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Magic circle and the bar team up with Oxford University on £1.2 million AI research project

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Education and training of future lawyers is a central aim

A multi-disciplinary group of academics from the University of Oxford will join forces with magic circle law firms Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May, and top insolvency chambers South Square, to research the potential and limitations of artificial intelligence (AI).

The project, which has just received £1.2 million of government funding via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), also involves the Law Society, legal tech giant Thomson Reuters, access to justice lawtech start-up LexSnap and the Legal Education Foundation charity.

Academics from Oxford University’s law, computer science, economics, education and social policy departments will work with the solicitors, barristers and other parties involved to consider a number of issues.

These include investigating new business models deploying AI in law to help identify best practice in governance and strategy; understanding the potential for application of AI in dispute resolution; exploring the application of new AI methods to legal reasoning; and comparing skills training and technology transfer in the UK with competitor countries such as the US, Hong Kong and Singapore to draw policy implications.

The overriding aim of the project will be research into training and educational needs for lawyers’ engagement with technology and computer programmers’ engagement with law. The team will develop education and training packages that respond to these needs for delivery by both universities and private-sector firms.

Oxford University Law Faculty Professor John Armour, who is leading the team working on the project, said:

“I am delighted that we will be able to embark on this innovative and timely programme of research. The project team will draw on relevant expertise from a wide range of disciplines across the university, and we will work together with a number of private sector partners who are also engaging with these issues. It is hugely exciting to be able to work with such an outstanding team.”

Multi-disciplinary skills will be one of the key themes of Legal Cheek’s Future of Legal Education and Training Conference 2019 at Kings Place London. Speakers from Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Manchester University and STEM Future Lawyers will discuss new lawtech training contracts and collaborations between law and computer science departments. Super Early Bird ticket sales close at midnight tonight.

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