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Cornell's Tech-arm and 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. It's designed to provide practicing attorneys and recent law grads "with specialized skills to support and lead technology companies into the digital economy."
Are you sold yet? With language like that how can you not be?
New Tech LL.M.
Cornell's new LLM degree is a full one year degree and, according to Cornell Tech's Dean Dan Huttenlocher, the LLM that is the first of its kind. "The digital economy has raised huge societal, policy and legal questions that traditional law programs aren't designed to address," he said. Of course, the maiden launch of such an auspicious degree wouldn't be complete without the required and exclusive 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.
The courses offered seem to be beefed up versions of courses that are available in baby form at the JD level including learning how to structure deals, intellectual property, and raising capital. LLM students will also have the opportunity to satellite faculty and staff as they counsel tech startups in the NY metro area.
What's the Catch
One finds it difficult to shake off that nagging feeling that Cornell's launch of its Tech LLM is a not too skillfully veiled attempt to stimulate a faltering law school application rate by offering students something with the appearance of being new. Many law schools already offer a number of courses in their JD programs that cover the same material and even might offer similar experience too. The exclusivity probably has more to do with Cornell than the LLM itself.
And besides, fighting the tide of negative sentiment against the "Lawyers Losing Money" degree is along bet. Although, perhaps an LLM from Cornell does carry with it a certain patrician cache.
The first students to Cornell's new LLM program are set to enroll for 2016.