Legal Education in the 21st Century

This week my research centered around finding any resources discussing the changing legal curriculum via the introduction of various technology. Through my search, I was able to find a great article, Law School Education in the 21st Century: Adding Information Technology Instruction to the Curriculum , where authors Kenneth Hirsch and Wayne Miller argue for the creation and implementation of a law and technology curriculum to address the growing importance of technology within the field. As a result, they conclude their study by proposing and laying the foundation for the Technology in Law course still currently taught at Duke Law.

Similar to my own approach in tracking technological development, the authors researched the course descriptions listed on various law school websites to determine if any mention of the use of tech was present. However, they also surveyed via their list servers and consortium of other law schools to determine the “self-perception of the technology interested component of the law school community”(pg. 5). Click here to view a sample of the survey. 

Given the data already conducted, it provides me with a poignant and helpful window into key moments in time towards the use of technology within law school. As sited by Hirsch and Miller, most government arms such as the courts and firms already utilized technology and most legal research technology was already firmly embeded within both practice and legal education as early as the late 1980s to early 1990s. However, their purpose in conducting this research was in order to understand where and how schools were addressing this gap between practice outside of law school and legal curriculum and create a course to mend this disparity. In their view,

Thinking like a lawyer is no longer enough; a lawyer must also think like an information handler in an information age.

In continuing my research, I’d be interested in seeing if technology is still currently being used as more of a practicum tool rather than for the larger purposes outlined by the authors.

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