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Hofstra's 'Courtroom of the Future'

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 09, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The "Courtroom of the Future" is not a courtroom; it's the future of courtrooms.

But Hofstra University has one -- a working model for law students to learn how to practice in the future. It features trial practice software, digital presentations, video-conferencing for witnesses, and more.

Judge Gail Prudenti, who is dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra, says legal tech is a priority there. That's because lawyers of the future are going to need it.

Changing Everything

It is not news that technology is changing everything about the law. Robots are already taking law jobs, and future lawyers will have to deal with more of the same.

"I have seen, up close and personal, how technology has changed the legal marketplace and the practice of law -- in the private sector, in the public sector, and in the courtroom," Judge Prudenti told David Lat with Above the Law.

Hofstra has foreseen it, too. An early leader in the field, the law school launched its Law, Logic and Technology Lab almost a decade ago. The lab employs state-of-the-art technology to create tools to improve legal decision-making.

The American Bar Association named Hofstra a top 10 law school for teaching technology in practice. It was a major step up for the law school, which is ranked 110th by U.S. News & World Report.

Real-Time Courtroom

Designed to rival the most advanced courtrooms in New York, the "Courtroom of the Future" has also served real judges. Appellate and complex commercial matters have gone through the courtroom.

Judge Prudenti is focused on more legal-tech offerings at the law school. For example, she wants to expand the Legal Tech Boot Camp -- a new program for students to learn from experts about analytics, e-discovery, cognitive computing, blockchain, cybersecurity, and more.

"Lawyers of the future, regardless of practice area, need to be proficient in legal technology," she said.

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