RGU’s Law School working with leading technology companies to develop diploma


Thursday 28 February 2019

The breadth, depth and variety of different forms of technology used in legal practice has radically increased in recent years. There is also increasing awareness of the regulatory framework around information and data security.

All businesses and organisations are susceptible to being at risk from something as simple as records being sent to the wrong recipient by email, to a much more serious ransomware attack, and the need to avoid this is driving change to both the law but also to practice - especially in the legal profession where the security of information held electronically is so vital to businesses.

Technology is changing the way in which law, as a business, is done. To ensure Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) students are able to meet the challenges of these fast-paced changes, The Law School has been working with leading technology companies and law firms to further develop its ground-breaking online legal qualifications.

This semester, RGU has introduced a new module on the technology used in the legal profession into its online Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice – the first Online PG Diploma in Legal Practice in Scotland. The Law School have partnered with a range of companies including Dell Technologies, artificial intelligence company Kira and national law firm Addleshaw Goddard - to create a new legal technology module to extend the reach and relevance of law students opportunities to gain employment and thrive in their professional careers.

David Christie, who helped design and develop the course at RGU, said: “Increasing access to specialist knowledge and techniques that new technology brings to legal practice is necessary to the law students of today. 

“The challenge is working out what law graduates entering the workforce need to know now, and also how they need to think about the changes which will come in the future. Therefore, to take a demand-led approach to address these national skills needs of today, we collaborated with multinational leading technology companies, as well as legal practitioners and multidisciplinary academic support, to develop this new module on our online diploma.

“Since the frontiers of technology are moving so fast, we need our courses to keep up to ensure we are offering our students the best skills and opportunities for development and progression.”

Aberdeen based data protection lawyer, Ross McKenzie, who is a partner at Addleshaw Goddard, will be delivering the data protection and cyber security courses.

He said: “Technology is woven into the fabric of the legal practice and is an essential skillset for all lawyers. Data protection rules around how personal information is handled is as important as the law of contract and property – everything you do in your workplace and home is touched by it and I look forward to equipping students with knowledge in this area." 

Graeme Sutherland, senior presales architect at Dell Technologies, said that technology is reshaping all aspects of society which all industries will need to learn how to navigate.

“Technology is reshaping all aspects of society, from how we communicate to how we do business and beyond,” he said.

“We sit at a pivotal moment where the convergence of the latest emerging technologies promises to create an exciting and challenging new landscape; one through which all industries will need to learn how to navigate.

“I am delighted to play a part in helping guide students on the postgraduate diploma in legal practice towards that landscape.”

Sam Spivack, Practice Consultant EMEA and APAC for Kira Systems, added: “We are always keen to help future generations of lawyers adapt to new and effective methods of working. We are delighted to be joined by a number of wonderful organisations in helping to shape this fantastic new online course devised by RGU.”

The module will open with a pragmatic, operational approach to ensure that the basic tools are in place which will be put in the context of current legal practice, setting out the regulatory framework for data management and techniques around data analysis and how those tools can be used to gain insights into the commercial world.

It will also look at a risk management approach for cybersecurity: something that affects the profession, and clients. Putting all of this in context, there is an examination and demonstration of some of the cutting edge technology which is being used now – and signposting of the way ahead with artificial intelligence in the future.

Val Bremner, lecturer in the law school and the academic responsible for the diploma, concluded: “At a time when technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the way that the legal profession in Scotland operates, we are delighted to be in a position to collaborate closely with experts to help improve access to the profession, while enhancing the skills of our future legal professionals.”

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