Law schools are learning how digital innovations can better prepare students for careers in a sector already experiencing an unprecedented rate of change.
Academics, computer scientists, technology consultants, lawyers and students have gathered at the University of Cumbria to explore how legal education is evolving to ensure lawyers of the future develop the right skills for the transforming sector.
Delegates from the UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia were among those attending the Lake District conference, sharing best practice and exploring how advances such as virtual reality and smartphones apps are transforming learning and helping students.
“Lawyering in a Digital Age” took place at the Ambleside campus of the university, the institution which has the 2020 Guardian University Guide’s top ranking law course in the north west of England and is eighth in the UK.
Highly respected legal education academic Ann Thanaraj, conference organiser, said: “The future of law looks different and the future of what we do with legal knowledge will be used across a variety of different careers. Skills and knowledge will need to be cross-boundary and interdisciplinary to address the grand challenges of our time, and legal education has a strong position to play in ethics, science, technology and regulating the digital world.
“Law schools are operating in a time of accelerated pace of change and court services of England and Wales are seeing a six-year £1bn investment from government that is modernising and digitalising aspects of the services offered. Our professional practices have embraced technological advances and transformations and such new ways of working offer us an opportunity to reflect on what it is required from a modern law school that is innovative and future facing.
“Law is often still perceived to be something based in books and taught using traditional methods when we know that the role of legal education and professional services are evolving quickly and incorporating areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and 3D printers, to name a few. As founder of this event, my aim is to make this shift to the digital age happen for the field of legal education.”
The event was sponsored by the Legal Education Research Network.
The Society of Legal Scholars, Association of Law Teachers, British and Irish Legal Education and Technology Association, and Society of Computers and Law also supported the conference.