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Lawyering in the Age of Smart Machines

Course number


About the Instructor

Quinten Steenhuis,

Twitter Website

Course information

Meeting Time

6 PM-7:50 PM, Wednesdays, Spring 2021 Via Zoom



Weekly Assignments


Final project

Final Project

About the class

The practice of law is increasingly built around digital tools. Lawyers who understand technology have an advantage in the marketplace, both to reduce their operating costs and to help more people. Lawyers today use technology to:

  • Run the business side of the law firm, including
    • Tracking client information
    • Reaching new clients
  • Help make decisions
  • Reduce repetitive tasks through automation and templates
  • Deliver legal services directly to litigants

This class will provide you a survey of the world of legal technology, with special attention to the use of technology to serve underserved markets and to address the access to justice gap. In the second half of the class, you will produce a final project using one of the tools that we learned in class to solve a legal problem.

We will have a variety of guest speakers in this class, representing the public interest, corporate, and academic perspectives on legal technology. Guest names and bios will be provided in advance. No programming experience or other technical background is required.

Textbook/Course Materials

All readings and course materials will be available online. You may choose to download and print various articles. You will be expected to sign up for free accounts on publically hosted websites, while other accounts will be provided for you. Students are expected to bring an Internet-connected laptop with a modern web browser to each class session.

Consider a second monitor, which will cost less than any of your required textbooks. This will allow you to watch a screenshare while following along on your own computer. I recognize most students will not have this, and I do not expect anyone to buy one if it does not feel affordable. Please let me know when you need me to slow down so you can switch back and forth between the two views.

Software tools

We may make use of some of the following free websites and software applications:

Required software will not need to be installed on your computer. You can use a Windows, Macintosh or Linux computer for all course assignments.


Independent reading

If you would like to stay up to date with the legal tech world, I recommend: