Law school innovators who are changing the game in legal education are receiving some well-deserved attention today.
Bloomberg Law’s inaugural Law School Innovation Program recognizes law schools whose innovative programs are advancing new approaches to student instruction, legal technology, experiential learning, and other facets of legal education. And we are showcasing 10 innovations in particular that are leading the way.
Why Innovation Is Needed Now
The legal market is changing, and law schools must adapt to make their students ready to enter the workforce with the skills and experiences needed to address clients’ evolving legal and business needs.
Law school faculty, staff, and administrators nationwide are stepping beyond traditional doctrinal teaching methods and innovating the ways they educate and prepare future lawyers for their careers.
Results from Bloomberg Law’s Law School Preparedness Survey show the need for these innovations, with lawyer respondents saying that skills in client communications and interactions, legal technology, legal operations, and data literacy would be helpful for new attorneys to have before entering practice.
These critical skills — and many others — are not always taught in school, leaving law firms and legal employers to train unprepared new attorneys on the fly.
But law school innovation serves as a remedy by exposing students to new topics early and providing them with the experience they need to hit the ground running when they enter the legal market.
Applications From More Than 60 Schools
That’s where the new Law School Innovation Program comes in.
Bloomberg Law asked law schools to share success stories about their innovations: how they work, how they promote student development, and how they advance the legal industry as a whole.
Innovators hailing from more than 60 schools in more than 25 states applied to the program. Their diverse innovations included institutes, clinics, courses, teaching methods, and other similar educational programs, with themes ranging from technology and business to social justice and student well-being.
Applications were evaluated by a select team of practicing attorneys, legal technology and legal operations professionals, in-house counsel, recent law school graduates, and Bloomberg Law experts who have worked with and alongside law firms, businesses, and academic institutions.
The Top 10
The panel’s evaluations yielded a list of 10 finalists, based on the criteria of innovation, impact on students, ability to advance the legal industry, and replicability. They are:
- Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic, Brooklyn Law School
- First Year Trial Practicum, Drake University Law School
- Legal Analytics & Innovation Initiative, Georgia State University College of Law
- The National Appellate Clinic Network, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
- Privacy Law Certificate, Santa Clara University School of Law
- First ABA accredited fully-online J.D. program, St Mary’s University School of Law
- Legal Innovation & Technology Concentration, Suffolk University Law School
- Integrated Education on Well-Being and Thriving in the Law, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
- Legal Business Design Hub, University of Richmond School of Law
- Leveraging Technology to Promote Access to Justice Course, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
We will soon highlight these finalists, as well as selected innovations from other applicants, in upcoming articles. So stay tuned to learn more about our inaugural group of innovators.
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