Symposium on Justice, Lawyering and Legal Education in the Digital Age


“The legal profession is endangered. Law schools are in trouble. New lawyers are unprepared for economic and technological reality. There is a vast unmet need for legal services for low- and middle-income people,” according to IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Professor Ronald W. Staudt and Marc Lauritsen, co-editors of the “Justice, Lawyering and Legal Education in the Digital Age” symposium.

Influential legal professors and practitioners working at the cross-section of information technology and the law dissect these overlapping problems and propose new solutions in the Chicago-Kent Law Review’s upcoming symposium. They also will elaborate on their submissions, answer questions and discuss these innovative ideas with attendees during an in-person symposium on June 15, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This half-day program will be held at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in conjunction with the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI®)’s 2013 Conference for Law School Computing, which will be held at the law school from June 13 to June 15.

The editors of the symposium opine that they and their contributors “take it as a given [ . . . ] that the law firm economic model of the past 30 years is broken and that the U.S. needs fewer lawyers and lawyers who cost less.” However, they also see the value of teaching law students about technology.

Further, Staudt and Lauritsen observe two cross-cutting themes within the collected works:

  1. “Advanced information systems have rapidly become ubiquitous both in the subject matter of legal work and in the processes through which that work is done. The Legal Academy can no longer afford to give those systems as little attention as it presently does. Lawyers can no longer afford to have as little understanding of algorithms, ontologies, and other computational concepts as they do.”
  2. “By studying—or better yet, building—software systems that perform some of the tasks that lawyers and judges do, future (and present) legal professionals gain insight into emerging technologies at the center of modern law practice and also develop core competencies across a range of new and traditional lawyering skills.”

Contributors to the law review will be joined during the live symposium by participating faculty members from CALI’s Access to Justice Clinical Course Project to explore new solutions such as new law school courses that teach practical legal technology tools, while also addressing potential roadblocks facing these solutions.

For example, in “Access to Justice and Technology Clinics: A 4% Solution,” Staudt and co-author Andrew P. Medeiros propose the addition of a new type of clinical course called the Access to Justice Technology Clinic (A2J Clinic). These A2J Clinic concept is based on a course taught by Staudt at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law where students learn traditional legal skills and new technical competencies, while building automated legal forms for use by self-represented litigants. However, in “Liberty, Justice, and Legal Automata,” Lauritsen tackles the legal implications of using software tools, such as those used by students in A2J Clinics, to develop automated legal systems. Such a practice could be construed as the unauthorized practice of law, but Lauritsen argues that such a conclusion would violate the First Amendment.

The “Justice, Lawyering, and Legal education in the Digital Age” symposium will be webcast, but seats are still available. For more information, visit The full conference fee will be reduced to $99 for those attending only the Saturday symposium. To take advantage of the reduced rate, select the “Check or money order” payment method upon check out. Then send an email to, informing CALI that you will only be attending the symposium.

Throughout the next two weeks, as the live symposium approaches, the CALI Spotlight Blog will preview another symposium presentation each day:

  • June 5, 2013: Marc Lauritsen, “Liberty, Justice, and Legal Automata”
  • June 6, 2013: William E. Hornsby, Jr., “Gaming the System: Approaching 100% Access to Legal Services Through Online Games”
  • June 7, 2013: Conrad Johnson and Brian Donnelly, “If Only We Knew What We Know”
  • June 8, 2013: Richard S. Granat and Stephanie Kimbro, “The Teaching of Law Practice Management and Technology in Law Schools: A New Paradigm”
  • June 10, 2013: Oliver R. Goodenough, “Developing an e-Curriculum: Reflections on the Future of Legal Education and on the Importance of Digital Expertise”
  • June 11, 2013: Tanina Rostain, Roger Skalbeck and Kevin Mulcahy, “Thinking Like a Lawyer, Designing Like an Architect: PReparing Students for the 21st Century Practice”
  • June 12, 2013: Ronald W. Staudt and Andrew P. Medeiros, “Access to Justice and Technology Clinics: A 4% Solution”
  • June 13, 2013: Hybrid Courses of the A2J Clinic Project
    • Tanina Rostain & Roger Skalbeck, Technology, Innovation and Law Practice: An Experiential Seminar at Georgetown University Law Center
    • Judith Wegner, Becoming a Professional at UNC School of Law
    • Sunrise Ayers, A2J Clinic at Concordia University School of law
  • June 14, 2013: Traditional Clinical Courses of the A2J Clinic Project
    • Conrad Johnson, Mary Zulack & Brian Donnelly, Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic at Columbia Law School
    • Joe Rosenberg, Main Street Legal Services, Elder Law Clinic at CUNY School of Law
    • JoNel Newman & Melissa Swain, Medical Legal Clinic at University of Miami School of Law
  • June 15, 2013: Kevin D. Ashley, “Teaching Law and Digital Age Legal Practice with an AI and Law Seminar;” and Vern R. Walker et al, “Law Schools as Knowledge Centers in the Digital Age”

Professor Ashley and Professor Walker are unable to attend the in-person symposium on June 15, 2013, but their valuable contributions will be published with the printed edition of the Chicago-Kent Law Review that accompanies the live symposium.

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