Maybe not quite as delicious as the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but still very potent, is the coming together of two sometimes disparate fields: law and technology. There are so many open questions in the area of legal technology, and this leads to a lot of opportunity for those who are interested in being at the cutting edge of legal innovation. MSL students are ideally equipped to become involved in this area – unlike most other law students, MSL students often bring a strong understanding of technology to the study of law. This provides them with a unique perspective on such issues as how technology can be incorporated to improve the delivery of legal services, how to assess AI and computational technologies, how to leverage technology to close the justice gap, new business models for law practice, and many more. Not ALL MSL students are interested in the working in the legal profession – many will plan their careers in pure STEM or business areas (and they will be better off in these areas with an understanding of legal issues). But for those who develop an interest in the legal profession, and recognize the unique role that they might play, there is a ton of opportunity.
Northwestern Law School is a leader in this area, both through the Master of Science in Law program, and through numerous other related initiatives; the Law School is attempting to train a cross-functional group of professionals who understand connections between the technical side and the legal side. There are frequent events and panels and discussions on these issues – more activities than one student can attend. Within the MSL curriculum specifically, there is a cluster of classes that aims to help prepare students for this type of work — classes such as Innovation Diffusion in the Legal Industry; Litigation Operations and eDiscovery; Assessing AI & Computational Technologies; Legal & Regulatory Issues in Emerging Industries, and many others. A healthy percentage of our graduates have gone on to work in legal departments or in allied positions in the legal industry – many of these folks did not come to the program expecting to work in the legal field, but found themselves drawn in by interest and opportunity.
As we confront new issues involving law & technology, and as opportunities in this area continue to expand at a rapid pace, the MSL will be at the forefront in training the very best non-lawyer legal professionals in the world. Look for additional posts in this area as part of our “Legal Technology Series” on this blog.