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Do Law School Tech Programs Give Students an Edge in the Job Market?

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on March 01, 2019 2:56 PM

Law schools offer more tech programs for students these days, but the future of legal tech is a little cloudy.

The good news: tech courses prepare students for future careers. The bad news: there may not be as many law jobs in the future.

It's not just the robots taking over legal tasks. Law firms aren't hiring a lot of tech lawyers.

Law Job Market

Daniel Sanders, a graduate of the technology institute at Chicago-Kent State College of Law, is an example. After graduating, he tried to get a job in privacy law or data security but got no takers.

He finally landed a part-time litigation position, then a full-time job at a legal services provider. A year later, he was trying solo practice.

"I've applied to JD-required, JD-preferred and JD-not-required jobs," he told the ABA Journal. "To be honest, I really don't know how much my law degree helps me, because most of the time I don't hear back."

Sanders' story is typical for law graduates in 2017. In his class of 223 graduates, about 25 percent of them didn't have jobs within a year. Nationwide, statistics are about the same.

Tech Job Market

It's hard to predict the weather, much less the future of legal tech. But some say there are few tech jobs for new lawyers, largely because the profession isn't ready for them.

David Wilkins, director of Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession, says nobody has figured out the market for tech lawyers yet.

"What legal technology is actually going to be used for, versus the hype, is something that we're just beginning to figure out," he said. "So it's very difficult to figure out what you will be training people for."

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