New centre to transform legal education and practice

Swansea University has announced the launch of its Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Law (CIEL), which will lead a transformation of legal education, research and practice in Wales.

CIEL will promote the acquisition of high level skills by law students, practitioners, and entrepreneurs. It will also support the development of technologies and processes for the legal profession.

The practice of law is being increasingly disrupted by “Legaltech”, the application of technology in the legal workplace. Digital platforms, artificial intelligence, and distributed ledger technologies such as Blockchain are transforming the delivery of legal services and are improving access to justice, while the Ministry of Justice is exploring the potential for online courts.

Professor Elwen Evans QC, Head of the College of Law and Criminology at Swansea University, said: “There is absolutely no question that legal education and training must take account of these developments. CIEL demonstrates our commitment to enhancing our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to ensure that they provide students with the skills to help them lead the development of technology-driven legal practice.”

“For example, in partnership with the University’s Department of Computer Science, we are now offering a ‘coding for lawyers’ module to help law students develop programming skills, and we plan to organise Legaltech hackathons in due course.”

CIEL will also lead the Legaltech Wales network to create an environment where entrepreneurs are supported to create new products and services for the legal services sector.

The Centre draws on the expertise, advice and support of an Advisory Board comprising major Welsh, UK and international law firms and technology companies, as well as the Law Society Wales and Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Professor Evans said: “Clearly, CIEL must be driven by the needs and expectations of the legal profession, and we are grateful to all those on our Advisory Board who have already contributed to our planning.  We look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

For further information about CIEL, please visit www.swansea.ac.uk/law/ciel

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