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February 27, 2012
The MIT School of Law Model: What if technology infusion alters the traditional curriculum?
to cause to be permeated with something (as a principle or quality) that alters usually for the better
In Training students for the technology infused law practice of the 21st Century, Daniel Martin Katz, Michigan State Univ. College of Law, identifies a skills set law students will need to be competitive because they are in short supply: "technology, computational data analytics, finance, informatics, economics, accounting, human computer interaction, supply chain mgmt, etc."
To make our students competitive (hopefully thereby restore the Return on Investment associated with the JD) will require legal education to move away from its significant liberal arts / humanities bent and look more like polytechnic research and teaching operation... .
Conceptually, Katz calls this the MIT School of Law model.
I have argued that the arbitrage opportunity in the market for legal education is for an institution(s) the move toward an “MIT School of Law.” In other words, an MIT style institution would do just fine in the market for legal education (in the long run perhaps better than HYS? [editor's note, HLS?]).
If you are an employer – hiring a lawyer for the 21st Century – please ask yourself this question: do you want a student from an MIT Style institution or some sort of liberal arts school? Of course, the market will ultimately decide this question — but I would place my bet with an MIT style legal institution.
Katz underscores technology and high end data analytics skills as being in very limited supply. This sort of expertise infusion in the legal academy's traditional liberal arts / humanities curriculum dovetails nicely into the skill set of 21st century librarianship even if a total transformation to an MIT style legal education is fanciful.
The Challenge. "You, all of you, are the librarians of the future. Am I right? Is this the dawn of the great age of librarians? That's up to you," writes T. Scott Plutchak in Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians, J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 January; 100(1): 10–19 (highly recommended). See also Achieving the “Golden Age of Librarians” — An Ambitious Project of Deep Redefinition.
Looking closer to present day realities, if today's purveyors of professional legal services were to offer their full range of law practice solutions to law students nationwide at their typical wholesale pricing for indoctrination objectives, my hunch is that the current cadre of legal skills profs would need today's law library staff to help evaluate their utility for a "practice ready" legal skills focused law school education that is technology infused. [JH]