Tuesday, April 3, 2018
A plan to open a new Canadian law school that will be part of Ryerson University in Ontario is moving closer to becoming a reality after the Canadian Law Federation granted preliminary approval back in December for a 2019 or 2020 opening. The interesting angle for readers of this blog is that school founders plan to create a cutting edge curriculum that will prepare students for the future of law practice including courses in entrepreneurship and a mandatory bootcamp in computer coding. The goal is to prepare graduates to pursue careers as entrepreneurs in fields where the law and technology intersect such as products and services that rely on technology to increase access to justice for underserved communities. I know nothing about computer coding except what I learned in a high school BASIC course eons ago but am wondering out loud whether there's a natural synergy between imparting the logical, Langdellian-style analytical skills needed to "think like a lawyer" and the skill set needed to write code.
Here's an excerpt from Ryerson's press release regarding the curricular plan for its planned law school:
Ryerson University is on track for creating a new generation of lawyers. With a focus on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, Ryerson’s upcoming Juris Doctor (J.D.) program is positioning itself as a unique alternative to existing law schools in Ontario.
Students will use classroom technology to innovate and participate in a mandatory coding boot-camp.
“Coding is so central to understanding the standing legal processing,” said Anver Saloojee, lead of Ryerson’s law school application. “They can follow a case, manage a case, and not just engage on the technological side, but it teaches them skill sets.”
With Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) and Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ), future J.D. graduates will have easier access to entrepreneurship in legal technology than their competition.
“Through legal technology, there’s more access to justice,” said Shiwar Jabary, start-up experience assistant at LIZ. This is especially true now compared to before, when it was more expensive.
Jabary said the new J.D. program will create 21st century lawyers who are, “always willing to change for the better in terms of efficiency, providing a better service, being able to give service to more people and looking always to do things in a better way.”
While there is no guarantee of immediate employment, integrating a tech-focused curriculum would benefit graduates pursuing intellectual property law, cybersecurity or a legal start-up, he said.
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