International law firm Allens is teaming up with the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and software firm Neota Logic to create a program which will see law students create artificial intelligence (AI) applications that help people address legal problems online.
The “Allens Neota UTS Law Tech Challenge for Social Justice” is modeled on an original program developed in the US by Georgetown University Law School and Neota Logic Inc. It will grant 20 UTS Law students the opportunity to create intelligent web applications that promote access to justice and make tailored legal information more reachable.
Students and Allens’ staff will work in small teams with participating not-for-profit organisations to develop the applications using the Neota Logic software, designed specifically for people without programming experience.
The collaborative program will culminate in a showcase event – similar to the traditional law school moot court competition – where teams compete for the ‘Best Social Justice Application’ award.
“An understanding of technology – especially something as powerful as AI – will be an increasingly vital competency for lawyers of the future,” Allens’ partner Anna Collyer said.
“Working with clients to build solutions specific to their needs is key to our approach,” she said. “We’re delighted to work with the next generation of lawyers as they combine the disciplines of law and technology for the benefits of our community partners.”
Not only will the UTS-based program give students practical experience with state-of-the-art legal technology, but it will demonstrate how technology can be further utilised to make justice more accessible to all.
Director of Education at Neota Logic, Kevin G. Mulcahy, developed the model for the program with Georgetown Law Professor, Tanina Rostain. He said the new UTS program will “help law students learn to think more like engineers so their legal expertise can be leveraged via the Internet and benefit more people”.
Commencing in March 2017, the “Allens Neota UTS Law Tech Challenge for Social Justice” will be open to all UTS Law students enrolled in the extracurricular Brennan Justice and Leadership program.
The UTS program is distinct from others before it due to a high-level of industry involvement, with Allens’ lawyers playing a hands-on role in assisting students to develop applications for the partner not-for-profit organisations.
“Collaborating in teams with qualified lawyers and in consultation with their clients, our students will experience authentic practice management, while honing their analytical and communication skills,” UTS Law Dean Lesley Hitchens said.
“This is a unique opportunity for our students to discover how innovative thinking and legal technology can solve social justice problems.”
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