The eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the ABA was created in 2000 by then President of the ABA, William Paul. At that initial meeting Gary Munneke, a founding member of the Task Force and the leading law school educator and author on the subject of law practice management and then Chair of the Law Practice Management Section of the ABA (now deceased), recommended that law schools update their law practice management courses to reflect the impact that the Internet would have on the practice of law.
13 years later there are few law schools that have made a sustained commitment to teaching what the Task Force calls "law practice technology". By "law practice technology" the Task Force does not mean technology and law courses such as Intellectual property courses, patent law courses, courses in copyright, etc.
Instead the Task Force means the intersection of internet technologies and the practice of law. It is no longer possible to teach law practice management without taking into account the impact of information technology on law practice. We include within this category courses that train law students in document automation, legal expert systems, and other course work that has an impact on the nature, productivity and profitability of law firms.
The Task members believe that to educate law students to be "practice ready", particularly for law schools where the majority of graduates will end up in solo and small law firm practice, understanding the principles of law practice technology are essential.
The Top Legal Practice Technology Schools Project
In honor and in memory of Gary Munneke, the eLawyering Task Force is working on a project to identify the top law schools teaching legal practice technology today. Our methodology is to review law schools web site catalogs and also seek input and recommendations from law schools themselves through a self-nomination process.
The criteria for inclusion on the list is:
1. A full-time faculty member dedicated to teaching and coordinating a program in law practice technology. This subject matter should be the focus of serious research, including the development of innovations in law practice.
2. At least two credit courses in this subject matter such as law practice management, law practice technology, ediscovery and big data, outcome prediction, legal project management, virtual lawyering, expert legal systems development, document automation, and/or other coursework which deal with innovation in the delivery of legal services and law practice.
3. Non-credit courses taught by adjunct instructors don't quality.
4. Law schools sponsoring incubator programs are interesting, but these programs involve lawyers who have already graduated, not law students.
The initial list includes the following law schools, in alphabetical order:
Chicago Kent Law School's Center for Justice and Technology under the leadership of Ronald Staudt and CALI for their work in piloting law school clinical programs and for their innovative On-Line Course on Digital Law Practice under the leadership of John Mayer.
Columbia University School of Law, Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic, under the leadership of Professor Conrad Johnson, Professor Mary Marsh Zulack, and Brian Donnelly, Lecturer in Law. Conrad Johnson is chosen as 2013 Professor of the Year.
Maurer School of Law at Indiana University under the leadership of William D. Henderson for his courses on Legal Project Management and the Law Firm As a Business Organization and for Directing the Center on the Global Legal Profession.
New York Law School's Certificate Program in Mastery of Law Practice Technology under the leadership of Dan Hunter.
We are adding today, (May 17, 2013) a 13th school to our list - the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law because of a $1,000,000 grant made just last week by W. Bruce Lunsford to establish and support the W. Bruce Lunsford Academy for Law, Business + Technology. Lunsford, is a 1974 graduate of Chase College of Law, and is chairman and CEO of Lunsford Capital, LLC, a private investment company headquartered in Louisville, Ky. The Academy will be operated by the NKU Chase & Informatics Institute under the leadership of Professor Jon Garon. Click here for the full press release.
The CodeX - Stanford Law School Center for Legal Informatics - under the leadership of Mark A Lemley and Roland Vogl. See course on Legal Technology and Informatics by Ron Dolin.
Suffolk Law School's new Institute for Law Practice Technology and Innovation under the leadership of Andrew Perlman. Co-Chair of Advisory Committee are Jordon Furlong and Marc Lauritsen.
This is a preliminary list. The eLawyering Task Force is inviting self-nominations from law schools and recommendations by others either commenting the Task Force's list serve or for convenience by simply adding comments to this blog post. Our plan is to publish a more complete list by the Annual Meeting of the America Association of Law Schools in January, 2014 in New York City.
Disclosure: I am Co-Chair if the eLawyering Task Force. Any opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, and not the opinion of the eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association..