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Legal Informatics

The legal system is undergoing rapid change due to - among other forces - expanding use of information technology in legal services as well as globalization of the legal industry. This class offers an overview of how technology is used in legal today's legal practice and how it will be changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly in the foreseeable future. Through this class students gain an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities the legal system and the legal industry are facing and learn about innovative new systems seeking to address them. Students will be introduced to technologies that are commonly used for legal research, as well matter management and client management by law firms as well as in-house departments. Students will also be familiarized with the next generation of innovative systems and platforms that challenge the way law has been practiced to date, but also promise to increase the efficiency of our legal system. The class modules include: (i) Legal Document Management (including electronic legal research, e-discovery, specialized legal databases), (ii) Legal Infrastructure (including: case management, legal lead generation, managing the firms legal business process and legal process outsourcing), and (iii) Computational Law (including: legal expert systems, computable contracts, and unauthorized practice of law issues). Expert guest-speakers from academia and industry will provide for a diverse and interdisciplinary experience. Successful legal technology entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the legal technology space will provide a practical angle to the discussion. Special Instructions: Grades will be based on class participation including class preparation (25% of grade) and one of the following two options: Option 1 (section 01): Legal Technology Project (individual or group). Students will be presented with a series of research problems posed by industry partners of CodeX - The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics ( Students can select a project and, individually or as part of a team, address the posed problem in form of a written report or by preparing a technical demonstration project/prototype that aims to solve the problem posed by the industry partner (75% of grade); or Option 2 (section 02): independent research paper (75% of grade). Students shall write an independent research paper on a legal informatics topic. You are invited to propose a topic and a working title and to discuss your topic ideas with us. The topic and the working title of the research paper must be approved by the instructors, before you start your detailed research. Independent research papers require by definition that students include other research materials besides the introductory and advanced readings for class. Students electing option 2 will receive Research (R) credit. Students taking the course for R credit can take the course for either 2 or 3 units, depending on the length of the research paper. If you wish to earn 2 units, the research paper shall be at least 18 pages in length (double-spaced, 12-point font size, 1-inch margins). If you wish to earn 3 units, the research paper shall be at least 26 pages in length (double-spaced, 12-point font size, 1-inch margins). Each student can choose one of the above two options, whichever he/she prefers. After the term begins, students electing option 2 can transfer from section (01) into section (02), with consent of the instructor. There are no prerequisites for this class. Elements used in grading: Class Participation, Attendance, Written Assignments, Final Paper. (Cross-listed with Computer Science - CS 204)

Instructors for this course (Past and Present)

Roland Vogl
Michael Genesereth