knowledge and skills are in demand. “It’s incredibly valuable to have your attorney understand the underlying biology or the underlying coding systems or the underlying physics that are driving the legal questions,” said Jessica Soban, associate dean for admissions and strategic initiatives.
It is worth noting that this quote frames the effort as working to develop lawyers for technology – which is the right way to sell this idea to a conservative (intelligent but not technically inclined) faculty.
The obvious flip side of this is that some subset of these same folks will also help champion technology (and innovation) for law itself. I would expect HLS to try to make some sort of play in this direction (but would need more folks with relevant technical skills on the core faculty) … perhaps they could consider a Joint Venture with that other academic institution in Cambridge ?
It was my pleasure to join a world class group of corporate lawyers at the 2015 PLI Corporate Counsel Institute in NYC. Thanks to Mark Roellig (Mass Mutual), Randy Milch (Verizon) and the folks at PLI for inviting me to participate!
#Legal Hacking is a Movement. This is what Robert Richards from Legal Informatics Blog declared back in 2012. It turned out to be a very accurate prediction. The rise of the legal hack movement is among the most interesting developments in our industry — with significant growth coming in the second half of 2013.
Thousands of individuals in the #LegalHack movement are coming together across the globe to connect, discuss and try solve persistent problems that plague both the legal industry and public sector / judiciary. The past months alone have featured more than 10 events in locations such as Washington, DC, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Bologna, Brasila, London, Geneva, Ottawa, Brooklyn, Paris, etc. RC Richards has been compiling a list here.
Additionally, there are law+technology meetup events taking place in locations such as Seattle, Cincinnati, Austin, Los Angeles, etc.
While certainly not a silver bullet for all problems, technology can potentially help alleviate some of the persistent issues in both the private and public sector including firm efficiency, access to justice, better courts and a better justice system, more effective regulation, perhaps a less dysfunctional congress (well – that might be impossible) …
I should just note for those of you not familiar with this fact – “hacking” has multiple meanings. The context in play here is the positive sense of the word -> developing creative solutions to particular problems that exist in the world (rather than say committing crime using a computer). So the well know site Lifehacker (which helps me all of the time) is devoted to hacking your life in order to make it easier.
For the legal industry, this looks a lot like the HomeBrew Computer Club (circa about 1976)!
Today I have the pleasure of serving as the Keynote Speaker at LegalWeek Strategic Technology Forum at the Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte just outside of Rome. This is a very intimate gathering of the managing partners and/or chief technology officers of the some of the world’s largest law firms. Participating law firms include but are not limited to: Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Ashurst, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bird & Bird, Irwin Mitchell, Charles Russell, Herbert Smith Freehills, RPC, DAC Beachcroft, AKD, DWF, Lewis Silkin, Nabarro, SJ Berwin, Taylor Wessing, Trowers & Hamlins, Mayer Brown, Al Tamimi & Company, Thrings, CMS Derks Star Busmann, CMS Hasche Sigle, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, Fidal, Kromann Reumert, Latham & Watkins, Leigh Day & Co, Osborne Clarke, Perkins Coie, Pinsent Masons, Riverview Law, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.