A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how law professors manage to remain ignorant of the intersections between law and technology. Thanks to Carolyn Elefant, I learned that Legaltech offers free passes for bloggers, so deciding to put Legaltech’s money where my mouth is, here I am.
I’m here to learn about at least three things:
1) As a law professor, what should I be learning about so that I can teach it to my students? I have the disadvantage of never having practiced law, but the advantage of not being conceptually stuck in the way law was practice 20 or 30 years ago. I do have some familiarity with technology from my 25 years as a law librarian with a primary interest in social technologies, so I am probably several legs up on most law professors in that regard.
2) How do lawyers identify and resolve ethical issues related to the use of technology? My primary teaching and research is in legal ethics and professional responsibility. Technology makes avoiding certain kinds of conflicts easier, but how trends like unbundling or decomposing legal work, legal process outsourcing, use of temporary contract lawyers, and so on relate to the ethical responsibilities of lawyers? One of my concerns is that the fragmentation of law practice of the type persuasively forecast by Richard Susskind in Tomorrow’s Lawyers will either increase the distance between lawyers and clients so that clients may not receive adequate counsel, or conversely that increased identification of lawyers with clients, especially corporate clients, will lead to a degradation of professional identity and, again, failures of legal service providers to provide the objective advice clients need.
3) What resources are available for teaching e-discovery? I am one of the very few law professors who teach a course on e-discovery, but it’s a hard subject to bring to life in the classroom. I want to include more simulations and role-playing to highlight the necessary people skills of managing e-discovery such as conducting ESI inventory and implementing litigation holds; I would also like to give my students hands-on experience using ESI technologies. I hope to find vendors who are eager to work with me in the classroom, not just in selling their products.
Disclaimer: I am attending Legaltech thanks to a free blogger’s pass, so read skeptically. All opinions are my own because nobody else would want them anyway.