Teaching Technology: Deans’ Roundtable at Tech Show

[NOTE: Please welcome guest blogger, Michael J. RobakAssociate Director/Director of Information Technologies, Leon E. Bloch Law Library, University of Missouri - Kansas City.]

This year’s ABA Tech Show is from March 16 – 19, 2016. (http://www.techshow.com/ )   It is also the 30th anniversary of the Tech Show.  This year, for the first time, an academic specific event is going to be tied to the Tech Show.  The half day conference, on the morning of March 16, 2016 is an opportunity for law school faculty and administration, law students and practitioners to discuss the “how and what” of teaching technology as well as develop a framework for adding an academic track to the 2017 program.  Law students are particularly encouraged to attend the event and the show.  Pricing for law student admission to the 3 day event is $100. (Registration link here: http://www.techshow.com/pricing/ )

Below is the program description – if you are planning to attend the ABA Tech show, this will be a great way to start the event!

Teaching Technology in the Academy:  Are we finally at the Tipping Point?

A Law School Roundtable discussion held in conjunction with the 2016 ABA Tech Show
Hosted by IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law
March 16, 2016
9:00 – 12 noon
No charge for registration

Roundtable Description

2016 marks the 30th Anniversary of the ABA Tech show.  In 1986 the idea of “micro-computers” in law practice, to quote Jeff Arresty, one of the show’s founders, “was at its complete inception”.

Much has changed in those 30 years when it comes to legal technology.  But law schools have not yet fully embraced the importance of technology competency for law students.  Even though law schools have begun to bring technology courses to the curriculum and to experiment with innovative concepts like legal hackathons, much remains to be done. 

In July, 2014 and again in April, 2015, the University of Missouri – Kansas City hosted two conferences on Law Schools, Technology and Access to Justice.  These conferences were supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and brought together academics, legal technologists and members of the Access to Justice community.  One of the stated goals of the conferences was to produce a specific direction for the teaching of technology in law schools.  A set of principles, referred to informally as the Kansas City Principles, were developed and state as follows:

Fundamental Principal #1: 
In their role of ensuring that the lawyers of tomorrow have the core competencies to provide effective and efficient legal services, law schools have the responsibility to provide all students with education and training to enable them to understand the risks and benefits associated with current and developing technologies and the ability to use those technologies appropriately.

Fundamental Principal #2: 
In order for lawyers to fulfill their professional obligations to advance the cause of justice, it is essential that economically viable models for the delivery of legal services be developed that allow all members of society to have access to competent legal representation or effective self-representation regardless of income, and law schools should assist in the development of technologically-supported legal marketplaces that help identify available alternatives and, where legal representation appears most appropriate, to empower those seeking the services of a lawyer to identify and retain a competent lawyer of choice at reasonable cost.

Fundamental Principal #3: 
As part of their responsibility to assist in providing access to law and justice, law schools should use their legal knowledge and technological capabilities to make the law more comprehensible and readily available to the public so as to empower people to use the law and, where appropriate, lawyers, to improve the quality of their lives, and should include in this endeavor, among other initiatives , working with national, state, and local governments to provide the public with free on-line access to statutes, regulations, cases and other primary law at all levels of government.  

Fundamental Principal #4: 
In order to encourage community economic development and contribute to a strong global economy, law schools should educate lawyers who can stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation and assist in developing technology that can support economically viable means of providing affordable legal services to small businesses, social ventures and start-up enterprises.

Fundamental Principal #5: 
Because technology has the potential to reinvent the processes of law in ways that can help achieve access to justice, law schools should encourage their students, faculty and graduates to research, teach and implement non-traditional, technological approaches to legal innovation that will maximize the ways in which individuals and entities can achieve the benefits of law and legal process.

The explicit goal of this half day event is to not only continue to drive the discussion that led to these principles, but to develop an agenda for how to proceed, including how to involve the ABA Law Practice Management Section and leverage the opportunity provided by the ABA Tech Show.
In addition, there has never been a better opportunity for practitioners to help influence law schools on the best directions in which to proceed with technology training.  It is expected that the roundtable audience will include not only members of the academy but also practitioners, law students and vendor representatives, and the participation of all these segments in the conversation will be beneficial to determining next steps.
8:30 – registration
9:00 – 10:15 - Moderated Panel Discussion:
Meeting Technology Competencies for the 21st Century lawyer: The Role for Today’s Law Schools
     Moderator:            Dean Ellen Suni – University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law
     Panelists: Professor Ronald W. Staudt          - IIT Chicago- Kent School of Law
                        Professor Oliver Goodenough      - Vermont Law School
                        Professor William Henderson       - Indiana University Maurer School of Law
                        Dean Andrew Perlman                   - Suffolk Law School

10:15 – 10:30 – Break

10:30 – 12 noon – Discussion Forum
The panel will lead a discussion with members of the audience to move toward consensus regarding the next steps for advancing the teaching of technology in law school and examining how the ABA Tech Show can be part of these efforts going forward.

12 noon – boxed lunch

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