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Last weeks’s post from Toby on “The First Time I Saw a Computer Practice Law” jogged my mind of my recent trip to Georgetown Law School and talking to Roger Skalbeck about assigning his class called “Technology, Innovation and Law Practice.” The major assignment for the class was to create an application that could be used in the practice of law. At the end of the course, there was a competition called “The Iron Tech Lawyer” where the students displayed their creations to a panel of judges and explained how the technology worked to assist (or replace) the lawyer in making practical decisions in the practice of law.

I’ve embedded the video of the Nightly Business Report’s coverage of the competition, and as you watch it, you might notice a couple of the same things that I did:

  1. The technology is available now to replace some of the functions that we have thought only lawyers could do properly.
  2. Watch the excitement on the faces of the students. They are not thinking of technology of killing off the practice of law, but rather enhancing it and making it available to the masses.
  3. The law professor did notice that the technology may lead to a reduction in overall work for lawyers, but that the trade off is that lawyers can make up for this by servicing the legal needs of those that might not have been able to get access before.
Whenever someone talks about tech replacing lawyers, the initial reaction of the establishment, especially bar associations, is to circle the wagons and fight against it. Watching how a few law students could come up with practical applications for the practice of law for a classroom project should put everyone on notice that this is the wave of the future, and fight it though you might, it will eventually become a reality. Better to start facing it now and begin understanding ways of using it to supplement the practice of law, or one day the wave of new technology will simply drown those that think they can fight to keep it from changing the way they practice law.