Traditional employers (law firms, in-house legal departments, nonprofits, and governments) increasingly need lawyers who not only have common legal knowledge and skills, but who are also familiar with innovative processes and technologies. For example, an increasing number of firms want to:
- Take advantage of cloud computing
- Employ a knowledge management system
- Use social media for investigations and marketing
- Revamp their cybersecurity policies
- Engage in cost-effective electronic discovery
- Incorporate insights about project management
- Develop automated document assembly procedures
- Use law practice management software
- Understand metrics for the efficient delivery of legal services
- Create a virtual version of their law firms
Students in the LIT Concentration take a variety of courses aimed to teach these skills and mindsets. The core LIT Concentration curriculum teaches hands-on technology courses (no prior coding or technical experience required!), process improvement skills, and a mindset for reinventing traditional legal work. Beyond that, electives allow students to dive deeper into the legal innovation & technology topics that are of most interest to them.
LIT students also have the unique opportunity to work in the Legal Innovation & Technology (LIT) Lab. The LIT Lab is an experiential program combining the vision of our legal tech program with the pedagogy and legal services mission of our Clinical Programs. Lab students develop legal technology and data science solutions for organizational clients (e.g., legal aid organizations, courts, firms, and non-profits), helping them find new and better ways to address the public’s legal needs. These services are provided to organizational clients, who frequently do not have in-house expertise in automating tools, engaging in process improvement, and data analytics.
Students participating in the LIT Concentration also enjoy a number of exciting work opportunities. From externships at Fortune 500 computer hardware companies to clerkships in law firms leveraging technology to better serve their clients, students in the LIT Concentration have opportunities to apply their skills in the legal workplace. The curriculum and work opportunities are also supplemented by events designed to engage students outside of the classroom. For several years, Suffolk Law has co-hosted a Legal Design Challenge with Liberty Mutual, in which students are trained in design thinking and given an opportunity to compete with students from other schools to solve a challenging, real-life legal problem.
In addition to preparing students for traditional legal employment (e.g., law firms, in-house jobs, government positions, etc.), the LIT Concentration also better prepares students for employment beyond that scope. “New Law” jobs for lawyers with an innovation & technology background are exploding in popularity. For example, law graduates are taking jobs with companies that provide – or are creating companies that offer—legal process outsourcing, electronic discovery services, online client lead generation, automated document assembly, online law practice management, and similar services.
The bottom line is that whether complementing a traditional JD skill set, or building a brand new modern one, Suffolk’s LIT Concentration prepares students for a rapidly evolving legal industry and positions them to be at the cutting-edge of modern law practice.