The legal industry is on the precipice of change — increasing interest in legal technology and innovation has put the pressure on universities and law firms to keep up to date with the way legal services are delivered.
This onset of legal technology in the new AI-driven automated economy calls for lawyers with skills outside of black-letter law. Graduates need to be equipped with business acumen and soft skills, and those with a flair of tech tend to do better than their less talented counterparts in the job market.
While some law schools stick to what they do best — traditional education — there are those that are paying attention to the changes the 21st century world is demanding of legal practice. Here are some of the most innovative law schools in the US that are ensuring their students won’t be left behind:
Emory University, School of Law
If you’re a law student or legal professional looking to sharpen your skills and earn practical experience for the future of work, Emory University’s School of Law is a great starting point.
Here, you will find graduate law degrees that help you to build a rewarding legal career, enhance your current skill set and introduce you to tech-based trends that influence the global landscape of law such as the rise of virtual legal assistants (VLA).
A top-ranked US law school offering a world-class faculty, a diverse student body and a warm community, Emory University School of Law is set in a sophisticated urban setting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Its unique approach to experiential learning opportunities and individual career strategy services, along with its innovative curriculum, is what sets Emory’s legal graduates apart. With a multi-faceted Master of Laws (LLM) programme, complete with a customisable curriculum, students can take a broad range of courses or focus on one of Emory Law’s many signature areas of strength such as transactional/business law, human rights law or global health law.
One of the key focus areas within Emory Law’s curriculum is technological innovation and intellectual property, both of which combine to constitute an increasingly important field of legal practice. The Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) program in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology brings together graduate students in law, business, engineering, and science to transform promising research into economically viable projects.
University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law
Law students must be ready for a digital future. Many new-collar jobs are emerging in the workplace that require technical and soft skills.
In his new role as Executive Director of the Intellectual Property (IP) Center at the Franklin Pierce School of Law, former Vice President and Chief Patent Counsel at Microsoft Micky Minhas plans to connect the law school to the world of IP.
“I look forward to facilitating the real-world interactions students need to get ahead while also fueling growth in our IP programs to match marketplace demands,” he said.
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Franklin Pierce School of Law has graduate law programmes that equip students with just that. The Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree involves practice-oriented instruction and students can choose from a robust selection of courses such as Criminal Law, Litigation and Business Law. Other tech-heavy, future-forward courses here are the LL.M. degrees in Intellectual Property, International Criminal Law and Justice and Commerce and Technology.
Across campus, there are hands-on workshops and events for students to improve their practical know-how and soft skills. These may be found at the Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinic, the International Technology Transfer Institute, the Intellectual Property Summer Institute and the Silicon Valley immersive course.
And with an alumni network that spans over 80 countries and includes graduates from Fortune 100 companies, national IP offices, and multinational law firms, you know that this is a law school built for success.
Suffolk Law School
In 2018 and 2021 (most recent rankings) Suffolk Law School was named #1 in the nation for legal technology according to prelaw Magazine. It beat Georgetown (No. 2) and University of California, Berkeley (No. 3)on its way to the top spot. Such rankings offer more proof of what students already know: Suffolk Law prepares its students to be lawyers for the future.
Suffolk Law’s cutting-edge legal tech and innovation programs are helping people who need it most. The Legal Innovation and Tech Lab’s mobile phone tools walk a user step-by-step through the process of filling in and filing court documents.
In Suffolk’s Transactional Clinic, students are using transactional law to help create new economic structures that prioritize community and equity for a group of immigrant women in East Boston. Suffolk Law’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program (HDTP) is spearheading a state bill, the first of its kind, that adds teeth to the punishment of real estate brokers and landlords who discriminate against prospective tenants.
This kind of success begins with world-class programs like Suffolk Law’s LLM program. From General to Global Law and Technology, these LLM options help students to specialize in up-and-coming fields, such as intellectual property law, biotechnology and health law, and international business. Guidance comes from expert faculty (including a nationally recognized expert in design patents), unique courses in Comparative Constitutions, and impactful clinics like its Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Clinic, which has received national media coverage for its human rights efforts in Guatemala.
To join these programs and create your own life-changing moment in law, learn more about Suffolk Law here.
University of Miami, School of Law
Effectively responding to the industry demands of modern law and contemporary business challenges, the School of Law at the University of Miami enables aspiring legal practitioners to become agile employees.
With experience teaching international lawyers for 60+ years, The University of Miami School of Law partners an international perspective with exceptional career-building and externship opportunities in courts, corporations and clinics.
Featured on the honour roll of high performers for outstanding employment results in the PreLaw Magazine (Fall 2018), and globally-recognised as a ‘Top 25 Law School’ for international law and foreign lawyers in the International Jurist (2018), the Miami School of Law prepares students for the practice of law in a global environment.
Courses like Law, Technology, and Practice at Miami Law is a testament of how the school recognises the importance of staying abreast with technology. The course doubles down on technology as it is being used in law practice today and enables students to have hands-on experience with technology. After completing the module, students will understand how to evaluate new technology, identify new trends in technology, and incorporate technology into law practice.
With Miami Law LL.M. programmes that help foreign-trained and US students and lawyers raise their practice to new heights and engage in career-building initiatives such as the International Moot Court Programme, award-winning law clinics, practicum and externship experiences, and taking a US Bar exam, you’ll be exposed to plenty of professional opportunities at the law school and beyond.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International