The Michigan State University College of Law–Westminster University School of Law 21st Century Law Practice Summer Program in London is a first-of-its-kind, intensive study of technology, innovation, regulation, entrepreneurship, and the international legal marketplace. With the deregulation of lawyers in the United Kingdom and the outgrowth of alternative legal services delivery models, London is poised to become the global leader in the legal services market. The program will educate students about these new delivery models and help prepare students for the technology-infused law jobs of the 21st century.
MSU Law, home to the highly regarded Frank J. Kelley Institute of Ethics & the Legal Profession, has partnered with Westminster University School of Law, a leading educational institution known for its expertise in the study of lawyer regulation, including its Center for Legal Profession and Legal Services. Together, these institutions will offer a program designed to educate law students about the regulatory changes in the United Kingdom and to inform students about how the United States may respond with regulatory reform for the American legal profession. The Legal Services Act 2007 created an entirely new regulatory scheme for the practice of law and delivery of legal services in the U.K., one that only fully became effective in fall 2011. It is imperative that law students gain a better understanding of the impact that this deregulation will have on the global legal marketplace.
Students also will receive introductory instruction in legal information technology and legal information engineering, with attention to the new legal service delivery mechanisms generated in the wake of U.K. deregulation. Courses will include instruction about British and American law governing lawyers and law practice. While the program will emphasize the contrasts between the U.S. and U.K. regulations, course offerings will benefit students from any country. Adding to the international experience is that 5-10 British law students from the University of Westminster will take classes alongside their American counterparts.
There are no pre-requisites for the courses offered during the program. Students in the program will not be subject to any enrollment limits - if accepted to the program, they will be enrolled in all three courses. The program includes the following courses:
Legal Information Engineering & Technology
This course will highlight the increasing role of legal information technology in the law practice of today and the not-too-distant future. Students will be exposed to a number of emerging approaches in legal automation, process engineering, informatics/“soft” artificial intelligence (e-discovery and automated document generation), supply chain management, and quantitative legal prediction. This will be a two-week course, with the following instructor and schedule:
Instructor: Daniel Martin Katz, Assistant Professor, MSU Law
21st Century Law Practice—London Program
This course will provide an overview of the practice challenges facing lawyers in the 21st century, including economic pressures, technological advancements, increased globalization, international deregulation, and access-to-justice concerns (e.g., reading the work of Richard Susskind, Thomas Morgan, and others). Building upon this background, the course will then explore a set of case studies to examine a variety of innovative and entrepreneurial legal services delivery mechanisms and businesses in the U.S. and the U.K. (e.g., Axiom, LegalZoom, QualitySolicitors, and LawVest) that have been created in anticipation of—or in some cases, in response to—these practice challenges. Students will critically assess these legal service providers, and will reflect upon how lawyers and regulators should respond. This course will run for one week, with the following instructor and schedule:
Instructor: Renee Newman Knake, Associate Professor, MSU Law
The Legal Services Act, U.K. Deregulation, and Globalization
Students will study the history and impact of the Legal Services Act and deregulation of the legal profession in the U.K. with a focus on how the resulting innovations—both regulatory changes and the outgrowth of new legal services delivery mechanisms—might be exported to the U.S. This course also will encompass a comparative overview of American and British law governing lawyers and law practice, along with emphasis on globalization pressures faced by the legal profession. This course will run for one week, with the following instructors and schedule:
Lisa Webley, Professor of Empirical Legal Studies, University of Westminster Faculty of Law
John Flood, Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Westminster Faculty of Law
Students are expected to enroll in all three courses. Exceptions may be made to allow for fewer courses at the discretion of the program directors. Students will be graded by the same standards used while enrolled in other MSU Law courses in East Lansing, with a final examination as the main tool for evaluation. Attendance policies for the London program mirror those of MSU Law for on-campus offerings, with students expected to meet their professors' attendance requirements as well as those of MSU Law and the American Bar Association.
Students are advised to discuss their participation in the program with their academic advisor at their home school, as acceptance of any credit or grade for any course taken while participating in the 21st Century Law Practice London Summer Program is subject to determination by that home school.
In addition to these courses, the program exposes students to London legal institutions through on-site tours of courthouses and other outings and roundtable discussions with regulators from the Legal Services Board.
The 21st Century Law Practice Summer Program is particularly well-suited for students with interests in business, entrepreneurship, innovation, design, and technology. While the program has no prerequisites, a background in design, the arts, computer science, business, marketing, economics, supply chain management, and/or information technology will be helpful. The program is demanding, designed to prepare students for emerging law jobs of the present and not-too-distant future. Today’s business and technology industry leaders need lawyers who understand their work, facilitate innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, and respond nimbly to ever-changing environments. The program aims to produce practice-ready lawyers to fulfill this need.