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Legal Ed in a Networked World: recordings and notes

As promised, we’ve made video of our event last Thursday, Legal Education in a Networked World, available on video. There’s a fun section right in the middle where we switch briefly over to Second Life and the panelists see how they’re being projected into cyberspace (screenshot below).

Forum video screenshot

To get a full sense of what was going on among the audience, I also recommend checking out the Question Tool where participants posted questions. Version 1.0 – no voting; Version 2.0 (choose LegalEducation2006) voting fixed.

The panel covered quite a bit in the span of a mere 90 minutes. I’ve got my own MP3 recordings and notes after the jump.

Notes to be updated (I started keeping them only partway through):


LegalEd_2006-12-07-a (2.5 MB)

Charlie and Andy’s welcome.

Introduction of the Question Tool

LegalEd_2006-12-07-b (0.5 MB)

Intro of the Question Tool

Laptops in the Classroom

LegalEd_2006-12-07-c (3.6 MB)

The panel discusses the first issue posed by Charlie: Laptops in the law school classroom.

“Teaching technologically”

LegalEd_2006-12-07-d (1.9 MB)

Charlie poses the question of how to “teach technologically?”

Ron suggests that students might build things together

Stone: You’d be better off asking yourself, What needs to be happening in my teaching that maybe isn’t happening now — so are there new kinds of things I need to be teaching as a result of this technologically sophisticated world; are there new ways I should be trying to teach that I’m not doing. So find yourself targeted difficulties… something that’s important to understand, difficult to teach and learn.”

Classroom and Second Life collide

LegalEd_2006-12-07-e (2 MB)

“Here’s a comment for the audience: we in cybserspace at the moment have been having a great conversation while this conference has been going on. Do you all think that you have been getting a similar experience as we have?”

Charlie: “I’ve gone beyond. I’ve always wanted to do that.”

Jon: Maybe technology has changed, but maybe it adds nothing to the thinking that we teach — the substance hasn’t changed at all. “Technology hasn’t changed us in the least.”

Andy: Law firm partners don’t care about what technology we teach. But… we do need to teach law in the context of how it’s practiced today, not the way it was practiced 20,30,40 years ago.

Charlie: Changes my job from managing this classroom space to an architect of the rhetorical space that we’ve created for my teaching. Maybe some parts of the class in which laptops open, and others where laptops closed. “Can we be out there without destroying what’s in here?”

E-Discovery and critical thinking

LegalEd_2006-12-07-f (3.5 MB)

Pat: “Something does happen during law school. They become critical thinkers.” Find a way to incorporate technology so they learn to think critically using these tools (like e-discovery).

Jon describes the e-discovery “pit.” Responsive/non-responsive, privileged/not-privileged/”hot or not.” Is it an appropriate use for young associates? It’s a great use for associates to understand how discovery and the law works. But not good when associates become mired. Some even like it. “But it is, not be frank, the full-fledged practice of law.” And the percentage who like it is not a small minority any more either.

Pat: But what happens when this stuff is sent offshore? The promise of the technology is you can go back to being a lawyer — the critical thinking.

Ron: Exciting to bring this work into law school, to be taught in 6, 3, fewer weeks. Strategic aspects of large-document cases.

Pat: Being done – SH’s spring writing course is going to use e-discovery tool to use technology to learn legal implications of technology. “We will increasingly develop uses for these technologies to develop critical thinking, and that’s where the joy of teaching will still remain.”

Jon: Technology creates a scale of documents (100M+ documents), but also gives tools for managing on that scale. And clients starting to waive privilege to avoid high expenses.


LegalEd_2006-12-07-g (0.9 MB)

Question 1

LegalEd_2006-12-07-q1 (0.4 MB)

John Palfrey, via Rebecca Nesson: “Do we agree with Charlie that it is good faculty policy for there to be some times in class when there are laptops open and other times when laptops are down (or, some entire classes with laptops and others without)?”

Question 2

LegalEd_2006-12-07-q2 (1.1 MB)

Elizabeth Armstrong, HMS: (a) What are the goals of the class that will help me succeed? (b) How will I be graded, and will I have sufficient opportunity to demonstrate what you describe as the purpose?

Questions 3, 4

LegalEd_2006-12-07-q3,4 (1.2 MB)

“When HLS put ethernet jacks in renovated classrooms, the first thing we did was to turn them off. Same with wifi now: we blanket the school in wifi, then we start talking about how to keep students from accessing it during class. What gives?”

Jon: “It puts the pressure on faculty to be relevant, to be powerful in the classroom, and that’s a scary proposition for some who’ve not been that for a while.”

What about technology to extend beyond the classroom, e.g. podcasts, blogs.

Stone: Make evaluations of technology after determining the goals.

Ron: “The professors who are stuck in the traditional modes of teaching… may not be as effective in teaching these new problem-solving approaches and these new types of skills and these new engaged types of learning processes that mirror the kinds of work that goes on in the modern law firm.”

Question 5 and closing

LegalEd_2006-12-07-q5 (3 MB)

Is there a way to create a systemic response to the gap between law schools and practice?

Pat: who’s obligated to do what. If practice wants law schools to teach critical thinking skills, then firms have an obligation when the students arrive. In the continuum between law schools and practice, “There are slopes and vertical cliffs.” “And we as a society are facing a vertical cliff of technology that we’re all climbing.”

Jon: Biggest gap is in the daily pressures that are largely tech-driven, e.g. response time of emails — managing the technology in your life, in your profession.

Ron: “We’re right in the verge of an explosion of capabilities… and we have the opportunity to bring into our classrooms very realistic images of what it’s like to practice law.” Rich simulations that use the same technologies as in practice so there isn’t a gap.

Stone: When you try to figure out where to shoot all that firepower, look at challenges that are recognized in fields of practice that the people in law schools really feel they have something to offer.

Sandy: Hierarchies of information: the need to evaluate their value.

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{ 2 } Comments

  1. Beth | December 15, 2006 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    He he – that’s me in the cc t-shirt and dress.
    I have a photo of that image from in world .. along with my notes

    Anyway, thanks for the notes. The SL back channel chat while you were in the room discussing the topic was very rich. I wasn’t able to capture before my computer crash and the text transcript somehow wouldn’t convey the richness of the dialogue. It was also interesting to me that the same sorts of questions about the use of technology and the use of Sl – are being discussed in other types of educational areas and disciplines. I work in the nonprofit area — and right just dealing with a huge amount of skepticism a la the shirky rant.

  2. Suse | September 15, 2007 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Hello! Very interesting and professional site. notem6715

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  1. […] This summary of a recent law-teaching-tech program at Harvard prompts me to ask a related question: […]

  2. […] Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center recently hosted a conference that examined the role of technology in legal education.  They have recently made the video and other conference documents available online.  To access conference materials, go here. […]