A Vision of the Next Generation JD

For the Hack the JD event this past weekend at Santa Barbara’s College of Law, I was asked to prep a 5 minute elevator pitch of what I saw as the future of law education.

I made this image to sum it up — at least for a certain type of law student, who was aiming to be more entrepreneurial, more resilient and adaptable in the changing market, and more open to hybrid law/non-law careers. I see more and more of these people at law school — and here’s where I think we need to be prepping them for.

These roles and skills above are not exclusive of each other — these are not separate job tracks. It’s a complementary set of things that an adaptable JD should be able to know how to do, and roles they should be able to take on.

Here’s the short list:

  • The Product Developer
  • Scouter of new Business/Value Models
  • Communicator with all the latest tech and with good visuals
  • A Strategist who can understand who their users are and what they need (even more than they do)
  • A Translator of Tech to the Legal System, and an Experimenter with new trends
  • A Collaborator who is integrated into the teams, clients, and other non-lawyer groups around them

I didn’t include a ‘designer’ role specifically here — rather it’s woven throughout all of them. This is a vision of a design-driven lawyer, who is solving problems using design methods and principles. But it’s not announced as a separate design track — it’s present throughout all of these other functions and roles.