Home » Law 2050 Initiative » Announcing Law Practice 2050 — The Vanderbilt Law School Class

Announcing Law Practice 2050 — The Vanderbilt Law School Class

I am pleased to announce that Law 2050 will move beyond the blogosphere this fall to the four walls and PowerPoint slides of a law school classroom. With the tremendous support of my dean, Chris Guthrie, I have designed Law Practice 2050, a course designed to immerse students in the dynamic environments forcing change in the law and in legal practice, the goal being to develop the skills necessary for actively participating in and taking advantage of those changes. There are four distinct but related themes embedded in the course scope:

  • Understanding the structural changes taking place in the private sector legal services industry (e.g., changing firm models; new fee structures; online services; outsourcing)
  • Gaining familiarity with established and emerging legal technologies (e.g., e-discovery;  routinized compliance software; data aggregation and analysis)
  • Exploring new kinds of legal services and employment (e.g., legal risk management; legal knowledge management; legal process management)
  • Anticipating scenarios of the future of law and building skills useful for identifying and developing future practice opportunities (e.g., climate change; 3D printing; robotics; demographic shifts)

Through a series of readings (e.g., Tomorrow’s Lawyers is required reading), individual and group projects, and guest speakers and panels, we will explore the forces acting to transform the legal services industry and survey established and emerging developments. We will also explore scenarios of future social, economic, technological, and environmental change and brainstorm their possible impacts on the law. Students will engage in active small group discussions, prepare reaction papers, make group presentations, and develop practice development proposals and legal industry case studies.

I have been overwhelmed with how willing people in the industry have been to contribute to the course as speakers and panelists. Currently we have scheduled a rich variety of outside speakers including:

  • a panel of managing partners of three Big Law firms
  • a panel of in-house counsel of three major corporations
  • a panel of representatives from several lawyer staffing firms
  • a panel of representatives from legal process outsourcing firms
  • a panel of associates from three Big Law firms to discuss their perspectives
  • speakers from several law+tech companies
  • speakers on legal process and knowledge management
  • speakers from several non-law disciplines offering visions of the future of the environment, technology, and society

I will be blogging about the course as we move through it and hope to get feedback from students, academics, and practitioners. More to come…

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