Introduction 

If you’re anything like me, your first experiences in law school—whether it is a “summer start” program like the one in which I began or the more traditional 16-week semester—may well turn out to be a wakeup call of the worst kind, like a slept-through-your-flight kind of call from a hotel’s front desk. In short, the first months in law school have the power to make you feel not only like you’ve been left behind but that you’re all alone. It’s like Home Alone; only this time, you’re playing Kevin. 

Perhaps that seems dramatic. And in one sense, I suppose it is. After all, plenty of students adjust to the rites and rigors of law school without so much as breaking a sweat. But for the rest of us, there’s an adjustment period, and a significant one at that. But now that I’m nearly halfway through my 3L year, I wanted to take some time to pass on what I’ve learned. In particular, let me simply say “I wish I’d known that” about these “Three Rs and a T” earlier than I did. 

Consult Resources. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the first thing to which I wish I had been privy during my first few months of law school were the school’s vast network of resources, of both the professional and personal variety. They are there, waiting to be consulted. But you’ve got to know who and what and where they are. 

By professional resources, I mean both awareness of and access to the vast array of supplementary materials that line your library’s dusty shelves as well as your school’s version of the University of Oklahoma the College of Law’s 1L “Study Resources” splash page. Not to be dramatic, but my school’s supplementary materials were the sine qua non of my vast improvement between my first and subsequent semesters.  

That said, the truth is that there are far more resources to peruse than there is time to peruse them. But don’t let the sheer volume of supplementary sources scare you away. Instead, find a few you like, and then apprentice yourself to them early on. It’ll make a world of difference come exam time. (Personally, I like to spend most of my time with conceptual outlines and digital recordings of famous law school lecturers. Others prefer multiple-choice compilations or flash cards.) 

By personal resources, on the other hand, I mean the plethora of personnel who are at your service. Although my school’s director of academic support had yet to take the metaphorical field when I arrived, I have since had the pleasure of working with her while she called the tutorial plays. I don’t know about you, but I find that talking through concepts in one-on-one conversation is one of the best ways in which I learn. Whether those conversations are for you or not, get to know the administrators, the advisors, and the tutors. They’re there for you, and they want to see you succeed. And if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned professors in this section, it’s that my own experience has taught me that profs generally make for better conversation partners than tutors. So get your directed academic guidance elsewhere. 

Prioritize Relationships. 

For most of you, this one’s probably a no-brainer. Like most things in life, law school is both easier and more enjoyable when you do it with others. No, don’t do others’ work or sign up for classes just because someone else does. But don’t forget to build relationships. And don’t start thinking about relationships exclusively through the lens of networking just because you’re in law school. People aren’t projects; they don’t want to be treated like means to ends. So “Yes,” get to know your classmates, mentors, and other friends of your school . . . but not because of what they can do for you but because of who they are. 

More specifically, within the first few months of school make it a personal goal to deal with your own myopia by seeking out relationships with a few good men and women, especially men and women with different interests, skills, and backgrounds. You won’t believe how much of the “law” you miss simply because of your own background and biases. Plus, a few good men and women make for excellent study buddies come exam time. And everyone needs a few study buddies.  

Even Lebron can’t win titles on his own. Of course, if those study buddies totally fail you, just get new ones. If you’re wondering how to do that, just call the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office. I’m sure team executives would be happy to tell you how they managed to trade away all Lebron’s teammates to places stretching from New Orleans to Timbuktu.  

But, on a more serious note, other people often make all the difference in who we are and what we become. See generally John MacMurray, Persons in Relation (Humanity Books 1961). Most of your success in law school, as in life, in other words, will likely be byproduct of those around you. See id. This is categorically true—even for the “highest ranked” among us. So get out there and make a few friends. But remember to treat them like people, not projects. 

Read Effectively. 

This one’s probably a no-brainer too. But get ready to read, read, and then read some more. But be sure to learn how to read first. So you know, I wrestled with whether to make “Reading” the first ‘R’ in my list, primarily because it seems to be the foundational element of every (legal) education program in the world. But I’ve chosen to put it here because even though it is arguably the most important item in this list, chances are it’ll be easiest to “fix.” 

If you don’t already know, the “best” readers among us read different genres differently. See, e.g., Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading 190-308 (Touchstone Books 1972). For example, the best readers approach academic journal articles on sub-atomic particles one way and New York Times opinion pieces another. To become a good reader, in other words, is to learn to take stock not only of what you’re reading but why you’re reading. Only then will you be able to understand how you ought to be reading. This is even more important when it comes to reading the law. 

One quick illustration: I came to law school after spending three years working as a middle division American history teacher. My paramount objective was to introduce students to the “past” as well as the people, places, and events therein. One of the many ways I did that was by giving lectures. To prepare, I would often have to conduct research and hunt for facts. The most important facts were usually buried somewhere within hundreds or thousands of pages of journal entries, newspaper articles, or monographs. Sometimes the hunt was exhausting. But it was always worth it because it wasn’t until I had a decent grasp of the facts that I was able to present a story of the past through which students were prepared to identify and explain, or analyze and interpret, historical events. 

Understanding the facts is an equally important part of the study and practice of law. But to treat cases only—or even primarily—as a hunt for hidden facts is to miss the point of reading case law. Yes, we must have a basic grasp of the facts in order to analyze cases intelligently, but the goal of reading case law is to learn to identify the relationships between the facts and the rules, not just to memorize facts. In some sense, that is the essence of the practice and interpretation of the law: What is the relationship between fact(s) X and rule(s) Y at time(s) Z, and what does that relationship permit, encourage, or bind the court to do? 

It Just Takes Time. 

The last thing about which I want to say “I wish I’d known that” is that, for most of us, adjusting to the rites and rigors of law school just takes time. I find it ironic that I didn’t see this coming. As an “older” student (I was 29 when I started), I suppose I should have expected that any measure of success in law school—like most good things in life—wasn’t going to come overnight. As convenient as they are, everyone knows microwave ovens ain’t got nothin’ on slow cookers. Wherever you are in the process, remember this. It’ll probably take some time to adjust.  

Just exactly how much time it’ll take to adjust is different for everybody. It took me a semester. In fact, by the time I figured out what was going to be asked of me on my first set of exams, it seemed like I had less than a couple weeks to prepare properly. Others probably could’ve taken—and passed—their exams without preparing and all. Not me. And likely not you either. So take some time to reflect on how quickly (or slowly) you typically adjust to new environments, and then do the things I’ve recommended above. 

Conclusion 

Ultimately, the key to achieving a measure of success in law school is not about how quickly you adjust or how effectively you read; instead, achieving a measure of success in law school comes as you get to know who you are and what you need to do in order to accomplish your goals. If you’re 22 or 23, be willing to admit that you don’t know much about who you are or where you’re headed. And if you’re a little older, like I was, just remember that graduate school and mid-life career changes are never easy. In a word, don’t worry about whether you’re going to be a “success.” Success does not, after all, always look like graduating “number one” or landing a federal appellate clerkship. It might, but it might also look like cranking out public interest briefs for next to nothing.  

Notwithstanding the fact that everyone’s personalities and professional goals are different, I have a sneaking suspicion that the sooner you learn how to consult resources, prioritize relationships, read effectively, and acknowledge that it takes time to adjust to the rites and rigors of law school, the less likely you’ll find yourself saying—like I did—“I wish I’d known that.” 

The intersection of technology and healthcare has reached an unprecedented point in history. The traditional medical model, where the ability to accurately diagnose and treat patients is gained from thousands of hours of hands-on medical training, is being challenged. The challenge comes from the creation of artificial intelligence (AI) software that can use deep learning to meet or exceed the accuracy and dependability of medical decisions made by their human counterparts. These AI systems function as an “economy of minds” using collective experiences of human physicians and healthcare providers to create massive databases of knowledge that can be trained to perform specific undertakings.[1] AI already infiltrates fields such as radiology, optometry, and some simple surgeries. But what happens when the initial programming has been outgrown by the learning of the technology and the technology makes a mistake. Who becomes the tortfeasor? The doctor relying on the AI? The hospital paying for the AI? Is the company responsible for the initial programming? Or is no one liable?

This paper will challenge the current application of the technology’s ethical considerations facing a healthcare provider using AI and explore the use of AI systems in medical decision making. I will divide my argument into five parts. Part I will define AI by deciphering a very complex, technical topic understandable language. Part II will break down AI into the three primary classifications of AI systems that will be important to delineate as these types of systems are discussed. Part III will explore the current and potential uses of AI in healthcare by giving more concrete examples of AI applications when mass amounts of data are available. Part IV will identify significant concerns with the ethics of AI as we know it today but specifically, focus on the reliability concerns of a healthcare provider using an AI system for diagnosis or treatment planning. We will also look at how current law intersects with innovative AI. Finally, in Part V, I make a recommendation considering the use of AI in healthcare and how the symbiosis of such tools can be maximized while at the same time limiting risk. Continue Reading The Bioethical Issues of AI in Healthcare

When I began law school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with a JD. All I knew was that I was interested in the law and that it couldn’t hurt to have another degree. I walked onto campus committed to chasing whatever grabbed my attention. I expected Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Torts, or any other course to give me a pull in the direction I would go down. But my pull came unexpectedly.

My classes kept me preoccupied with legal doctrine and more reading than I care to recall. I was intrigued by my classwork, but I could never single out one as my primary interest. I kept running home and talking to my wife about stuff that I wasn’t required to learn about. It was the Digital Initiative Lunch-and-Learns that I would attend.

To me, it was a no-brainer to attend a free lunch and learn some useful skills. At the beginning that was just how I saw it. No need to bring food to school or pay for a meal, and maybe I learn how to save a few minutes when I had to write a brief. By the end of my first semester, those lunch-and-learns turned out to be far more significant.

I began to research emerging technologies in law practice. I started following dozens of legal innovation accounts on Twitter. I went to every possible Lunch-and-Learn that I could, even if I had brought my lunch that day. I could not get enough information about how technology and innovation could change the way that lawyers functioned.

Writing a brief? Here’s a tool to check your grammar and Blue Book citations. Researching cases to argue in court? Here is an artificial intelligence tool that shows you the most influential cases on the issue. Not very organized? Here is a tool to help you map out your days, projects, or notetaking.

To me, it just made sense to use these tools. After all, I am a first-generation law student with very little idea of how the law is “supposed” to be practiced. In short, you could say I was impressionable.

So, I took advantage of the programs that OU Law provided for me. As I mentioned before, I went to countless Digital Initiative lunch meetings. I became LTC4 certified thanks to the law school’s collaboration with the Legal Technologies Core Competencies Certification Coalition. I attended the 2019 ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago (a highlight of my first year) where I got to meet influential legal bloggers like Bob Ambrogi, Ivy Grey,  and Kevin O’Keefe, along with the Lawyerist team. And now, I work on building our very own student-led Technology and Legal Innovation Society here at OU Law.

I am blown away just thinking about all of the opportunities that I have been able to seize in just one year. But the benefits of Technology and Innovation didn’t end with the spring semester. I was lucky enough to land a job that allowed me to practice my new skills and even work remotely. Then, at the end of the summer, my employer offered to keep me around to help manage online accounts, his website, and other tech-related tasks. All of these opportunities are a direct result of my pursuit of innovation.

I have barely started my 2L year and I have already practiced using tools that save time and streamline the processes of research, drafting documents, managing documents, and organizing firm information. To me, that practical application and being able to use technology as a way to improve my study habits is an invaluable experience.

My experience with legal technology and innovation has changed my approach to my work and study in several ways; I am more efficient. I am more organized. I like to think that I also keep my information more secure. I can collaborate with coworkers and peers from anywhere. In short, I can do any task better and faster than I could without these tools.

I still don’t know what kind of law I will practice in the future. I’m not even sure that I will actively practice law. If I do, I likely won’t practice for very long. What I do know is this: I will use technology and innovation to do my job better and more efficiently. I will not use my incompetence to justify billing my clients for hours of work that I could save (not to mention the fact that it would be unethical and likely get one disbarred if taken to an extreme degree). I will make any legal process as transparent and simple for future clients because hiring a lawyer is already intimidating enough.

I will drive the legal profession to be better, serve more people, and positively impact lives. And I will be able to do all of this thanks to legal technology and innovation.

I am a big fan of podcasts. I am also a law student. Naturally, this means that I listen to podcasts about practicing law quite a bit. One of my favorite podcasts is The Lawyerist.

For anyone that is not familiar with Lawyerist, it is a platform that provides insight and resources to law firms to become better in practicing law. While all of the episodes I have listened to have struck me in unique ways, their episode with Fastcase CEO Ed Walters was particularly intriguing to me. In this episode, the focus was on leveraging data to make better lawyers and law firms. The discussion is driven by the publication of the book “Data-Driven Law.”

For some, the idea of using data in a law firm may sound foreign. However, as this episode pointed out, all firms rely on data. Lawyers rely on knowing judges and cases to anticipate how likely they are to win a case. Some lawyers rely on experience to determine how much certain litigation might cost. Practicing law is already driven by data. But what if that data was more accurate? What if it allowed you to standardize the likelihood of success? What if it made clients more confident in your services? The possibilities could drastically improve your practice if used correctly in several ways.

There were three uses for data that I found especially powerful while listening to this episode;

Increasing Firm Efficiency

Law firms need to be nurtured and grown. That means that there is more work in running a firm than just practicing law. You have to bill clients, bring in new clients, cover overhead costs, and pay employees. All of this takes time away from handling cases and actually practicing law no matter how you handle them. Most likely, the firm is going to spend money on advertisement campaigns and tools to improve client experiences to increase referrals.

By analyzing data, a firm could be able to identify where they are getting higher or lower returns on investments. Online campaigns could cost more than what the firm is making by intake from those services. Maybe a partner spends time chasing leads or managing payroll that limits the revenue that they could be bringing in with their billable hours. That partner could save time by using a more efficient tool, and, even if it costs money to use, could actually be saving money by freeing up their time to handle cases.

Data could explain how much money and time is being sunk into these tasks that firms may not realize are actually costing them money. This would allow you to readily access the analysis of how well your firm is using its resources.

More Accurate Predictions

Law firms provide unique services in relation to other markets. Lawyers rarely know, down to a statistical level, how likely cases are to play out one way or another. A layer’s experience and personal analysis already serve as data that informs decisions. However, when clients bring potentially life-changing issues to a lawyer, it is easy to see why they are afraid to move forward. Additionally, if a potential client is shopping for a lawyer, they may take the case to more than one firm to make their decision. It would stand to reason that the client would move forward with the firm that is able to calculate an exact higher-percentage of success, rather than the one that thinks it has “a good chance” of being a winner.

This ability shows that you take the time to consider their particular facts and apply your previous success in similar cases. Clients will feel far more confident in a firm that calculates their confidence instead of just making an educated guess. For a lot of clients, they are bringing life-changing problems to lawyers. When you consider that, it is easy to see why they would prefer to see a firm put in the effort to calculate probabilities.

Potential to Unbundle Services

Not all clients need or require a lawyer to handle their entire case. Some clients simply cannot afford a lawyer. So what if you could offer some services at a low flat rate? This has been a trend in law since the introduction of LegalZoom and other platforms that offer assistance with certain documents. However, law firms in many states would be capable of offering these “unbundled” services with a more personal touch as well.

As some states move towards allowing lawyers to assist pro se litigants, unbundled services could become the basis for several firms. With data analytics, firms could calculate flat rate services. These services could satisfy the client’s need for value and the firm’s need for profit. The system would be able to track how much time it takes to draft certain documents. The firm could then determine precisely how much each document would cost to draft.

Law firms need to focus on improving their operations. To do that, they need to understand their current operations. by leveraging their data, firms can increase efficiency and lower costs. They could even offer affordable flat-rate services. In order to reach more clients and improve existing client relationships, data should serve as an important tool for any law firm.

Technology in the legal field is effervescent – new companies are popping up everywhere; but what technology can law students actually use while they are in school? What canstudents take back and apply in their day to day studies? Certain companies stood out with their technology because of the way they allowed students to integrate the technology in their studies. Further, these companies’ technology transitioned with the students, as they became full time attorneys.

Throughout the 2019 ABA TECHShow, there were some standout companies for law students and academics. Companies could be placed into two categories based on their functionality: Research or Practice and Skills. These companies were:

 Research

 

Casetext

Casetext’s innovative AI machine, ‘Cara,’ allows students to research in a way never done before. A student can upload their paper and get suggestions for research from AI – we are living. The best part, Casetext is free.

LexisNexis

Students learn about LexisNexis in law school, but many might not know all the skills training videos LexisNexis provides or the advanced research opportunities on their sight. Plus, gain enough points, and students can cash in for gift cards.

fastcase

Fastcase prides itself on being ‘smarter legal research’ and they should. Their latest update of Fastcase7 is not only user friendly, but their powerful sorting algorithms get reliable and tailored research results.

Practice & Skills

 

kinnami

Kinnami is a unique company that allows students to authenticate their work by ‘timestamping’ it through their independent sight and keycode. If a student wanted to protect against academic integrity, for example, they could timestamp their work using this software.

PayneGroup

PayneGroup offers multiple different software that students could use throughout their time in law school. They offer tools such as Metadata wiping – when sent in an email; this can be handy when being an intern. They also offer formatting for appellate briefs, including table of authorities. They offer student discounts.

Word Rake  

Word Rake edits lawyers and students’ writings. This software could help students in law review, legal research and writing, and essentially every other law class they are in. They need something to proof read their papers and this software is the perfect tool to do it.

 

As a law student, these are the companies that can easily fit into the educational system and enhance the students’ lives. These companies have embraced technology with students in mind.

 

Jordan Thomas, 3L

As one of the few law students at the ABA TECHSHOW, I am pretty pumped about the unique perspective I now take with me into my career. Not only does the University of Oklahoma provide amazing opportunities for us to become technologically literate lawyers but experiencing the TECHSHOW provided a new view of the legal profession and the path of my potential career, one in which I may just become a legal entrepreneur.

Not to dog on our profession, but we are, in large part, still beholden to many who do not quite want to step into the 21st century. You know who I mean. Those partners who really don’t believe technology can be effective in the legal world. To these people I say: 1. Can I have a job? And 2. Let’s walk hand in hand and use some of the amazing tools other lawyers have created for us.

While partaking in tech skills training and learning about the available legal technologies, was in-and-of itself an invaluable experience, meeting lawyers turned entrepreneurs was definitely my favorite part of the ABA TECHSHOW.

Entering Law school I had no idea who I wanted to be, much less what I wanted to do. The law seemed interesting and I wasn’t quite ready to “adult” yet. I will never forget sitting in law school orientation and learning about the “legal mind.” At the time I sat quietly, eating my lunch, and internally rolling my eyes. Okay we get it, you’re going to make us smart. But as I reached the half way mark of my law school career I really started feeling my legal mind take shape and even my spouse would get annoyed when we would argue because I would manage to reason my way out of whatever it is I was probably wrong about.

Now as a 3L, I am excited about venturing out and finding a career. They say the career path used to be that of a ladder, you take the first step and if you make a good faith effort at your job you will see the next steps appearing and you will make your way to the top. Now, many people say it’s like a jungle gym. You start at the bottom and you take many twists and turns and when you reach a resting point you look back at your winding path, not entirely sure how you ended up where you are.

I find this will be increasingly true for lawyers as we step forward into our careers equipped not only with a formal legal education but with our legal minds, discerning and understanding the world around us in a unique way. I saw this more than ever at the TECHSHOW when I spoke with “former” attorneys about their start-ups and small businesses.

So many lawyers have stepped out from their traditional roles and used their personal experiences to make the profession better through their innovative ideas. Companies like Headnote and Casetext are founded by lawyers who know the business and saw a need for change and growth. Using their legal minds combined with their entrepreneurial spirit, they created successful companies offering digital solutions for a profession that tends to struggle with stepping into the digital world.

Meeting people who have taken their legal minds and become movers and shakers, using business innovation to make our profession better, faster, and more successful, improving access to justice and many other aspects of the legal realm. For a profession that builds its life on helping others it’s pretty awesome to meet those who have set out their careers to help those in their profession better help others.

Maybe one day I will find myself lawyer-turned entrepreneur and I will stand on the TECHSHOW floor, talking to law students, teaching them how to use my amazing new product. If not, I hope I can build my career in a way that empowers those with the passion and the insight to create amazing legal tech, using their legal minds to advance and stimulate our profession, to move it in a direction of innovation.

 

Meg Reeder-Cramer, 3L

 

I say that I was the TECHSHOW attendee with the least experience or knowledge of technology in the legal world. As a non-traditional student, I have felt a little (maybe significantly) behind my peers because using technology is not as natural to me as it seems to be to my younger peers. Before I left, my emotions ranged from excited to terrified. I really did not know what I expected to learn and had some doubts that it would be as beneficial as others claimed. I was wrong.

 

EXPO HALL

My sleep-deprived and travel-worn self initially found the Expo Hall to be a tad (incredibly) overwhelming. I literally trailed along with a much more talkative and engaging peer who buzzed from booth to booth asking the best questions. I learned so much just about what is available as my work experiences have been in government where cutting edge technology is hard to find. In one booth, there was an app developed to encrypt text messages between attorneys and clients. Next, there was a virtual receptionist who would take your calls—even provide translation services. In another booth, I found an insurance service that employers can provide to employees to provide basic legal services (wills, DUI’s, but not murder—they made that clear making me think there could be a story there) that also happened to be looking for lawyers in many states to contract for those legal services (Anyone want to practice in Alaska?). The list could go on and on.

 

SESSIONS

TECHSHOW offered tracks for specific interests, but I bounced around to different sessions on different tracks. While they varied, I was generally impressed with the presenters and took away valuable information that will help me in my future practice. For example, you can run a law practice and spend less than $150.00 a year on paper! Overall, the greatest takeaway was that the traditional practice of law is going to change and lawyers who want to succeed must get on board. I found sessions about virtual firms, social media, and paperless offices to provide the most valuable information. It was exciting to think about the possibilities available to new lawyers.

 

NETWORKING

As an extreme introvert, I find small talk and meeting new people to be slightly terrifying so I always dread networking. Prior to TECHSHOW I was really struggling with trying to decide what type of lawyer I wanted to be. As a non-traditional student, I have professional experiences that make it very clear what I do not want to do with my time, but I also have commitments that create nuanced circumstances affecting my career decisions.  While those experiences, in my opinion, make me a better law student, I was conflicted as to what direction to take. While making the dreaded small talk at one of the receptions, I met a law professor who told me about some of his students who have pursued less traditional routes and established solo practices or virtual practices straight from law school. That conversation really gave me the courage to consider options that may not be traditional but would work well for my family. While I am not completely certain as to what direction I will take, I am in a better position to make informed decisions about my future. I also took that conversation and used it to select to sessions to attend. By the way, the food and drinks were great, too!

 

I definitely value my TECHSHOW experience and plan to us it to shape my career regardless of which path I ultimately choose. I wish all of my peers could have the opportunity to attend.

 

Marci Gracey, 2L

 

When I got the email, I was beyond excited. I felt like I just gotten the golden ticket because I was one of eight students who would represent OU Law at the 2019 American Bar Association Techshow in Chicago, Illinois with Professor Brice, Director of Innovation and Technology.

 

​I work in the OU Legal Clinic, where a majority of our civil cases involve family law matters for low income clients. The work comes with the some of the best rewards. But it also comes with some daunting challenges—especially when funds are tight. With my passion for family law as a focal point, my mission at Techshow was to see how emerging technology can better assist and serve low income clients. To my surprise, I accomplished this mission with ease.

 

In divorce and custody cases, communication between the parties is often strained and disjointed, but it is one of the most important elements of being able to effectively co-parent and nurture the best interests of the children. While there are established platforms out there that provide a variety of ways to help facilitate communication between parents, the cost incurredin using these programs can prove problematic for parties who already cannot comfortably afford to pay for legal services. In the past, I have mentioned these services to my clients, and, while they seemed interested in the concept, they were more concerned about the expense and whether the other parent could afford it or would even be willing to use it.

As I walked through “Start Up Ally” at Techshow, I stumbled upon OurChildInfo.com (OCI). This private and secure website was created by Aaron Carine, a family law attorney from Illinois who was exasperated with the self-destructive behaviors of his clients when it came to communication. Carine’s website offers some of the same advantages of other communication-centered websites, but at a fraction of the price. With this website, there will be no more “lost phones” or “deleted messages”. No more constant struggle of getting clients to print out, line by line, their communications with the other party. Nothing can be deleted, and everything is timestamped with date and author. Clients can even post documents and photographs. Almost immediately after the demonstration, I fell in love. This website was a potential solution to a daily problem plaguing my clients going through divorce and custody battles! And it costs only $7.50 a month for the first parent who signs up, with the second parent getting free access.

Within two weeks of returning to Oklahoma after three enlightening days in Chicago, I was able to implement some of this fantastic legal technology that I had discovered. Soon after my return, I was counseling a client who is struggling to co-parent effectively due to toxic communication habits. After trying, admittedly in vain, to explain the various apps that allow users to screenshot texts and give some instructions on how to work a printer, I told her about OCI. Once she understood, she was so excited to finally block her ex and refer him to this affordable new communication tool. Seeing how this client responded to the program makes me even more excited to spread that excitement and peace-of-mind to my other clients.

It was an honor to attend the 2019 ABA Techshow. The experience has reinforced my belief that all law schools and firms should be open to new and emerging technology, andembrace the ways that these programs help make the practice of law more efficient and cost effective. But, more importantly, the legal community should adopt these programs for their ability to help us serve the clients who need us most.

Tommy Pfeil, 2L

As a first-generation law student, I came into my 1L year with very little knowledge of what work a lawyer actually does. I assumed that lawyers took meetings with clients, read legal textbooks and tried to come up with solutions to legal problems. I can confidently say, now, that I knew nothing.

Even without even working in a law firm yet, I know that a lawyer has to be able to bill, run payroll, manage cases, keep an orderly schedule, draft documents, manage staff, evaluate clients, bring new clients in, and so much more. In the sea of tasks that a firm has to do to stay afloat, there are always opportunities to drown. And even though I know there are solutions and processes that make these tasks more manageable so that lawyers can spend more time with clients and less time doing medial tasks, I don’t know how to use most of them.

Even with resources like the Digital Initiative that OU Law offers, podcasts, and bogs, it is difficult to keep up with what tools and practices are actually helpful and which ones do little more than complicate issues. So the question is: How do law students learn how to be lawyers? Currently, the answer is that we intern and work for a firm during the summers and then learn different practice methods as associates.

While this system has endured over the years, perhaps it is time to rethink our educational structure. Why shouldn’t law students learn about different business models as ways to run a firm? Why shouldn’t we at least have the chance to experience different models before committing to one immediately after passing the bar?

In my opinion, law students and firms alike would benefit from integrating a practice management course in law schools. Not only would students graduate with a better understanding of the business side of law firms, but they would graduate while being readily qualified to actually help with running the firm. More and more firms are expecting students to graduate and be proficient in using software such as Word and other technologies. It does not seem like a broad leap to expect them to also know how to run practice management software.

Granted, some courses that have long been taught in law schools would be displaced or condensed. For some, that sacrifice may not be worth adopting new curriculum that also strays from the typical course structure of law classes. However, for law schools that are focused on creating the best possible lawyers for practice rather than law review writers, judges, and clerks, this would be a reasonable sacrifice.

Students are already exposed to the theoretical and ideological aspects of law in their traditional courses. I will admit that these classes are vital so that graduates leave with a deep understanding of the law itself. I don’t want to be misinterpreted as saying that the law school structure needs to be scrapped. Instead, I think that small changes like this could add to the already rich education that students receive. Not only would we gain the academic value already provided by law schools, but we would have the knowledge to go out and create value in the legal market immediate after graduation. Firms could spend less money training new associates. New graduates could begin earning higher rates sooner in order to pay of student debt. Schools could use their success in these courses as a reflection of the value they offer both prospective students and firms looking to hire new associates.

I know that law school is not a trade school. I don’t want to see schools abandon their academic structure either. All I am advocating for is that schools, filled with professors who have experience practicing law in most cases, offer a semester of insight to the business side of law. I, and so many others, have recognized the value that these courses may provide for students, schools, and firms if it were to be provided.

Going into TECHSOW, I was excited. To have the opportunity as a 1L student at The University of Oklahoma College of Law in and of itself both energized and intimidated me. I knew it would be an experience that not many students would get, not to mention that some lawyers may never attend either.

At the end of the show, I am exhausted, sore, tired, and overwhelmed. Yet, I cannot wait to, hopefully, do it again. With that said, here are the most valuable things I came away with as a law student.  Continue Reading 6 Benefits of TECHSHOW from a Law Student