Conference Update

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It’s been busy already on my conference agenda. I am like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to planning my conference schedule, and at the moment, I really do not know where to look first!

I have so far been to CLEO’s LegalTech in Clinical Education; a Technology and Law Policy Commission’s evidence session; Westminster Legal Policy Forum’s Seminar on Technology and the Legal Market (meeting consumer needs, artificial intelligence and automation); and most recently Legal Cheek’s The Future of Legal Education Conference.

The latter in particular brought a number of strands together in my mind, not just in legal education but in a much wider sense. The themes chosen by the event organiser Legal Cheek neatly brought together some of the major challenges for higher education providers and well as legal services providers, and underlined the ever growing need for the two to work together closely. Key messages from the four main sessions were, not surprisingly (!):

  • Cross-disciplinary Skills Session – The most relevant cross discipline for Law to connect with is Computer Science, followed by Business Studies. Skills associated with that apart from technological skills are: design thinking; project management; problem solving; industry specific business systems; business analytics; and effective collaboration. Ah, and numeracy!
  • Enterprise Session – The two key enterprise areas in legal education to develop are productisation understanding and entre- or intra-preneurship skills.
  • SQE Session – A great number of challenges and opportunities arise for training and legal service providers from the impending introduction of the Solicitors’ Qualification Exam. Preparations should be well under way by now and need to be truly innovative in order to create a USP appealing to prospective students, and need to be collaborative with legal service providers in order to be commercially appealing to them. This is universally considered an opportunity to embed cross-disciplinary skills into programmes.
  • Clinical Legal Education Session – Through Clinical Education (in other words, experiential real world work based learning via student run law school advice clinics), students gain exposure to all aspects of giving advice to a client, as well as to the running of a legal advice business. This is a useful vehicle for effective learning, but requires significant resource commitment by the university. What is also required is the willingness of legal service providers closely to collaborate with their local university clinic provider. This is especially the case if the entire cohort of students is to benefit.
  • Mental Health Session – Unfortunately, I could not attend this parallel session. More on this subject soon, though, especially form a LegalTech angle!

I think next on my conference schedule should maybe be Lawyering in the Digital Age: Equipping Students to Become Future-ready (Ambleside 27/28 June 2019), and Legal Design Summit (Helsinki 13 September 2019)? In any case, I’ll be at LegalGeek in October, and also at BrisTech (Bristol 7 November 2019) where Bristol+Bath LegalTech will be on the podium!

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