Legal education and the practice of law are undergoing significant changes. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, programming, high-performance computing and other forms of technology are transforming the way attorneys conduct research, evaluate cases and interact with clients. To date, few law schools have made any effort to adapt their curriculum to prepare for this new reality. Leading the way for both students and the bar, the College of Law is actively engaged in anticipating and influencing how this new reality will impact the legal profession.
Our cover story tells of our partnership with Robinson College of Business to establish the Legal Analytics Lab, which combines the expertise of the Robinson faculty in unstructured data analytics with the legal expertise of College of Law faculty. Legal research that in the past would have required hundreds of hours and significant resources now can be done in a fraction of the time with a higher degree of accuracy. Under the leadership of associate professor Charlotte Alexander, the lab has developed a robust research program, fostered multiple collaborations and engaged with outside partners to tackle real legal challenges. Our emerging legal analytics curriculum and joint-degree programs will teach students to exploit these tools to solve client problems in ways never before conceived.
Our alumni already are experiencing changes occasioned by technology on the front lines of the profession. On page 20, Johnny Lee (J.D. ’99) and Todd De Jong (J.D. ’09) discuss the challenges of e-discovery and digital forensics, as well as newly emerging areas of specialization for attorneys. Kris Niedringhaus, our associate dean of library and information services, highlights the inevitable ethical challenges that will arise out of the increased use of artificial intelligence on page 16. Also, be sure to note on page 15 how the college is using data analytics to ensure our students reach the highest level of success. By identifying patterns in student achievement, we can intervene quickly when problems arise and help every student pass the bar successfully.
I have often heard it said that law schools have changed more in the last 10 years than they did in the previous 100. Looking ahead to the next 10 years, it’s fair to say that we haven’t seen anything yet! Fortunately, with Georgia State Law’s entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiastic approach to change, there has never been a more exciting time to teach the next generation. We look forward to partnering with you as we encounter the future.