Chinese tech conglomerate Alibaba announced in April that it would launch Alibaba Law School, integrating big data teaching methods with legal education. As we await updates, law programs around the world have already begun re-designing their curriculums to better fit the age of big data and AI.
Tsinghua University Law School aims to educate interdisciplinary talents that can integrate legal capabilities with cutting-edge technologies, and has issued a series of curriculum reforms. Backed by Tsinghua Law and Big Data Research Center, the university will conduct research on the application of big data and AI in the legal industry.
One of the newest programs is a Masters in Law and Computing, which will include fundamental technical courses in networks, big data, and artificial intelligence; along with relevant legal courses in these areas. Graduates will be expected to safeguard national interests in ICT and participate in governance and policy-making.
Beijing’s Renmin University has set up a series of cross-disciplinary lectures in fintech and blockchain, while courses such as Introduction to Big Data Analytics are also open to law students.
Across the ocean, US law schools have been focusing on technology-related IP law for several decades now. Legal practitioners seizing this opportunity. Berkeley Law, for instance, ranks number one in the field of IP law in the 2018 U.S. News Grad School ranking. The school’s reputation in STEM education is supercharging its innovation in law: the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic program teaches students about lawyering, government institutions, and the complexities involved in technology-related law, such as biotech, copyright, patent, etc.
Also based on the West Coast, Stanford’s LLM in Law, Science & Technology (LST) augments the traditional study of law with courses in science, e-commerce, cybersecurity, biotech, health sciences, and intellectual property problems. Applicants require a law degree and two years of related work experience.
George Washington University Law School set up its own Patent Law Program in 1895. Its alumni helped patent the Bell telephone, Mergenthaler typewriter, and Eastman film cameras. The GWU Law School specializes in copyright, trademark, communications, e-commerce, biotech, etc.
The New York University School of Law meanwhile has established a Competition, Innovation, and Information Law Program, which offers students more than 40 courses in intellectual property.
The law industry is clearly evolving, setting the stage for further tech-friendly cross-disciplinary efforts such as Alibaba Law School.
Localization: Meiling Wu | Editor: Michael Sarazen