I may have been a fish out of water at a collection of law lab leaders on Tuesday night. After all, I am not a law professor teaching tech and innovation to tomorrow’s leaders.

Participates gathered from ten law schools around the world. My first two breakout sessions were chaired by professors in Hong Kong and Singapore.

There’s no defined definition of a law lab program. Look at each lab’s description in the announcement of this meetup to get a feel of the scope their work.

One thing loud and clear was that access to justice and the effective access to legal services, in general, was the reason for technology, innovation and their initiatives.

Law schools participating included:

  • University of Hong Kong’s LITE (Law, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship) Lab (Hong Kong)
  • Suffolk University Law School’s Legal Innovation & Technology (LIT) Lab (US)
  • Singapore Management University’s Centre for Computational Law (Singapore)
  • Flinders University’s Digital Law Lab (Australia)
  • Univ. of Ariz. Law’s Innovation for Justice (US)
  • Vanderbilt’s Program on Law and Innovation (PoLI)
  • Vermont Law School’s Center for Legal Innovation (US)
  • Northeastern’s NuLaw Lab (US)
  • Northwestern’s Law and Technology Initiative (US)
  • The Michigan State University Center for Law, Technology & Innovation (“CLT&I”)
  • Duke’s Center on Law & Technology (US)

We need to recognize that software engineers from Apple are now coming to law school. We need to have classes that teach students technology and data analysis and how this applies to the practice of law was one theme discussed aside to their programs.

Another was that technology is not part of a program that’s running independent of the law school curriculum, tech and innovation needs to be integrated into the curriculums.

As a lawyer you need to be ready to work with clients facing technology issues. Students can’t say I didn’t come to law school to learn tech when you could be representing a non-profit child care center dealing with privacy issues.

Law school programs in the meetup were teaching a myriad of tech, including:

  • AI
  • Data literacy
  • Data analysis
  • Blockchain
  • Use of applications such as a Tableau

Beyond teaching particular courses, these programs have developed software solutions helping deliver access to legal services. These services rendered to the consumer of legal services, whether a consumer or a multinational corporation.

Big thanks to David Colarusso of Suffolk Law and Brian Tang of the University of Hong Kong who pulled the event altogether.