Ulster Uni’s A&O and Bakers-backed innovation hub launches lawtech LLM

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By Thomas Connelly on

New masters degree combines corporate law with computing

Ulster University’s law firm-backed innovation centre has developed a new masters degree which sees students split their time between the schools of law and computing.

The Uni’s Belfast-based hub — which launched in 2017 thanks to investment from the likes of Allen & Overy and Baker McKenzie, both of which have a presence in the city — hopes the programme will help foster the next generation of tech-minded lawyers.

The Corporate Law and Computing LLM/MSc covers topics including professional software development, data science and business intelligence, and perhaps more importantly, how these can be practically applied to day-to-day legal practice. Students will also get to grips with various lawtech programmes and have an opportunity to compete for paid placements at “leading international firms”, according to the uni.

As for the law school side, students will tackle areas such as business structures, corporate law, corporate governance, disputes and dissolution. The course also handles the basics of intellectual property (copyright, marks, patent and software licensing) as well as privacy, encryption and internet law.

“The School of Law teaches half the modules while the School of Computing, Engineering, and Intelligent Systems teaches the rest, so our graduates will sit comfortably within legal teams, tech teams, or at the intersection of both,” Mark Potkewitz, director of the legal innovation centre at Ulster University, told Legal Cheek.

Potkewitz, who spoke earlier this year at Legal Cheek‘s LegalEdCon North, continued:

“Whether somebody wishes to pursue a career in law and legal practice, professional services, or the tech industry, they will certainly finish our course with a transdisciplinary mix of knowledge and skills that will set them up for a career in a wide range of industries.”

The new offering comes amid a wider push among City law firms to improve the tech-savviness of their junior lawyers. Magic circle player Linklaters teamed up with Swansea Uni earlier this year to produce a series of tech modules for its trainees, while Clifford Chance launched a Tech Academy to help its lawyers tackle topics including coding, artificial intelligence and blockchain.

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