The PoLI Institute represents a natural evolution of Vanderbilt Law's Program on Law and Innovation (PoLI), launched in 2015 under the leadership and vision of Dean Chris Guthrie . PoLI's mission is to equip Vanderbilt students with the modern skills and tools to navigate an ever-rapidly changing legal landscape — and position them to lead this change.
With the PoLI Institute, we're expanding the scope of the PoLI curriculum and bringing it to practicing legal professionals.
The Music City Legal Hackers work at the intersection of law, technology and the public interest to deploy technology in innovative ways to meet legal service needs. The group, affiliated with a global network, brings together law students, academics, practicing lawyers and other disciplines to explore how social concerns can be addressed through innovative approaches to the delivery of legal services. VLS students participate in regular "hackathons," creating solutions to pressing legal needs in the Nashville community.
3L Kyle Miller (center) joined over 40 attorneys, tech experts and clients in the first Legal Hackathon sponsored by the Program on Law & Innovation in spring 2017. Five pro bono legal services providers attended as stakeholders with problems which lawyers, technologists might help solve. Over the course of the day, four technology solutions were created to increase the service capacity of these pro bono entities. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark '79 (BA'71) appeared to thank the legal hackers for their service to promote access to justice in Tennessee.
Following the phenomenon of Bitcoin, businesses and lawyers are beginning to explore the unique technology on which it was built. Blockchain, a distributed ledger platform, is a secure, transparent, virtually instant and verifiable technology that can be used to support many kinds of transactions without much of the costly intervention of numerous intermediaries which reduce the value of the transaction. These "smart contracts" or "intelligent transactions" can literally execute themselves.
Adjunct Professor Jason Epstein, a partner with the Nashville office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, offers his perspectives about legal issues surrounding the emerging technology of blockchain at the Blockchain and Law conference sponsored by the Program on Law & Innovation.
The Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Law brings together academics and practitioners working in one or both of two themes—AI for Law, which explores how AI will be deployed in legal research and practice; and Law for AI, focused on the legal, policy, and ethical issues that the deployment of AI in society is likely to create. Each year’s workshop includes some of the nation’s most thoughtful experts and thinkers in both spaces.
Students demonstrating an interest in the focal themes of the Program and wishing to support Program scholarship and activities can apply for a semester-long Student Research Fellowship. One fellowship will be awarded each semester.
Vanderbilt Law School provides financial support to students who work in the summer for non-profit organizations dedicated to developing legal innovations that promote access to legal services for small businesses and low and moderate income families.