The University College of London recently hosted the launch of a unique collaborative program - LawWithoutWallsTM - which aims to bring together students, faculty, practitioners, and entrepreneurs from around the world to explore innovation in legal education and practice.
Spearheaded by a professor at the University of Miami School of Law, this program will give a chance to 22 students from six different institutions across three continents - Fordham, Harvard, Miami and New York Law Schools, Peking University School of Transnational Law, and University College London Faculty of Laws - to team up in pairs and carry out investigative research on an assigned topic so as to identify a problem or issue in legal education or practice. Research topics identified for the inaugural class span a wide range of issues - from legal outsourcing to culture issues, to the impact of technology and the business angle in legal education and practice.
Two to four students from each law school have been selected by their home institution based on a personal statement addressing why they want to participate in LWOWTM, an in-person interview, their work experience, and law school performance particularly in courses regarded to be relevant to the areas of research. Each pair of students will develop a Project of Worth to find a creative solution to that problem. Students will attend virtual class once a week and hold a series of virtual conversations with an academic mentor and a practitioner mentor. They will also have access to an entrepreneur advisory board and a subject expert board to ensure that the chosen projects are practical and realistic. The program will culminate in the presentation of the students' solutions to their given research issue at a ConPosium hosted by the University of Miami School of Law in April 2011.
During the recent launch at the University College, LWOW students got an opportunity to meet leading academics, practitioners and entrepreneurs and engage in discussions over ways in which they could advance the provision of legal services and education by breaking down barriers to innovation and embracing technology. Speaking to the students, University of Strathclyde Professor Richard Susskind explained, there are emerging better and more efficient techniques of delivering legal services and he urged the legal profession to embrace them just as others have done.