Human-centred design, creativity, and advanced data analysis have become the building blocks for innovation in the legal industry for the first cohort through QUT’s Graduate Certificate in Future Law Technologies.
Delivered online in a year when a global pandemic shifted the way many people work, live, and study, Kirsty Paynter and Christopher Raleigh provide insights into the course and how they are already applying their learnings in the real world.
QUT Faculty of Law Executive Dean, Professor Dan Hunter introduced the course earlier this year in response to the rapidly changing landscape of the legal industry through technology, globalisation and a shift in client expectations. “As the largest law school in Australia, we have an obligation to our students and the legal profession to ensure our courses respond to the changing needs of the industry and equip our students with the skills, mindsets and capabilities to meet those challenges head on,” he said.
Units provide learning opportunities and skill-building within legal analytics, design, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. When the course was first assembled it was welcomed by the legal industry. Mick Sheehy, Partner at PwC, said, “The future of law is all about building legal technology, using and visualising data, designing better legal experiences and working in cross-functional teams to bring all these pieces together.”
“By studying this course I am so excited about the extra value I can bring to my role as a Legal Counsel in future. The days of a lawyer only providing legal advice are over. Lawyers now need to show the “value add” they can bring in addition to their legal skills. By working as a Legal Counsel at places like Telstra and a PropTech start up I’ve experienced firsthand how valuable lawyers are if they are technologically innovative and possess the right mindset for the times we find ourselves in. “
“It’s so important to be able to set yourself apart and stand out in your professional career. I chose this course to be able to achieve this. I want to be able to confidently and capably be a legally innovative lawyer that embraces cutting edge knowledge in a truly disruptive time for the legal industry. This course perfectly addresses this."
Also achieving a GPA of 7.0 in her first semester of the course, Kirsty Paynter said, “the course had everything I was looking for – design thinking and creation of innovative legal solutions to broaden the way I approach problems, quantitative analysis and automation of legal services.”
“Learning that it is safe to fail and the craziest ideas can often be the best solutions to a problem is certainly a new way of learning for me and I love it because it has helped me to start thinking of human-centred new solutions and move away from old-fashioned ideas and concepts.”
Learning online provided the flexibility for Kirsty to fit her learning around her work and personal commitments. “As a Graduate course, each student brings real world experiences to the group problem solving sessions which are interactive, lively, and inclusive. This gives us the best opportunity to grow and learn, leverage from each other’s skills to move forward and test solutions in a group. We discuss, identify and analyse real world problems, many of which don’t yet have solutions which is so exciting.”
After two weeks studying legal design Christopher became passionate about communicating the law more creatively, “I redesigned the contracts at the FinTech start up I was working at. I also started delivering advice to the company in a way that embraces legal design thinking so it would be much easier for all staff to understand and follow the advice.”
His advice to those considering the course, “I would say jump on board or get left behind. Don’t be afraid to dive into this course head on because your professional career will benefit so quickly after you start. Like everything in life, you get out what you put in. If you’re motivated enough to put effort into this course you will be so pleasantly surprised what you get out of it.”
Course Coordinator Dr. Rachel Hews said, "This course is a must if you’re looking to expand your legal career either nationally or globally. I bring my passion of law, education and human centred design, to support students in finding creative and innovative ways to build better legal futures."
Now preparing for its second intake of students in 2021, Executive Dean Professor Dan Hunter said, "As an educator, I have, I believe, an ethical duty to understand where the future is going to take our students and graduates, and adjust accordingly. It’s not enough, unfortunately, for legal academics to teach our students the same things that they were taught when they started their legal careers. The future of law looks nothing like its past. One of the steps we've made towards preparing for that future is this course," said Professor Dan Hunter.
For more information about the Graduate Certificate in Future Law Technologies see here.