Technology is increasingly being used to provide legal services, which demands a new breed of innovative lawyer for the 21st century. Law schools are launching specialist LL.M.s in response, giving students computing skills — from llm-guide.com by Seb Murray

Excerpts:

Junior lawyers at Big Law firms have long been expected to work grueling hours on manual and repetitive tasks like reviewing documents and doing due diligence. Increasingly, such work is being undertaken by machines – which can be faster, cheaper and more accurately than humans. This is the world of legal technology – the use of technology to provide legal services.

The top law schools recognize the need to train not just excellent lawyers but tech-savvy ones too, who understand the application of technology and its impact on the legal market. They are creating specialist courses for those who want to be more involved with the technology used to deliver legal advice.

“Technology is changing the way we live, work and interact,” says Alejandro Touriño, co-director of the course. “This new reality demands a new breed of lawyers who can adapt to the emerging paradigm. An innovative lawyer in the 21st century needs not only to be excellent in law, but also in the sector where their clients operate and the technologies they deal with.” 

The rapid growth in Legal Tech LL.M. offerings reflects a need in the professional world. Indeed, law firms know they need to become digital businesses in order to attract and retain clients and prospective employees.

 

From DSC:
In case it’s helpful or interesting, a person interested in a legal career needs to first get a Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree, then pass the Bar. At that point, if they want to expand their knowledge in a certain area or areas, they can move on to getting an LL.M. Degree if they choose to.

As in the world of higher ed and also in the corporate training area, I have it that the legal field will need to move more towards the use of teams of specialists. There will be several members of the team NOT having law degrees. For example, technologists, programmers, user experience designers, etc. should be teaming up with lawyers more and more these days.

 

‘Academic capitalism’ is reshaping faculty life. What does that mean? — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

Professors have long savored their position outside of commercial systems. But these days, there’s plenty of signs of capitalism within the academy—scholars seek support from funders in hopes that the findings will lead to commercial applications, departments market their courses to students as pathways to lucrative careers and universities replace tenure-track positions with adjunct jobs to cut costs.

Last week on the latest installment of EdSurge Live, our monthly online discussion forum, we dug into the topic, often referred to as “academic capitalism.”

 

6 reasons why higher education needs to be disrupted — from hbr.org by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Becky Frankiewicz

In our view, until the entire higher educational system prioritizes the classroom over the research lab, it will be a challenge for this dynamic to change.

Excerpts:

  1. Employers need skills, not just knowledge or titles:
  2. Students want jobs, not knowledge or titles:
  3. Students are paying more and more to get less and less:
  4. Students have unrealistic expectations (understandably) about college:
  5. Many elite universities prioritize research, often at the expense of teaching:
  6. Instead of boosting meritocracy, universities reinforce inequality:

The fundamental question we see is this: If a university claims to be a top educational institution, shouldn’t it admit the people with the lowest test scores, and turn them into the leader of tomorrow (as opposed to admitting the people with the highest income and test scores, who would probably rule the world tomorrow regardless of those three or four years in college)?

From DSC:
My hat’s off to those who teach in those institutions who “open wide” the gates of entry!!! They are the professors who have to work their tails off to help their students. 

And shame on the elite institutions who continue to value research/grant $$ waaaaaay over teaching — all while charging more and more for less and less…and while many graduates students end up teaching a lot of the undergraduate students. Those graduate students most likely haven’t been taught how to teach either!

And what higher ed pays adjunct faculty members is a complete disgrace — while many coaches make millions of $’s. Full-time faculty members — and administrators/provosts/other members of leadership — who were suddenly put into the adjunct faculty member’s role/wages would be outraged and demand immediate change.

 
 

TECHREPORT 2019: Practice Management — from lawtechnologytoday.org by Alexander Paykin

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center surveyed a sample size of 53,252 attorneys regarding the technology and software both available and utilized in their firms. This TECHREPORT analyzes both the responses of these attorneys on a variety of technological developments and changes occurring in the legal industry and the existing trepidation to adopt certain technologies.

The world continues to shift towards a more technological focus, while the legal industry has not followed suit in many aspects. The use of practice management systems has not seen any real growth throughout the last four years despite high satisfaction ratings. There still remains a need for an all-inclusive practice management system that would not require firms to purchase a variety of different programs for specific tasks, and the switching costs of practice management systems remain a concern for many firms—particularly solo and large firms.

Overall, technology continues to be developed for the legal industry in abundance, however, in many sectors of the industry, various sized firms are hesitant to adopt these advancements, leading to steady or declining growth rates for much of these technologies. The size of the firm also has a large influence on the technologies a firm may adopt, and this makes it hard to predict what technologies may appeal to what firms.

Most law technology is still fairly new, and it has quite far to go before being developed enough to displace traditional ways of accomplishing tasks that many firms value now. There still exists a desire for more and newer technologies that will make this switch easier, and without the feasibility to switch to these software programs more efficiently and effectively, the legal industry will still wait to adapt to the evolving technological world around us.

 

Report: College leaders not confident they can beat new competition — from educationdive.com by Hallie Busta, with thanks to Ray Schroeder for posting this out on LinkedIn

Excerpt:

While they say their institutions are prepared to meet students’ changing needs, they are less confident in their ability to address new forms of competition or change how the public views higher ed.

The report comes as higher ed stares down potentially fewer traditional students, more competition online, less state funding, and concerns over public perceptions of higher ed. These pressures have made smaller public and private institutions vulnerable to consolidation and even closure.

 

FTI 2020 Trend Report for Entertainment, Media, & Technology [FTI]

 

FTI 2020 Trend Report for Entertainment, Media, & Technology — from futuretodayinstitute.com

Our 3rd annual industry report on emerging entertainment, media and technology trends is now available.

  • 157 trends
  • 28 optimistic, pragmatic and catastrophic scenarios
  • 10 non-technical primers and glossaries
  • Overview of what events to anticipate in 2020
  • Actionable insights to use within your organization

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Synthetic media offers new opportunities and challenges.
  • Authenticating content is becoming more difficult.
  • Regulation is coming.
  • We’ve entered the post-fixed screen era.
  • Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is the new Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Digital subscription models aren’t working.
  • Advancements in AI will mean greater efficiencies.

 

 

A fresh look at blockchain in higher ed — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
Blockchain is advancing in higher education, as it is in all of society, with some interesting new applications and ramifications.

Excerpt:

Perhaps more importantly, blockchain will facilitate the difficult shift in higher education that we are now navigating. We are moving from a degree-centric environment in which the university is engaged in the life cycle of the student while on campus to one that is more of a supply-chain design providing lifelong learning. In the emerging mode, the university will engage the student prior to their first arrival on campus (or online) through their degree experience and far beyond. Michael Matthews of the Tambellini Executive Advisory Council suggests the magnitude of the impact is akin to other seismic changes we have seen in recent decades:

Just like the iPod, iPad, and smart phone revolutionized the music industry, blockchain technologies will eventually break apart the systems we have been using. The ability to put purchased data such as music in the hands of users eventually changed the systems and devices that were once needed. The whole music industry shifted the way songs were purchased and delivered once the supply chain was created to accommodate the devices.

 

 

Five principles for thinking like a futurist — from er.educause.edu by Marina Gorbis
Thinking about the future allows us to imagine what kind of future we want to live in and how we can get there.

Excerpt:

In my twenty years at the Institute, I’ve developed five core principles for futures thinking:

  • Forget about predictions.
  • Focus on signals.
  • Look back to see forward.
  • Uncover patterns.
  • Create a community.

 

 

As the microcredential market booms, don’t forget the learner — from edsurge.com by Kathleen deLaski

Excerpt:

While this system of microcredentials theoretically will make learning more affordable, portable and relevant, will a diverse range of learners know how and why to take advantage of it? And perhaps more importantly, will they trust it?

The simple answer: only if we intentionally focus on designing around that question.

 

Also see:

  • The Learner Revolution — from eddesignlab.org
    Reflections from five years of applied human-centered design at 100+ institutions

Excerpt:

Higher education is in the throes of a Learner Revolution that will fundamentally change the way students and institutions interact. We see the beginning of this movement now and will see all colleges and universities responding —- or not, at their peril — within a decade. Trends ranging from declining numbers of traditional students, to the rise of artificial intelligence, to the shrinking half-life of job skills have conspired toward this wake-up call moment for all but the most exclusive global higher education brands. At the same time, and partly because of the pressure, leaders are addressing the needs and goals of a changing student population. The calls for “student-centered” design can be heard throughout the ecosystem today, in a way that was just beginning when we started the Education Design Lab.

Colleges and universities must be much more deeply attuned to the twin pressures of learners’ decreasing appetite for debt and employers’ honing of their hiring requirements. That means, in part, an increasing focus on work-relevant skills and competencies—both technical skills and soft skills such as communication and systems thinking. Degrees as the most valuable workforce currency are beginning to give way to more nuanced competencies.

Yet, for the estimated three-quarters of students with at least one non-traditional characteristic, higher education has been in need of serious redesign for at least two decades.

 

Can you make AI fairer than a judge? Play our courtroom algorithm game — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao and Jonathan Stray
Play our courtroom algorithm game The US criminal legal system uses predictive algorithms to try to make the judicial process less biased. But there’s a deeper problem.

Excerpt:

As a child, you develop a sense of what “fairness” means. It’s a concept that you learn early on as you come to terms with the world around you. Something either feels fair or it doesn’t.

But increasingly, algorithms have begun to arbitrate fairness for us. They decide who sees housing ads, who gets hired or fired, and even who gets sent to jail. Consequently, the people who create them—software engineers—are being asked to articulate what it means to be fair in their code. This is why regulators around the world are now grappling with a question: How can you mathematically quantify fairness? 

This story attempts to offer an answer. And to do so, we need your help. We’re going to walk through a real algorithm, one used to decide who gets sent to jail, and ask you to tweak its various parameters to make its outcomes more fair. (Don’t worry—this won’t involve looking at code!)

The algorithm we’re examining is known as COMPAS, and it’s one of several different “risk assessment” tools used in the US criminal legal system.

 

But whether algorithms should be used to arbitrate fairness in the first place is a complicated question. Machine-learning algorithms are trained on “data produced through histories of exclusion and discrimination,” writes Ruha Benjamin, an associate professor at Princeton University, in her book Race After Technology. Risk assessment tools are no different. The greater question about using them—or any algorithms used to rank people—is whether they reduce existing inequities or make them worse.

 

You can also see change in these articles as well:

 

 

DC: In the future…will there be a “JustWatch” or a “Suppose” for learning-related content?

DC: In the future...will there be a JustWatch or a Suppose for learning-related content?

 

 

From DSC:
Regular readers of this blog will know that for years, I’ve made it one of my goals to try and raise awareness of the need for institutions of higher education to lower their tuitions! For example, Yohan Na and I designed the graphic below way back in 2009.

 

Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo

 

Through those years, I cringed when I kept hearing various Boards say, “We only increased our tuition by ___ % — the lowest percentage increase in our state.” The direction was completely wrong! It needed to go down, not up. If you work in higher ed, I encourage you to find a way for that to happen at your own institution.

So I’m very pleased to report that the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School — where I work — was able to reduce tuition by 21%!!! 

Don’t get me wrong, some tough decisions were made to pave the way for that to occur. But this will be the case no matter which institution of higher education that you look at. An institution will have to make some tough choices to reduce their tuition. But it HAS to occur. We can’t keep this upward trajectory going.

If we don’t change this trajectory, we will continue to put enormous gorillas (of debt) on our graduates’ backs! Such debt will take our graduates decades to pay off. 

We need to be aware of these invisible gorillas of debt. That is, our students move on…and we don’t see them. But their gorillas remain.

 



Addendum on 10/18/19:

Victoria Vuletich, the assistant dean at the Grand Rapids, Michigan campus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan’s Legal Talk Network to discuss what the law school experience is like for the current generation of students. 



 

Priorities for new lawyers are changing. Can the legal industry keep up? — — from law.com by Annie Datesh, Natasha Allen, and Nicole Hatcher, Atrium
As the legal field continues to move forward, it is well-primed to place greater value on technological advancements, diverse leadership, and healthy work cultures over settling for the status quo.

Excerpts:

Yet the legal industry these lawyers are joining is evolving, and now increasingly hosts a new cohort of professionals—those shaped by technology and innovation, and who value diversity, mentorship, and efficiency over homogeneous workplaces with minimal coaching and exhausted capacities.

Amid a strengthening job market, why are jobs in a generally well-respected industry being looked over in favor of other industries? One reason could be the legal industry’s notorious lack of progressiveness. The industry’s technology landscape is one such area of slow growth; its lack of diversity is another.

The legal industry’s long-standing dismissal of technology, while slowly changing, is fairly well known. While legal technology holds enormous potential for law firms, the industry as a whole has been famously slow to adopt modern technologies or meaningfully innovate on the traditional law firm business model. Why? For smaller firms, money can be tight, and solutions can be expensive.

 

The good news is that the legal industry is slowly but surely becoming more receptive to the benefits of evolving its traditional approach to the business and practice of law. Legal technologies continue to offer increased efficiencies to law firms, should they elect to adopt them, and the call for diversity and other cultural improvements within firms and the legal industry more broadly is on the rise.

Those players in the legal industry who are able to recognize prevailing industry trends now will be in the best position to act on them.

 

An inserted graphic from DSC:

 

The Future Ready Lawyer — from Wolters Kluwer

Excerpts:

Leveraging technology as a strategic advantage is characteristics of high-performing businesses and professionals around the world. The same is true for the legal sector. Technology is a differentiator, and will become even more important as legal professionals recognize and leverage the unprecedented insights, capabilities and efficiencies that technology delivers. In addition, the emerging legal ecosystems will demand it, as tech-empowered players outside of the traditional legal profession continue to enter and disrupt the market.

 

Excerpt from the Future Ready Lawyer

 

 

From DSC:
It’s interesting to note how many times the words “technology” (205 times) and/or the word “technologies” (77 times) appear in that report.

 

 

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