Can Technology Save Legal Education?

Law-school deans and professors, meeting in New York this weekend for the Future Ed 3 conference, invoked software and distance learning as tools that can rescue legal education from classroom doldrums, the National Law Journal reports. “Legal education significantly lags the rest of higher education in integrating online learning and other educational technologies into its programs,” Bryant G.Garth, dean of Southwestern Law School, told the meeting, according to the Journal.

To rectify that, six law schools, including Southwestern, announced a consortium to develop new technology, specifically an online-learning platform that the schools themselves would own. (Other schools in the group include the University of Miami School of Law, Australian National University College of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and New York Law School.)

The conference also endorsed a program called “Apps for Justice,” a proposal to have law students write software that aids practicing lawyers and other programs that consumers can use as legal tools.

New York Law School’s dean, Richard Matasar, however, warned conference participants that such technology—though useful—would not solve a major problem: the high cost of going to law school. In a speech, the Journal reported, Mr. Matasur asked, “Is there no end to where tuition will go? Fifty-thousand dollars a year is tomorrow, which is really $70,000 when you add in living expenses.”

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