Technology & Innovation

Innovative thinking and revolutionary technologies are required to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Many Suffolk faculty, students, and alumni are at the forefront of their industries, working on cutting-edge ideas and applications with the potential to change the world we live in.

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Center for Entrepreneurship

Suffolk’s Center for Entrepreneurship is a resource for students, alumni, and the general public. Located in the heart of downtown Boston, the Center provides a central workspace where students, alumni, faculty, and business owners can collaborate.

Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation

Technology is transforming the practice of law in amazing and dramatic ways, creating new opportunities and challenges for tomorrow’s lawyers. Suffolk Law’s Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation aims to leverage technology and other innovations to make law practice, and delivery of legal services, better.

Center for Innovative Collaboration and Leadership

The Center for Innovative Collaboration and Leadership aims to fosters a spirit of innovation at Suffolk through events, awards, and fellowships. For the past six years, CICL has recognized collaborative breakthroughs with its Global Leadership in Innovation and Collaboration award.

Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic

Students in Suffolk Law’s Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic provide free legal services to clients of limited means with a focus on intellectual property, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. With direct supervision, students gain hands-on experience in a fast-evolving field, honing the fundamental skills of counseling, advocacy, and transactional practice.

Undergraduate Areas of Study

Big Data and Business Analytics

The demand for skilled analytics professionals is growing fast in all types of organizations—regardless of industry, size, or ownership structure. With courses in statistics, information technology, and business, this program teaches students how to use data to improve efficiency, solve problems, identify new opportunities, and prepare for the future. (Also available as a minor.)

Biology

Suffolk’s program provides students with a solid foundation in laboratory, field, and classroom science by learning about evolution, genetics, ecology, molecular biology, and physiology. Professors will help you choose a concentration in biotechnology, health careers, or marine science based on your interests and career goals.

Biochemistry

A bridge between biology and chemistry, this “hybrid” major focuses on the composition of living things in a city known worldwide for its extraordinary hospitals and laboratories. Scientific pioneers come here from all over the world to work at and receive treatment in these medical facilities, while Boston’s laboratories are responsible for breakthroughs in cancer research, HIV/AIDS, and more.

Chemistry

Suffolk’s Chemistry major offers an intensive, laboratory-based curriculum paired with unparalleled opportunities for independent research in one of the world’s most scientifically advanced cities. The faculty will connect students with Boston’s premier labs and medical schools and the internships they offer.

Computer Science

Just across the Longfellow Bridge from the high-tech hotspot of Kendall Square, Suffolk’s computer science program is exceptionally hands-on. Students get substantial experience with machine-level programming and direct exposure to computer architecture, networks.

Entrepreneurship

Students who want to start or lead an organization with a mission to make the world a safe, humane, and just place can concentrate in Social Entrepreneurship, which includes coursework in socially responsible and sustainable business as well as a required internship around social enterprise. (Also available as a minor).

Social Impact Minor

Suffolk students learn how to tackle the specific social challenges of poverty, economic development, healthcare access, educational access, human rights, safety, and climate change.

Graduate Areas of Study

Master in Business Administration (MBA)

Suffolk MBA students can choose from among a dozen different concentrations to focus their degree, whether they dream of starting their own business (Entrepreneurship) or harnessing the analytical power of big data (Business Intelligence).

Master of Science in Business Analytics

With a unique balance of business analytics and data management, Suffolk’s comprehensive new MSBA program will teach students how to make high-level, data-driven decisions across a wide range of industries. (Also available as a joint degree with Finance, Accounting, or MBA.)

Juris Doctor, Intellectual Property Law Concentration

Suffolk Law’s Intellectual Property Concentration is one of the largest and most developed of its kind in the country, offering a range of courses—patents, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and licensing.

Juris Doctor, Legal Innovation & Technology Concentration

Technology and other innovative methods for delivering legal services are quickly transforming the practice of law. Suffolk Law’s Legal Technology and Innovation Concentration is designed to prepare students for this new and rapidly evolving legal marketplace. 

Accelerator-to-Practice Program

Winner in 2016 of the American Bar Association’s Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, Suffolk Law’s Accelerator-to-Practice program is a first-of-its-kind three-year. The program includes an expanded professional development and skills curriculum including technological training, supervised internships, and clinical training representing low-income clients in the Accelerator Practice.

An App to Report Hate Crimes

This March, against a backdrop of escalating racial and religious threats and attacks nationwide, an ambitious and eclectic group gathered at Suffolk University with a singular mission: to design a hate crime app that will help victims report crimes, assess their legal standing, and get help from local and national organizations.

Funded by a grant from tech giant Cisco Systems, the app project is spearheaded by the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation—chaired by Suffolk Law dean Andrew Perlman. The Center, like Perlman himself, views technology as a means to make the legal system more efficient.

“I come at this from the angle of seeing the importance of technology in helping people get the legal services they need,” Perlman told the Boston Globe. “The time is right; the place is right.” 

The goal of the daylong ‘design sprint’ was to flesh out a prototype for an app or website that makes it easier for victims to determine whether their situation meets the legal threshold to be considered a hate crime—a definition that changes depending on the location where the alleged crime took place, Perlman said. The app will also help individuals find the proper pathway to report a crime, Perlman added, which can be confusing. The resulting framework is slated to be refined and developed into final form by CuroLegal.

In addition to coders, designers, Suffolk Law students, law enforcement officials, civil rights advocates, and attorneys familiar with immigration and hate crime laws, members of minority communities and various religious groups were invited to draw on their experiences to help develop the app. And by all accounts, the day was a success. “Recently I had the chance to see how smart technology, applied to vexing social problems, can help provide solutions and build a better world,” said Mark Chandler, general counsel at Cisco, reflecting on the event. 

Wisdom (and Funding) of the Crowd

Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School introduced one of the nation’s first experiential courses on crowdfunding in fall 2016. Students launched campaigns to fund their own startup companies through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The acclaimed course, conceived and taught by entrepreneurship professors Chaim Letwin and Jenni Dinger, just ended its second semester, with a new group of student entrepreneurs launching campaigns to fund their businesses.

“Crowdfunding is shaping up to be an important factor for startup success,” said Letwin. “To run a successful campaign one must be passionate about their venture. That’s why it’s important to not only teach our students why some campaigns are successful while others are not, but also to give them the opportunity to dig in, get their hands dirty and run a campaign of their own.”

“This course is still quite young, only the second time through, so we’re continuously adjusting and learning as a group,” Dinger said. “It’s very exciting to see how this group of students have built on what was accomplished last year.”

Among the new student ventures seeking funding this year: a full-length documentary film by David Apostolides and John Moran that incorporates the perspectives of those living outside of the U.S. in the current American political conversation, two children’s books, and Cosmic Eye, an augmented reality technology by junior Ashton Viqueras-LaRochelle that bridges the gap between what you see through a telescope and what actually exists in the cosmos.

Digital Pro Bono

A new, digital approach to expanding access to free legal advice is taking shape—and thanks to a partnership with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the Boston Bar Association, Suffolk Law’s first-year students got a hands-on look at the groundbreaking model in March. 

Mass Legal Answers Online is a “virtual” legal advice clinic: Eligible low-income clients can post their legal questions to the secure website www.masslao.org, and their questions are answered by volunteer attorneys. About 300 Suffolk Law students split into groups to research answers to commonly asked legal questions. The questions, which ranged from landlord-tenant issues to family law and foreclosure law, were modified to protect client confidentiality, but are based on actual problems submitted by the site’s users, said professor Gabriel Teninbaum, director of the Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation.

“We’ve trained students to do great legal research, and now we’re demonstrating how that legal research can be done more efficiently and effectively, using technology,” Teninbaum said.
“It’s also important that they get a healthy perspective on pro bono work, which is an affirmative obligation for every attorney,” he added. “You have to do work for those who can’t afford it — we’re trying to get students in that mode as 1Ls.”

Law professor Kathy Vinson’s students tackled a question about a landlord’s access to a tenant’s apartment. Students had one hour to review the question, research the related details, and draft an email to send professors outlining their discoveries.

“They’re used to having a lot more time to answer questions,” Vinson said. “It’s good to bring the real world into the classroom, so students can get used to researching under time constraints for real clients, and see the impact that their research answers have on the world.”

Deep inside Massachusetts General Hospital, at the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, a staff that includes dozens of Suffolk alumni are carefully harnessing the awesome power of radiation to treat cancer. Among them are senior radiation therapist Ryan Connolly BS ’07, CRT ’09, team lead therapist Meghan Kearney BS ’05, MS ’09, and Christine Cerrato BS ’98, technical director for radiation oncology at Mass General.

Connolly, whose initial impression of radiation was based on its devastating destructive power at Hiroshima, grew interested in harnessing that force for health after seeing a poster for Suffolk’s radiation therapy program his sophomore year. “These are incredibly complex machines that are being used to help somebody,” Connolly explains. “Seeing radiation controlled in such a manner that you could actually do good with it was mind-blowing to me.”

Connolly didn’t have to go far after graduating from Suffolk’s clinical radiation therapy program in 2009. Like many of his classmates, he barely had time to graduate before he was snapped up by Mass General, which boasts one of the best—and most in-demand—radiation oncology departments in the world. While Suffolk’s radiation therapy program began only two decades ago, today its graduates dominate Mass General’s radiation department, and 30 of the hospital’s 76 therapists are Suffolk alumni.

Their job can be psychologically exhausting—they can’t save everyone—and it takes a certain generosity of spirit to treat patients who may be suffering from pain, anxiety, or nausea day in and day out.

“I had dreaded it,” says Jim Gaffey, who was treated for prostate cancer in 2009 by a Mass General team that included several Suffolk graduates. But his team’s skill and good humor put him at ease. Now in good health, Gaffey has kept in touch with his therapists over the years, regularly driving into Boston to deliver homemade chocolate chip cookies. “Here are these people who saved my life!” he says. “How can you really thank them enough?”

[Adapted from Suffolk Magazine]

“Coding and the Law was a breath of fresh air. There were no cases to read; no plaintiffs; no defendants; no lawsuits; no damages.”

“Using QnA Markup, I integrated my interest in family law by building a questionnaire for clients before they hire a divorce attorney to learn whether legal representation is necessary. I truly believe technology and law are progressing together, and I want to be a driver of this revolution.”

Chelsea Strauss JD'17
“Suffolk has opened more doors and opportunities for me than I even knew existed. Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to own my own business,"
James Testa Major in Entrepreneurship, Class of 2017