Website coders have been hard at the work the last ninety days building a new law school for the e-discovery team, a virtual online school. The administration building and all 62 classes are now located at e-DiscoveryTeamTraining.com. The beta testing is over and the new school is now open. Please check it out and notice the new style, administration buildings, and new ways to enroll. The curriculum is all about electronic discovery, from A to Z, a topic still not present in 95% of the law schools in the country.
This New Curriculum and Teaching Style are Imperative to Meet the Demands of Our Day
“When you haven’t changed your curriculum in 150 years, at some point you look around.”
Elena Kagan (October 31, 2007, then Dean of Harvard Law, now a Justice of the Supreme Court)
Law schools are not changing, but the students are. The profession is. Society is, and its changing fast, very fast. The biggest cultural changes in the last thirty years have been in technology, in information. Yet law school curricula remains essentially the same as they were in 1860. Elena Kagan saw the problem. She even spoke out about the problem when she was the Dean of Harvard Law School. But nothing changed. The problem remains. Harvard and 95% of the rest of the law schools in the country, indeed the world, still do not teach law students and lawyers how to find the evidence. They do not teach e-discovery. They barely even know it is a subject, much less realize that it is a pressing problem for the profession.
It is up to us to act, up to us everyday lawyers, teachers and students. Harvard Deans and Supreme Court Justices may intellectually grasp the problem in an abstract way. But they are too detached from the real world of legal practice. They are lost in abstractions and political games. No. The solution cannot come from the top. It must originate from the grassroots. It has to come from us. We know the soil of the profession’s hard necessities. We know the problem. We slog our way through it every day. We need to act, and we need to act now. As we used to say in the sixties, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
My solution, one which I ask you to join in and support, is to offer online e-discovery law training. To succeed it needs both students and teachers. You could fill one of those roles, or perhaps both? It also needs supporters. No. I’m not asking for money. Just help to get the word out. Tell somebody you know about the new curriculum and new kind of cyber legal education offered at e-DiscoveryTeamTraining.com.
I realize that there is no one answer. In the fullness of time many will self-organize their own negentropic solutions. They will bring order in their own way to the chaos of misunderstanding that is now electronic discovery. I do not claim to have the only solution. But I do know that the profession needs more and better e-discovery training. See Eg. Hamilton, W. The E-Discovery Crisis: An Immediate Challenge to our Nation’s Law Schools, (2008); Kirk & Ali, “Teach Your Children Well” – A Case for Teaching E-Discovery in Law Schools, (2008); Losey, R. Judge Shira Scheindlin and I Speak on e-Discovery and Education (2009); Losey, R. Plato’s Cave: why most lawyers love paper and hate e-discovery and what this means to the future of legal education (2009).
I am also convinced that an online training program — one open to anyone, anywhere, anytime — is the best way to do that. See Eg. Losey R. Why Online Education Will Surpass Traditional Face-to-Face Education in the Next 5-10 Years, (2010).
I am proud of the online program I have created over the last five years. And I now really like the new virtual school and administration that the young coders have dreamed up. I think this program is very effective. But you’d expect me to say that. So, look at what the students have to say about it. There are now over 225 of them. Here are their words.
What the Students are Saying about e-Discovery Team Training
Let me start with a comment from an attorney who is near completion of the program. Unlike most of the other quotes that follow from law students, he is an experienced lawyer who is looking to retool. I am blown away by how fast he has learned and the depth of his understanding. I recognize that I am unworthy of his personal comments, but still, I’m glad to have made a difference. This is what this program is all about. If you are an expert, maybe you should consider joining me as a professor in the Team Training program? You can either teach my 62 classes, or if you have the capacity, you can set up and run your own class as part of the Vendor Education Program.
If you’re very fortunate, somewhere along your path of learning, you’ve had a professor who is as passionate as he is brilliant. The work is challenging – you know you’re being stretched – but the classroom crackles and the time flies. Somehow, Professor Losey brings all of that to the world-wide-web with his E-Discovery Course. Ralph will take you to the cutting edge of law and technology, but take note: this course is decidedly not just for Geeks. To anyone who sees that litigation is part of the plan, I say: Find the time! Make the investment! Go with Professor Losey and his team as they take you deep and train you. It’s a rare opportunity.
There are more student comments, all located in the Reviews part of the school. I invite you to check them all out. But here are a few more that may be of interest. The next is by Tinzing Artmann, a paralegal in Minneapolis who is still in the first quarter of the program:
I think this site is just amazing!!! I learn so much from your blogs and posting. I am a paralegal by profession and, am developing skills to talk ESI in discovery process. … I am planning to take your free course and then, gradually move to the subscription part. Everything you have on this site is mind blowing.
The next is by Gregory P. Netzke, a Litigation Support Specialist in New Jersey:
I just wanted to tell you that I have started the program (I’m up to module C) and I’m really enjoying it. The format of reading and watching videos at my own pace makes learning more enjoyable. However, what I enjoy most about the program is the structure. I always have the intent on learning more but always find myself overwhelmed with what and the amount of material to review. I have a pile of magazines, printed articles, emails, etc. that I never get to read. With your reputation in the ediscovery world, I know you have filtered out and organized the most relevant material. Being handed this material in short modules, makes it easier to stay on track.
A couple more from three U.F. law students in 2010 who completed the course:
I think this course was more effective in teaching its materials to me than other courses because I was able to read and re-listen to all of the lectures. I’m not very good at learning by listening (I’m not an auditory learner). Oftentimes the lectures in my other law courses are not very helpful to me because I cant follow the professors lecture. In this course, to be able to read the lessons or to replay the lectures in order to get down all of my notes was extremely beneficial to me.
I thought this class was great. I really enjoyed the material and the setup. I think there was a lot of information, probably more than in most of my first year courses. … I felt like I had much more communication with Professor Losey than most of my other professors. The phone interview was great and was better than any discussion in class, more akin to office hours. Thanks so much Professor Losey for your hard work putting together and implementing this course. It has been a really great experience. I’ve told so many people (who are probably all tired of hearing about it) how exciting this class has been. It’s neat to feel like you are near the edge of a new and expanding field. This has been an awesome introduction and I only worry that my other classes will seem too boring and old.
To be honest I have never taken an online course, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this class and was able to get my work completed without the usual structure of my other traditional law school classes. After I finish a class and start preparing for the final exam, I am always left with an empowering feeling about just how much I feel I have learned. This class, I think, I have learned a tremendous amount, and the empowering feeling is heightened because it is an area of law where not many have this experience. Honestly, I have not have very much contact with my Professors at all, and I usually keep to myself while in class as well. My interactions with Prof. Losey were more than other Professors at UF so far, ironic for an online class but true.
You get the idea, but, if you want, go here to see all of the student reviews.
This program works for students of all ages and backgrounds. It works for lawyers, paralegals, techs, and students of all kinds. In fact, almost half of the students who have signed up so far are not lawyers. This program was designed for lawyers and non-lawyers, as long as they are interested in e-discovery law and willing to work hard. This requires serious study, from 50 to 150 hours to complete the whole program. If you do the work, real learning can happen. It is up to you, the student.
Embrace this new curriculum and be a part of the solution. You have nothing to lose, as the first five classes are free. If you like it, you can continue on. You can learn real skills to help you and the profession to keep up with technology.
I leave you with a few words from a patent examiner made good, who ended up spending most of his life as a professor:
“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
“Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
“Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing.”
“The aim (of education) must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, can see in the service to the community their highest life achievement.”