15 February 2019

Challenging the status quo

Events Insights

Disruption, whether in the legal world or elsewhere, is all about ‘getting comfortable with being uncomfortable’.

These wise words from Angus Murray, Director of the Legal Forecast, set the tone for Lawcadia’s Design Thinking Workshop on the future of legal education.

With a range of attendees from education, industry, legal and technology, it was an inspiring day of networking, debating and brainstorming how the lawyers of tomorrow will be educated and put to work.

Dean Song Richardson from the University of California-Irvine kicked us off with a glimpse into how this relatively new law school is shaping their curriculum and building a reputation to be reckoned with.

In only ten years, they have achieved a ranking of 21 in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of Best Law Schools, along with an A+ grade for practical training. As one of only ten law schools in the United States to do so, it’s testament to their commitment to providing students with an education that’s not only relevant, but practical, agile and responsive to the changes the world of law is currently navigating.

This was followed by Angus Murray’s real-world example of how law students are shaping the future by taking a direct role in the development of new technology. As a Co-Founder and Director of the Legal Forecast and an advocate for our digital and civil rights, he’s leading the push with student led hackathons that encourage collaboration, innovation and disruptive thinking.

Passionate debate followed about the importance of access to justice in an increasingly digital world and the efforts professionals like Andrea Perry-Peterson from the University of Queensland are making to ensure it is not the exception, but the rule.

Master Inventor Dr Neil Sahota offered his insights into how AI can (and is) playing a key role in the practice of law and why ‘robot judges’ are a very real possibility the UN is considering in their ongoing efforts to balance the scales of justice.

The day concluded with a Design Thinking activity about the skill sets clients and employers are looking for when employing new graduates, and how the education system must change to accommodate this.

From ‘blowing up the system’, to introducing consistent, standard practical training and ‘nano degrees’, the ideas were free flowing and directed at achieving practical, flexible and proactive change.

So what did we learn?

The future’s uncertain, but our response to change doesn’t have to be. Rigid and traditional ways of thinking and applying the law are becoming increasingly irrelevant, ushering in a more creative approach to how we educate the lawyers of the future. Failure is not only inevitable, but necessary for wide-scale change, and is something modern legal professionals must embrace if they are to thrive in the long-term.

One thing that’s certain is the passion, enthusiasm and drive for a new approach, and the commitment of modern educators to equip their students for an exciting, but changeable future. If the attendees of this workshop are any example, the future certainly looks bright.

We’d like to thank all our attendees for their energy on the day, and we look forward to hosting more events like this in the future.

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