First to do so
Manchester Law School has become what is believed to be the first university to make digital skills in areas such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word, a core requirement of students’ undergraduate law degrees.
The module ‘Digital Skills for Lawyers’, developed in partnership with US tech innovators ProCertas, has been designed by the law school’s strategic lead for education, Dr Kryss Macleod, and encompasses three key elements.
The first element develops and tests students on their proficiency in Word Contract and Word Brief (using Microsoft Word’s features for contracts and other legal documents) as well as Excel and PowerPoint within a law context.
The second requires students to engage with a range of legal technology, such as blockchain, to examine and critique the impact of these tools in the sector. Ethical issues are also a key focus, in terms of professional codes of conduct, and also the wider ethical considerations that emanate from the uses of technologies in legal services. Finally, the module requires that the students reflect and engage with their own professional development within this wider context.
Professor Andrew Francis, dean of the law school, said:
“The deregulation of undergraduate legal education has meant that law schools, such as ours, have the flexibility to take up the opportunity to work closely with different providers and businesses to develop exciting responses that will position students effectively to respond to the needs of a rapidly changing legal services market.”
Though this is understood to be the first example where a digital skills course has been made a core requirement on an LLB, similar tech-savvy offerings have been doing the rounds for a number of years now.
In 2019, BPP University Law School partnered with digital legal services platform HighIQ to teach legal tech skills to its aspiring lawyers. Meanwhile, magic circle firm Linklaters joined forces with Swansea University to deliver six online legal tech modules to its trainees and future lawyers.