Getting ahead of the curve: learning skills for the future at MLS

Technology skills are increasingly essential for law graduates. Melbourne Law School's Mr Gary Cazalet is addressing this need with Law Apps, a subject where students design, build and release a live legal expert system that can provide legal information to non-lawyers.

Jodie Baker and Rachel Varghese, from Hive Legal.

Jodie Baker and Rachel Varghese from Hive Legal.

Melbourne Law School Dean Professor Carolyn Evans says that new technologies were providing innovative solutions in the law and MLS is the leader in Australia in regards to technology in legal education.

“MLS is producing law graduates of the future. Law graduates with these technology skills are more employable and more in a position to help clients” she says.

Skills in Action

MLS alumna and Law Graduate at Hive Legal Rachel Varghese (JD, 2015) completed the Law Apps subject in 2015. She says she chose the subject because the skills learnt would “be a great was to differentiate myself from other students given the demands for graduate positions.”

With no previous tech experience, the Law Apps subject “switched something on” in Rachel’s understanding of the relationship of law and technology, allowing her to “break out of traditional ways of thinking.”

This innovative way of thinking is a welcome approach at Hive Legal, a NewLaw firm that actively seeks to combine legal expertise with technology to meet client needs.

Managing Director of Hive Legal Jodie Baker (BA/LLB, 1997) views the skills developed in subjects such as Law Apps as “essential in this difficult legal market.” She says the first step though is “having faith in your intelligence outside of traditional legal thinking.”

The skills developed at MLS are already being used by Law Apps graduates to enhance legal services. Three past students contributed to the development of the ‘Hive Legal Super App,’ an online app developed by Hive Legal to assist clients in Legal, Risk and Compliance teams of Regulated Superannuation Funds. Building from this skills-base and their legal studies, Rachel, Ari Dyball and Lauren Harston assisted in the development of this intelligent technology.

Getting ahead of the curve

Ms Baker believes there is unnecessary fear mongering about the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal industry. She is passionate that new developments should be seen as an opportunity to enable and enhance legal work.

“The way legal services will be delivered by lawyers will change massively.

“If you understand what legal technology is about, you’re ahead of the curve.”

To learn more about the Law Apps subject at MLS, click here:

By Georgia Westbrook