With artificial intelligence and related technologies playing an increasing role in legal practice, Swansea University has held a unique LegalTech Summer School.
Organised by the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, the programme involved experts in the legal technology sector giving legal professionals the skills to understand and embrace new tech, to innovate, and to put ‘LegalTech’ into practice, with hands-on sessions.
Exploring how technologies such as Artificial Intelligence impact on legal services, delegates were able to participate in lectures and workshops, as well as practical sessions focused on developing skills in areas such as legal design, natural language processing, automated legal processes, smart contracts, legal modelling, and machine learning.
These were designed to highlight how computational thinking can help us analyse legal and regulatory texts, problems, and processes, then develop innovative solutions.
Event organiser, Dr Adam Wyner, Associate Professor in Law and Computer Science at Swansea University, spoke of the driving force behind the event, saying:
“Technology is having an ever increasing impact on legal careers and the dynamic transformation of the legal profession is opening many new opportunities for those working in the sector, so it was a great adventure to create our first LegalTech Summer School.
“It was deeply satisfying to watch our tight-knit group of participants’ lively engagement with the topics, practical work, and one another. It was all about creating a meaningful and enjoyable learning experience for legal professionals, and I am already looking forward to next year’s event.”
Delegate James Phoenix, Dispute Resolution Associate at Linklaters, said:
“I’ve really enjoyed the LegalTech Summer School; it’s been great to get loads of different people in the same room sharing their opinions.
“It is really inspiring for me to come and talk to different people from different contexts, and to see the ground up view of what they do, because then you can take it back and think about it, and ruminate and look at what processes you can improve yourself.”
The Summer School also contributed towards fulfilling a legal professional’s need for continuing professional development (CPD).
Director of Professional Practice at Swansea University, Professor Angela Devereux, said:
“The LegalTech Summer School was a fantastic way for delegates to engage in CPD; it gave insights into areas of real and increasing significance to legal practitioners and their clients. Some sessions were eye-openers on potential new careers for our students; others unfolded a whole new language for conversing with digital technology experts.
“By having these conversations, professionals can better understand the array of potential efficiencies and new uses for technology in the legal world. Whether you were a lawyer, a draftsman or a legal technician, the sessions were accessible and yet had sufficient depth. The contribution of the participants made the whole experience invigorating.”