Leaders of the bar, judges, and the most prestigious public-interest organizations turn to students in the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic for help with pressing challenges.
Columbia Law School has pioneered the study of how technology affects the practice of law. Students in the clinic learn contemporary lawyering through hands-on experience using the digital technologies that are reshaping the profession.
Our clients are public interest legal organizations, prominent jurists and non-profit legal technology initiatives that have a serious interest in integrating technology to improve access to justice. In the classroom and in our work with clients, students learn to gather, manage and present information effectively. Through exercises and client representation, students gain proficiency with both the traditional skills of lawyering that are enhanced by technology, such as interviewing, counseling and drafting, as well as the skills necessary to practice at a high level in the digital age, including online fact-investigation, searching, knowledge management and digital presentation. Throughout, we emphasize how to use technology to help make the very human encounters we have with our clients satisfying and productive.
Clinic students work shoulder-to-shoulder, both in person and in online environments, with lawyers from a wide range of public-interest organizations and members of the judiciary. These projects include:
- Helping civil legal aid and legal services attorneys meet the massive challenges of implementing NYC’s new “right to counsel” initiative for low-income New Yorkers in eviction proceedings
- Creating an online portal to help millions of low and middle-income workers secure billions in Earned Income Tax Credits
- Working with a consortium of public benefits lawyers and paralegals to build online resources that provide a real-time snapshot of systemic problems and access to immediate relief
- In conjunction with New York’s Chief Judge, developing the Collateral Consequences Calculator that shows the collateral consequences of conviction for all sections of NY’s Penal Law
- Using technology to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline in charter schools
- Developing tools for legal services attorneys helping home owners facing foreclose proceedings and communities seeking to stem the blight of “Zombie” housing
- Creating an informative website to provide limited legal assistance to pro se bankruptcy petitioners and streamline the client intake process for the Bankruptcy Clinic of Western New York Law Center
- Analyzing data from a variety of sources to identify clients and populations at risk of homelessness and non-payment eviction due to impacts of COVID-19 and presenting the findings and making policy proposals to the NY State Senate, NY State Assembly, and City Council
- Creating a website to compile housing court decisions and related opinions that allows users to browse by decision date and conduct full-text searches and conducting weekly training sessions with attorneys at the Legal Aid Society
Students emerge from the Clinic with a combination of contemporary legal and technical skills that give them a considerable professional edge as they enter the practice of law.
Visit the Columbia Law School website to learn more about who we are and what we do.