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Cornell's New Tech LLM Is Generating a Lot of Buzz

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on April 11, 2016 6:58 AM

Cornell Law School announced late October the launch of a LL.M in Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship. According to Cornell, the primary impetus behind this move is to help fresh law grads and practicing attorneys learn the legal and business considerations that technologists and entrepreneurs need to operate in an increasingly technology driven world. The new program already seems to be generating a lot of interest ... from employers.

Although the first LLM class is slated to have between 10 and 15 students, the number is expected to increase over time. We're thinking that those first few will have decent opportunities upon graduation.

New Tech LL.M.

Cornell's new LLM degree is a full one-year degree and looks to be the first of its kind that Cornell offers. Charles Whitehead, the director of the new program beamed proudly: "A lot of work went into this program."

However, Cornell is not the first law school to offer such a technology focused LLM. Stanford offers a similar degree and other schools have gotten into the Tech-LLM game, too.

Coursework

The new LLM curriculum borrows heavily from Cornell's Law Tech program and promises that students will have opportunities to engage in "collaboration" exercises on campus as well as with New York-based companies in the tech industry.

One impetus for the program is to tap into the pool of available technology heads at Cornell's tech campus. Many within the first LLM class already have some work experience beyond getting their JDs. They were filtered out from the other riff-raff by having to undergo a rigorous hour long interview which involved being presented with a business problem and having to devise a way to best address the problem.

Coursework includes IP, employment law, Internet law and cybersecurity, fund-raising. Obviously, the emphasis is heavy on the technology angle.

The Learning Style

A few more details have trickled out about the new LLM since we last heard about it back late last year. Almost by definition, the selected candidates for the LLM program will already have a background in technology so as to best help their clients solve their problems.

So far, a practice component is planned for the program. Students will be placed in teams and will work with technologist and business people. The idea is to increase interaction with persons who would be the students future clients. Of course, the program is still in its nascent stages and will have to refined over time. In the words of Whitehead, "[The students] are going to be part of this creative team."

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