Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #105
By Gabe Teninbaum
My name is Gabe Teninbaum (on Twitter at @GTeninbaum). I'm a professor, as well as the Assistant Dean for Innovation, Strategic Initiatives, & Distance Education, at Suffolk Law in Boston. I'm also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project. My work focuses on legal innovation, technology, and the changing business of law. Every day, I digest tons of content on these topics. The goal of this newsletter is to curate the most interesting, valuable, and thought-provoking of these ideas and share them with you.
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The Appetizer: Sponsors
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The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week
"Civil Justice for All" Report: the American Academy of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and other luminaries in early American history. Today, the organization serves as one of the most important conveners of smart people and smart ideas. Consistent with that, they've just released an impressive report on the civil justice gap in the U.S., with detailed recommendations on how to close it. The report was created by dozens of contributors who provided specific, tangible recommendations for improvement.
Making Online Courts Work: I enjoyed this interview with Melina Efstathiou, Head of Litigation Technology at Eversheds Sutherland on Artificial Lawyer TV on how the COVID-19 crisis has led to more online hearings (and how her firm is dealing with them). After reading Richard Susskind's new book on the potential of online courts, I've been tracking this area closely, and the current situation has accelerated adoption. Hearing what's happening on the ground provides a valuable perspective.
Suffolk Law's New Hybrid JD Program: you'll forgive me for including a program that I'm working on, but I think it qualifies as noteworthy milestone in legal innovation (and definitely qualifies as one of the five things that made me think this week, which is the basic conceit of the items listed!). So, here goes: beginning next year, students can enroll in a new Hybrid JD program at Suffolk Law that will allow them to spend the first year in residence in Boston as traditional first year students. Then, after successfully completing 1L year, they will have the ability to attend the next two years online. What this means is that Suffolk Law HJD students can live and learn anywhere in the world while upper-level students (they're welcome to take any in-person classes they would like too, as well as take full-advantage of everything happening on campus...they just don't have to do so if they prefer to be completely remote). It's also a chance to build a JD program from scratch, focused on using best practices for formative assessments and leveraging some of the cool technologies that make remote courses terrific.
Passport to Practice v. 2.0: over the summer, a group of innovators lead by a retired partner from Baker McKenzie (Peter Lederer) and two former Accenture execs (Andrea Sinner and Holly Fisher) created a free, online program to help law students and legal professionals learn about important topics beyond black letter and those areas typically offered in JD programs. The program was a resounding success, with 240 people earning a certificate of completion. The P2P program will be back by popular demand this fall, with courses beginning mid-October and running to the end of November. Here is a summary of the curriculum. You can sign up here.
The Future of Document Assembly: this post on Law Sites Blog is an excellent summary of the potential for document assembly to streamline legal work. It's by Dorna Moini, CEO of Documate (which is, itself, one of the most exciting document assembly platforms). I see document assembly as one of the lowest barrier to entry tools that will make legal services more efficient and lower cost, and hope her write-up motivates readers.
Memes with "Dreams": earlier this week, my colleague, Prof. Sarah J. Schendel (an excellent professor who also has her finger on the cultural pulse), shared this viral video with me of a TikTok user named DoggFace208 cruising on a highway offramp on a skateboard while drinking from a jug of cranberry juice and lip-syncing "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac. I watched it approximately 5,000 times. It then occurred to me that the only other viral video I've watched nearly so many times is also set to "Dreams" (it's this one, from 2018, which got Fleetwood Mac back on the charts after a 41 year absence). I mean, I like Fleetwood Mac, but how does one explain this? I'll leave it for you to ponder while I go buy some cranberry juice and a skateboard.
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