Our law firm recently had the opportunity to participate in the Connect a Million Minds event at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. The event targeted fourth through eighth graders, but there were kids from various age groups, along with their parents. We were invited to exhibit how we use technology in the delivery of legal services.
Despite my original thought on exhibiting estate planning concepts, we focused on protecting ideas and inventions (apparently end of life issues were not age-appropriate). Kids were invited to draw and submit an invention for fun. It gave us an opportunity to speak with parents about how we operate and use technology as a firm.
Demonstrating the Boonshoft’s sense of humor, they put us in between the booth for Time Warner Cable and a forensic investigator, who uses maggots to do his work. In other words, they put the disliked cable company, the lawyers and the “Maggot Man” all in a row. I think there are about 50 jokes in there somewhere.
This raises the issue of how STEM can play a part in educating our children about the roles of lawyers currently and down the road.
STEM is all the rage in education, why shouldn’t using technology to deliver legal services be part of the process? As a profession, we are trying to figure out how technology plays a role in day-to-day operations and how law schools should be training students under the “New Normal.”
Maybe high school and undergrad educators are ahead of the curve and are teaching students how technology plays a role in legal services, but I doubt it is extensive. It seems that there are interesting opportunities to push this into mock trial and debate programs, for starters. It could be something as simple as a closing argument being illustrated through the use of Trialpad. These issues also could play a core part of prelaw undergraduate programs.
Intertwining the delivery of legal services into STEM programs would put students in a different place on the first day of law school. Even if the students ultimately choose different career paths and do not attend law school, they are likely to be consumers of legal services. Understanding how this all fits together benefits both sides of the lawyer-client relationship. This idea falls into the long-term vision of how the market will change — perhaps the phrase “investing in our future” fits here.