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Arming law students with tech skills to boost client service

The legal industry is transforming. Therefore, young lawyers need the technological skills to create and use apps that deliver improved services for their clients.

Gone are the days wherein they simply rely on pen, paper and legal precedent when researching relevant case law, making calculations or undertaking mundane tasks like storing gigabits of documents.

According to a recent report, Australia’s Flinders University partnered with an AI software creator to help future lawyers develop the technological skills needed before they enter the legal profession.

They have launched a special platform for a new course wherein the University’s law students will work with not-for-profit organisations to develop legal apps designed to improve the delivery of their services.

Why the need for this new course?

The University would like to guarantee that their law graduates are technology literate leaders who have the skills and knowledge to navigate the digital age.

Using technology to increase the availability of legal information and the capacity to scale provision of legal services has potential to increase access to justice for the many people for whom legal advice is currently out of reach.

In a report covering 2016 – 2017, over 1,800 US start-ups received venture capital funding to develop specific products that improve existing services in the legal industry.

Employers are increasingly seeking qualified lawyers who can also implement tech solutions in a rapidly developing industry.

The business world is changing and so do the ways business demands service.

New technologies are emerging and the pressure is on for law firms, in-house lawyers and legal businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Technology is changing the practice of law and so it needs to form part of the study of law.

What will happen at the end of the semester?

The University’s Law will be hosting the Global Legal Hackathon in 2019, which will showcase the way innovation and technology can be used to solve issues in access to justice.

Moreover, it will demonstrate the importance of fostering that innovation.

At the end of the semester, students will come together to present their finished product before a panel of judges as they compete for the prize of best legal app.

After the course is completed, the not-for-profit organisations will have the opportunity to deploy their applications.

The Applications

The students have developed the following applications:

  1. Client Court Reporter

The app helps lawyers generate a letter for their client, which summarises the court order in plain English.  This helps the clients understand the key information about their cases.

  1. Disability Justice Discrimination App

The app helps inform people with disabilities whether they have experienced discrimination as defined in relevant state and federal legislation.

It also aids the organisation reach more individuals through the automation of tailored legal information.

  1. Safe Homes

It provides relevant legal and non-legal information and support services for people experiencing family violence.

It also provides the individual with information regarding eligibility for a Family Violence Intervention Order.

A Transforming Industry

A representative from the AI company commented that law schools are realising that it is necessary to prepare students for the future of legal profession.

Through learning these skills, students will be able to create live and functioning legal applications that help promote greater access to justice.

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