Law School

  • Collaborating Across Disciplines and Schools to Bridge the Justice Gap with Legal Technology

    CALICon. June 16, 2022

    Lessons Learned: Developing Protection Order Portals

    Description: This presentation highlights the innovative projects and cross-disciplinary collaboration of the Legal Technology Laboratory (LTL), a Kauffman Foundation-supported initiative. The LTL brings together law school faculty, students, and innovators from diverse fields to develop technology-assisted solutions and data-driven policy for social, civic, and economic development challenges in the legal industry.

    The speaker will update the audience on the progress of LTL's portfolio, which comprises over a dozen projects with project leaders from 11 universities' law schools and participation from 15 additional academic institutions, industry collaborators, and organizations. Attendees will learn how to benefit from LTL's cross-disciplinary and school collaboration and resources, enabling law students and faculty to work with other innovators to bridge the justice gap through legal technology.


    • Barbara Glesner Fines. Dean & Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law

    The information provided in this presentation is for educational purposes only. The opinions expressed in this presentation and on the following slides are solely those of the presenters and not necessarily those of our clients and partners.

  • E-Textbooks for law school

    My e-textbook and note-taking setup
    My e-textbook and note-taking setup

     When it comes to textbooks, law students are in a big disadvantage. Law textbooks are expensive. In one semester, a law student can easily spend well over a thousand Dollars in required textbooks alone. The frustration is even worst, when a book is rarely if ever used in class.

    Some students opt to rent a textbook which is cheaper than buying new or even a used copy. This is a wise choice knowing that after the exam, most textbooks (especially casebooks) are pretty useless. However, for classes that spread over two semesters, renting a book will cost the same as buying a new copy.

    Some books can be purchased used if you are lucky enough to be able to use an older edition for your class. However, it's hard to get a used book without any marking or highlighting.

    Finally, some student organizations also collect donated books and make them available to students for free or at a very low price.

    However, another option that few students are aware of is to buy e-textbooks. A Civil Procedure book, for example, from West Academic Publishing (west) costs $261 and comes with the print book, a lifetime digital access to a downloadable eBook, a 12-month online access to self-assessment quizzes, study aids, Gilbert® Law Dictionary, audio lectures, and an outline starter. For $195.75, you can get the whole package minus the print book. Same book new on Amazon costs $236.99 but it doesn't come with any of the other resources provided by the publisher.

    So, having the eBook format not only will save you money, it also comes with additional resources to supplement the lecture.

    I have been using the e-textbooks from West exclusively for my classes and so far, I like it.

    In general, I prefer to read eBooks rather than paper-based books. It's more efficient. I can take notes, highlight, search, and I can print if I have to. My current setup is to have Microsoft OneNote and my e-textbook side-by-side. I can read and follow the discussion during the class, while reviewing and taking notes. Switching between books is easy as switching between tabs. And my footprint is limited to my computer.

    However, West eBook viewer is based on an outdated open source Flash library from the year 2007 called Yahoo! Astra. It looks and feels like a 2007 website. It's slow, non-responsive, won't load on modern mobile devices, and is missing many of the features you would expect in any modern eBook viewer.

    But this lack of features and flexibility is not limited to West Academic Publishing. Many vendors are developing their own digital rights management (DRM) methods to control access to their resources. This is perhaps the biggest concerns for the eBook industry and the main reason while we still don't have an eBook standard that allows for the interoperability of eBooks independently of software and hardware.

    So sticking to a paper-based textbook is not a bad idea after all. If you can swallow the cost and support the heavy weight of the books, you won't have to deal with DRM and the non-standardization of eBooks.

    Final note: the issue with eBooks is not limited to academic resources. If you are engaged in leisure-reading, you will face the same limitation. If you buy an eBook from Amazon, you are stuck with a MOBI file that only works on an Amazon Kindle device. Same if you buy from other providers. However, the cost for academic books is outrageously expensive. Perhaps it is time to seriously push for Open Educational Resources.

  • My First Week of Law School

    Ayyoub Ajmi and Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal (Matriculation Ceremony 8/13/2018)
    Ayyoub Ajmi and Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal (Matriculation Ceremony 8/13/2018)

    Starting law school was never the plan. But working in a law school, and watching how students "literally" metamorphose into sharp educated adults made me think seriously about it. Additionally, in the last five years, I had the chance to work closely and interact with law professors from all over the world. While my involvement was often under my "librarian" or "tech" umbrella, I got to learn a lot about law and especially the intersection of law and technology. This is a subject that I gradually became aware of, and I strongly believe that I can make a difference in it. Finally, who can pass a 75% tuition assistance?

    My first week was tough. And so were the following ones. I'm still adjusting to the rhythm of law school. The Socratic method of stimulating critical thinking, which most law schools adhere to, is new to me.

    The first-year curriculum of the law school is also not the fun one. I certainly learned new concepts, but the reading can be challenging. I often read a legal case more than once and each time I come up with a different conclusion. My reading pace is slow, and my memory is dispersed. That doesn't help either.

    But, I know that I can do it. And I'm looking forward to an amazing time in law school, meeting new people, and learning a bunch.

  • Open Source Case Management System for Law School Clinics

    Open Source Case Management System for Law School ClinicsThe push for experiential learning among law schools brought a new set of challenges for faculty and administrators. In a family law clinic for example, law students are asked to collect, process, and securely preserve confidential information. Faculty are expected to effectively assign cases, securely communicate with their clients, and have an effective way to measure and assess the overall operation and productivity of their clinics.

    My goal is to build a comprehensive and open source case management system for law school clinics that will increase customer satisfaction, provide students with a complete hands-on-experience, and allow faculty and administrators to make informed decisions.

  • Student's Role in Driving Technology Adoption in Classrooms

    Google Glass


    Part of my job is to investigate new technologies and see how they can be used in an educational environment to improve teaching and learning. While the majority of faculty are averse to change and fear that adding new tech to their class will distract them and their students, others embrace the change and are constantly trying new delivery format and tools that will help their students achieve their learning and intellectual development.

    Over the years, I had the chance to experiment and introduce several new technologies to classrooms such as Google Glass, 360-degree cameras, and more recently drones. While the innovative aspect of technology was enough to drive attention to it, I couldn't make these tools permanent in the classroom. (You can read about the opportunities and challenges I faced with Google Glass and Kodak PixPro).

    However, one major factor that I have neglect was the student role in driving the adoption of these new technologies. I would have never considered this factor until I became a law student myself.

    Law students simply don't have any incentives to test or use any new technology while in school. There is a reason why first year students are not encouraged to work. They simply don't have time to do anything else. They can barely keep up with assignments and readings for their classes. Also, students in general study for the exam. While, my goal might be to find better tools for them to understand a subject. Their goal is to find the shortest route to get an A.

    This is mostly true in the core legal courses that have been taught in the same manners for decades.

    Students have more flexibility and an incentive to use new programs and tools in experiential learning courses. These courses are often not available to first year students, generally not required, and definitely not part of the Bar exam.

    While newly graduated law students will be immediately subject to the ABA Model Rules of Competence and will be required to show some understanding of technologies and be able to maintain that competency, law schools, by being stuck in the same old way of teaching, are missing the opportunity to instill technological curiosity early on their students' career.

  • The Legal Technology Laboratory

    The Legal Technology Laboratory is led by the University of Missouri Kansas City with support from the Ewing Kauffman Foundation. This initiative was established after conferences that brought together experts in law technology, access to justice advocacy, and entrepreneurship education. It aims to encourage collaboration and innovation in the legal and technology fields.

    The LTL began in 2016 with a scoping phase, forming a community and creating a portfolio of prototyping projects. During one of the LTL conferences, an initial portfolio of prototyping projects was developed. These projects ranged from exploring new and existing legal tech to creating tools to support entrepreneurship and access to justice. In total 15 projects involved leaders from 11 law schools as well law students and several collaborators and other organizations. Several projects went beyond the prototyping phase and are now full-blown initiatives.

    Today, the mission of LTL is to promote the education and exploration of legal technology by empowering multidisciplinary teams to address social, civic, and economic development challenges.

    We are creating a community at the convergence of legal technology, law practice, and entrepreneurship. We want to continue connecting individuals to more extensive networks of innovators worldwide.

    We invite all legal technology enthusiasts to join the LTL community. You can join our listserv, share your courses, or be inspired to build your legal tech course or prototype with your students. Please visit:


  • Today Jeopardy, Tomorrow the Law: Exploring Artificial Intelligence and What It Means for Lawyers, Clients and a Changing Profession

    The Missouri Bar Association. September 14, 2017. Kansas City, MO.

    Topics discussed are:

    • General overview of Artificial Intelligence – how it is being used in law.
    • How AI is being used in law.
    • Ethical questions relating to the use of AI in law.
    • How to prepare for the future as a young lawyer.
    • Effect of AI on law practice in the future.


    • Ellen Y. Suni, dean emerita and professor of law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City


    • Ryan McClead, vice-president of client engagement and strategy, Neota Logic, New York, NY
    • Noah K. Wood, founding partner, Wood Law Firm, Kansas City
    • Ayyoub Ajmi, digital communications and learning initiatives librarian, UMKC School of Law, Kansas City
    • Daniel Boatright, managing shareholder, Littler Mendelson P.C., Kansas City
  • Virtual Reality: Opportunities for Teaching and Using it in Law Practice

    ABA TechShow. Thursday, March 8, 2018. Chicago, Illinois.

    From accident reconstruction and crime scene recreation to training, virtual reality (VR) is becoming a viable tool for litigators and even transactional attorneys. This panel will discuss how their firms and law schools are working with VR to improve the practice of law.

    Other panelists:
    Jennifer L. Wondracek - UNT Dallas College of Law
    Kenton Brice - University of Oklahoma College of Law

    More information:

    The ABA Journal
    Canadian Lawyer (Thomson Reuters)