In “If Only We Knew What We Know,” 88 CHI.-KENT L. REV. 729 (2013) (forthcoming), Conrad Johnson and Brian Donnelly examine the broader themes surrounding law and technology raised in this symposium by looking at lawyering and knowledge management. Most lawyering duties, if not all, can be understood within the context of gathering, managing and presenting information. This article explains both the theory and practice of an IT-based clinical course in legal knowledge management.
Conrad Johnson has been a professor at Columbia Law School since 1989. Among numerous accomplishments, Johnson co-founded the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic, a path breaking offering that explores the impact of technology on law practice and the profession through client work and collaborative projects with major public interest legal organizations and prominent jurists. Brian Donnelly is a lecturer and Director of Educational Technology at Columbia Law School, and also co-founded the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic. Donnelly is responsible for the design and operation of Columbia Law School’s world-class classroom technology, curriculum-based Internet initiatives and the integration of technology into teaching and learning.
The first part of Johnson and Donnelly’s submission provides a brief summary of the basic lawyering paradigm used in the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic—that all lawyering can be understood within the context of gathering, managing and presenting information. The knowledge management aspect is positioned as the foundation for “reflection in action,” a concept that has been widely recognized within clinical legal education. By managing legal knowledge through the use of information technology, students must convert tacit and conceptual knowledge into explicit and practical information. Such conversions expand and deepen students’ material understandings.
The second part of the article considers the merits of the A2J Author® software as an expert legal knowledge management system. Finally, a brief case study is presented on how the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic used A2J Author in conjunction with partners in the New York Court system to address pressing needs on the parts of pro se litigants.
“This article contributes to the broader themes surrounding law and technology raised in this symposium by taking a look at lawyering and knowledge management. This topic is presented both as a theory and with a case study. The first part provides a brief summary of the basic lawyering paradigm used in the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic at Columbia Law School—that all lawyering activities can be understood within the context of gathering, managing and presenting information. The second category of the paradigm is expanded upon to review the activity of managing knowledge. Then, knowledge management is positioned as the foundation for “reflection in action,” a concept that has been widely recognized within clinical legal education.
What follows is to consider the A2J application as an example of an expert system. Then, finally, a brief case study is presented on how the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic used the A2J application in conjunction with partners in the New York Court system to address a pressing need on the part of pro se litigants.”
Johnson and Donnelly will expand on this article while presenting during the live, in-person symposium on June 15, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. For more information.
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.