Thursday, 19 April 2018

A special pro bono collaboration to help prepare law students for the increasing influence of artificial intelligence in the practice of law – while at the same time benefiting the Australian not-for-profit sector – has been announced by Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and The University of Western Australia.

The new course at UWA Law School, ‘Legal APPtitude’, will involve students teaming up with lawyers from Corrs’ Perth office to develop AI applications to improve efficiencies and save costs for not-for-profits and provide other services for disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

Benefits will accrue directly to the Australian not-for-profit sector. At the same time, the course will provide students with a greater understanding of emerging AI-based technologies and improve the efficient delivery of legal advice.

Corrs’ partners Robert Franklyn and David Yates, with lawyer Michael Kingsbury, are leading the development from a Corrs’ perspective, with Kate Offer and Alex Cook from the UWA Law School co-ordinating efforts at the University.

Mr Franklyn said Corrs lawyers will work with the University to develop the new course curriculum, as well as assist and mentor students throughout the 12-week course as they design, develop and deploy the apps they create. Related work in assisting underprivileged groups and not-for-profits will be done on a pro bono basis by Corrs.

“Corrs already has an extensive pro bono program providing free legal services to many not-for-profits and underprivileged groups across Australia,” Mr Franklyn said.

“Many of these organisations are run by volunteers on a shoestring budget and the course aims, through the use of AI, to make their jobs easier and more efficient while building the technology skills that will be critical to the success of future lawyers.”

Dean and Head of UWA Law School, Associate Professor Natalie Skead said the Law School is thrilled to be working with Corrs on this exciting and important new initiative.

“Not only will our law students have the opportunity to contribute to the not-for-profit sector in a meaningful way, but they will at the same time develop technological skills that will assist them as they transition into legal practice,” Associate Professor Skead said. “We are very grateful to Corrs for their support.”

The new course is open to all students enrolled in a Juris Doctor (JD) and will commence in Semester 2, 2018. Interested students should contact the Arts and Law Student Office on (+61 8) 6488 2091.

Media references

Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Advisor)     (+61 8) 6488 6876


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