“It is no secret that the legal profession is undergoing profound change,” wrote New York Law School Dean Anthony Crowell in the introduction to the recently released Market Research Study to Explore Opportunities for New York Law School Students. “More than ever, lawyers at firms and corporate legal departments must be fluent in the technical and operational needs of their clients and organizations.”
To adapt to this changing market, New York Law School (NYLS) engaged the research consulting firm, Ari Kaplan Advisors, to assess the feasibility of launching an academic institute dedicated to training students in the business of law.
The firm researched the range of relevant programming and instruction provided at American Bar Association-accredited law schools, the current market conditions for legal services, and key business of law concerns. Ari Kaplan personally conducted in-depth interviews with leaders at law firms and corporations, as well as faculty members, from November 2017 to February 2018, analyzed online survey results from 114 professionals in law firms and corporate legal departments, and conducted two focus groups with day and evening law students.
- There is strong market demand for a Business of Law Institute.
Most (68%) of the law firm leaders reported that coursework in e-discovery/technology- assisted review would give employees or prospective employees a competitive advantage; this was followed by cybersecurity coursework (64%).
Law firm leaders would most like their new associates to have experience in advanced legal research (68%), e-discovery/technology-assisted review (67%), cybersecurity (65%), and legal technology selection and operation (56%).
Most (64%) of the corporate law department leaders said that the best way law schools can prepare their students to take advantage of changing market opportunities is to encourage them to learn about how technology is used beyond the law firm setting.
Corporate law department leaders said it was most important for their outside law firms to understand the applications and implications of privacy (73%), risk and compliance (71%), and cybersecurity (63%).
Law students in two different focus groups were most eager to learn about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and privacy—and were unanimously interested in attending technology learning labs.
Informed by the study’s findings, NYLS will launch its Business of Law Institute in fall 2018. Rather than concentrate on one area of law, such as mergers and acquisitions, or a primary theme, such as corporate responsibility, NYLS’s Business of Law Institute will align substantive exposure to cutting-edge legal topics with market demands and in-depth practical experience. It will feature hands-on learning labs, holistic integration with the corporate community, and adaptability—guided by consistent and earnest communication with corporate partners—with the goal of providing NYLS students with strategic advantages upon graduation, including new tools to bridge the access-to-justice gap.
The Business of Law Institute will be developed by faculty utilizing extensive new market data derived directly from law firm leaders and corporate counsel, as well as significant and ongoing input from industry leaders and NYLS students.
“Technology continues to profoundly impact the practice of law [and] NYLS remains fundamentally committed to leadership in developing innovative programming that serves the needs of a quickly evolving profession,” wrote Dean Crowell, who highlights that educational institutions must work to ensure that the next generation of lawyers has the hybrid business and technology coursework, practical training, and certifications to succeed, and that the law school’s history of educational innovation and its location steps from Wall Street give it a unique foothold in this emerging market.
To execute on this vision, NYLS’s Business of Law Institute will offer a mix of dynamic courses and programs, beginning this fall, including:
- The Business of Law Workshop and Seminar, which combines classroom instruction on timely regulations and technologies with hands-on work experience in a corporate legal department.
A technology-centric Learning Lab, where students can gain exposure to industry-leading legal tech tools, including the e-discovery software Relativity.
– Upper-level seminars on Compliance and Bank Regulatory Matters, Smart Contracting and Artificial Intelligence, and Cybersecurity and Risk Management taught by outside experts in these fields.
- A master class series featuring the following guest lecturers on topics related to regulatory structures, business concepts, and industry-standard technologies:
Jason Anderman, Vice President and Senior Counsel at American Express
Lawrence Montle (NYLS JD 2013), Chief Information Security and Privacy Officer at New York State Insurance Fund
Charles Post (NYLS JD 2010), Managing Counsel and Director at BNY Mellon; Head of Legal Data Management & Advisory
– Continuing legal education programs for attorneys working in relevant positions, to help them stay ahead of the legal tech curve.
The full release is here – https://www.nyls.edu/news-and-events/new-york-law-school-launches-business-of-law-institute-to-prepare-law-students-and-lawyers-for-careers-in-the-burgeoning-legal-tech-sector/
A link to the report is here – http://www.nyls.edu/BLIreport