Building Empathy with Legal Technology: How teaching law students to automate court forms teaches them to care about access to justice (IP)
Most legal technology courses focus either on exposing law students to the latest and greatest technoloogy (AI, Machine Learning) or ensuring that they are practice ready with practical day-to-day lawyering technology tools (e-filing, time keeping). However, a crucial element of lawyering is the ability to relate to clients and to translate complex legal issues into understandable and digestable segments for the average person. This is often missing from legal technology courses, but empathy and legal technology do not have to be mutually exclusive. Automated court forms are use by hundreds of thousands of self-represented litigants every year to solve their legal problems. CALI's own A2J Author is the leading document assembly tool for courts, legal aid organizations, and other non-profit organizations to automate legal processes. Over 25 schools have taught their students how to create A2J Guided Interviews that break down complicated legalese into plain language with a strong emphasis on understand the self-represented litigants who are going to be using the automated documents. Students in these courses learn about the staggering number of people who are forced to become self-represented litigants and what technology can do to bridge the justice gap. Attendees will hear about the numerous types of courses that can be taught around document automation from clinics to doctrinal courses to seminars, what tools CALI has to support the faculty and students in their courses, and how impactful a 1 semester course can be on the access to justice crisis.