Northeastern University School of Law Launches Innovation Lab
08.15.16 — Northeastern University School of Law announced today the establishment of NuLawLabTM — the first US law school innovation laboratory with full-time staff focused exclusively on cultivating visionary new approaches to transform legal education, the legal profession, and the delivery of legal services.
“To solve the critical challenges facing the legal profession and legal education today, we have to be bold, interdisciplinary, and open to engaging creative thinkers and problem solvers from all sectors,” said Associate Dean for Experiential Education Luke Bierman, who serves as the lab’s faculty director. The lab will apply a variety of structured creative processes, including “design thinking” — a term coined by David Kelley, founder of California-based design firm IDEO and Stanford’s d.school to describe a process that brings together what is desirable with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It allows those who are not trained as designers, such as lawyers and educators, to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.
The NuLawLab has convened an advisory board of 12 cross-disciplinary experts, drawn from the fields of law, technology, social media, public health, data visualization, social practice art, civic media, social science, architecture, and higher education. “I joined the lab’s advisory board because I am acutely aware that the current approach to legal education needs a radical rethinking if it is to serve not only its students but also the needs of society,” said Colin S. Diver, former dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and president of Reed College. For a list of NuLawLab’s advisory board members, visit http://www.nulawlab.org/index.php/advisory-board/
In addition to taking on client-generated projects, NuLawLab is serving as a collaborative hub of discussion, issue identification, idea exchange, strategic planning, development, implementation and assessment. Examples include three inaugural initiatives:
- With the anticipated passage of the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights this fall, NuLawLab and Northeastern law students will join forces with artists and worker-led coalitions to produce “Project NannyVan,” a public art and advocacy initiative featuring a bright orange roving resource center. Spearheaded by REV-, with partners including NuLawLab, the MIT Center for Civic Media, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and other advocates and allies nationwide, Project NannyVan aims to provide workers and parents with tools to support the growing national movement for domestic worker justice.
- The Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law — a group of more than 160 members affiliated with nearly 100 law schools and legal service providers, working together to ensure that law graduates are ready to practice with a full complement of skills and ethical and social values necessary to serve clients and the public interest, now and in the future.
- The Outcomes Assessment Project — a rigorous social science research study that will provide critical insights on how to better integrate experiential education into the law school curriculum. Equally important, it will give the legal academy and profession a more realistic, evidence-based analysis of what is effective in preparing lawyers to quickly mature professionally, resulting in models for how to best allocate resources in the years ahead.
“These pioneering projects lay the foundation for our development of interdisciplinary collaborations generating viable new models for the delivery of legal services to all who need them,” said Dan Jackson, the lab’s first executive director. Jackson is joined in the lab by Jules Rochielle Sievert, its content curator, responsible for researching, developing and managing the lab’s knowledge networks and virtual presence on the web.
To learn more about the NuLawLab, visit www.nulawlab.org.
About Northeastern University School of Law
The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students an unparalleled full year of practical legal work. All students participate in four, full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 900 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education for the past 45 years, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.