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Program on Law & Innovation

The law, the legal services industry and legal education are all undergoing unprecedented transformations because of rapid social, economic, and technological changes. Vanderbilt’s Program on Law and Innovation is designed to equip Vanderbilt Law students with what they need to successfully navigate and influence the directions in which these changes take law, and the legal industry, throughout their careers.

The way lawyers practice law is changing at a pace far greater than ever before. Legal clients demand greater efficiency, lower costs, and better results. Technological advancements have led to technologies, such as electronic document review using machine learning, that have disrupted long-established ways of managing legal practices and cases. Vanderbilt’s Program on Law and Innovation is designed to train the next generation of lawyers to succeed in a rapidly evolving professional environment by anticipating and taking advantage of the opportunities created by changes in law and legal practice. The program’s curriculum and activities focus on four related themes:

  • The Legal Industry: Legal Service providers of all sizes and types are restructuring and changing the ways their lawyers practice. Traditional law firms now compete for business with new types of legal service providers, including legal project management firms and document review shops. New legal jobs, such as legal risk consultants and legal knowledge managers, are now available.
  • Legal Technologies: Computers are increasingly doing legal work, from reviewing documents for relevant information to predicting liabilities and litigation outcomes using computer algorithms. These technologies allow lawyers to deliver more efficient and reliable services and results. They also affect the demand for lawyers and the skillsets needed to deliver legal services.
  • Legal Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Fueled by rapid social, economic, and technological changes, the demand for change in law is also on the rise. Existing regulations don’t address the issues raised by new technologies such as commercial drones, and now financial products that present uncertain risks demand new strategies for public oversight. Young lawyers with an entrepreneurial eye can quickly develop expertise in an emerging or evolving area of law.
  • Access to Legal Services: Most people and businesses could not afford top-quality legal services in the past. As lawyers become more efficient and legal technologies more widely available, the availability of affordable legal services will open new markets for entrepreneurial lawyers and legal enterprises.

The program’s curriculum and activities expose Vanderbilt Law students to these and other changes in the legal industry that will have profound influence on the way they practice law. Our program faculty is committed to training savvy lawyers who will be innovators in law and legal practice.

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