Suffolk adds tech and innovation concentration

Suffolk University Law School has added a new concentration designed to prepare law students for the changing legal marketplace. The school's Legal Technology and Innovation concentration will include courses on legal innovations and technologies, such as automated document assembly, legal project management, knowledge management and virtual lawyering.

“Technology is causing dramatic upheaval in the legal industry,” said Andrew Perlman, director of Suffolk Law’s Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation. “The new concentration is designed to help students adapt to those seismic changes so that they can more effectively compete in the new legal marketplace.”

Suffolk’s Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation has already sponsored programs, created a mobile web app that enables lawyers to find Massachusetts legal resources more easily, applied for – and won – an opportunity to use Google Glass in the classroom, and partnered with a corporate counsel at Kia Motors America on a legal technology audit designed to test the technological competence of outside counsel. Earlier this year, the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force ranked Suffolk Law one of the top 13 schools for law practice technology.

Suffolk officials said the concentration is one of the first formal programs in the country to equip J.D. students with the skills and knowledge to compete in a rapidly evolving legal marketplace.

In addition to taking courses in the practice area, students must complete a three-credit internship at a company or law firm that employs innovative approaches in the delivery of legal and law-related services. Students also must attend six hours of seminars and programs by leading experts in the field and complete four electives, many of which will be offered jointly with Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School.

“We want law students to think like entrepreneurs,” Perlman said. “There is tremendous potential for law graduates to fill new niches in the legal industry, such as founding an e-discovery company or creating a software process that makes law firms more efficient and effective.”

Perlman said the new concentration will help students succeed in both traditional and non-traditional legal employment.

“New law-related jobs are emerging in which having a J.D. is a distinct advantage, such as jobs at companies and firms that engage in project management, e-discovery and automated document assembly.” He said . “We’re trying to give students an edge when seeking these kinds of positions as well as more traditional jobs.”

The concentration will begin enrolling students immediately.

In its brief existence, Suffolk’s Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation has sponsored programs, created a mobile web app that enables lawyers to find Massachusetts legal resources more easily, applied for – and won – an opportunity to use Google Glass in the classroom and partnered with a corporate counsel at Kia Motors America on a legal technology audit designed to test the technological competence of outside counsel. Earlier this year, the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force ranked Suffolk Law one of the top 13 schools for law practice technology.

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