Coding for Lawyers – 6959

In this digital driven world, more legal professionals are migrating to a combination of law and coding as dual set of skills are becoming increasingly valuable and programming expertise is certainly providing a competitive advantage when it comes to advising legal tech companies.

Lawyers need an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of coding, how to implement it, and how long it would take to develop certain solutions. This seminar will provide that foundation. It aims to equip prospective legal professionals with the tools to understand the basic concepts of coding relating to technologies and applications that are changing the legal profession. This will enable them to become familiar with the design and operation of legal technologies.

Given that information is increasingly being stored electronically, coding is of value because it assists with searching, organising, filtering and presenting information. This is of particular use for the purposes of discovery in litigation. In addition, data analytics and artificial intelligence use algorithms which facilitate research and review activities, conducting these tasks in ways that are cheaper and faster than human lawyers. Since these techniques are code-based, lawyers will draw value in the medium to long term from understanding these skills and systems.

This seminar provides: an introduction to legal tech in the digital age; an overview of lawyers as project managers; an overview of artificial intelligence and its impact on legal tech; an introduction to programming in Python, machine learning and natural language processing techniques as part of legal tech solutions; and insights into the latest trends in legal tech. Students will not be expected to be fluent coders by the end of the course, but to have an appreciation and understanding of the capabilities of coding.

The course is based on blended learning. It will combine online and face-to-face lectures and practical sessions. Online sessions will take place from January to March and face-to-face sessions will take place from March until the end of the semester. All classes will be physically hosted in a classroom at the University of Minnesota School of Law and online sessions will be facilitated via video conference software. The methodology to be applied during the practical sessions is guided learning where the student will execute lines of code, see the results and answer questions about what happened. No previous programming experience is required.

Subject Area
Intellectual Property and Technology *
Student Year
Upper Division
Grade base
Course type